Visual and Performing Arts on Display at Downtown Pittsfield Arts Center

The Letter by Michael Rousseau

The Letter by Michael Rousseau

(PITTSFIELD, Mass.)  – Out of the Studio, an exhibition featuring works by eight local painters, sculptors, and burlesque dancers, opens at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts on Friday, January 8, with a reception at 4pm. The reception, hosted by the artists themselves featuring live music and an appearance by Gypsy Layne Cabaret & Company, will run through Saturday, January 30.

Eight local artists have worked diligently to craft artwork reflective of themselves and their environment in studio spaces within the City of Pittsfield’s Lichtenstein Center for the Arts. In a new exhibit, the Lichtenstein gallery will be transformed to present the work of these painters, sculptors and dancers in an exhibit entitled

The exhibition features works by visual and performing artists Mario Calouri, Peg Dotchin, Julio Granda, Jim Horsford, Sean McCusker, Nicole Rizzo, Michael Rousseau, and Stefanie Weber, each of whom “worked diligently to craft artwork reflective of themselves and their environment in studio spaces within the City of Pittsfield’s Lichtenstein Center for the Arts,” according to a press release about the event.

“Each contribute original artwork spanning multiple genres-from oil and water color paintings to burlesque dancing, in a show that is certain to exemplify the vibrant arts community characteristic of Pittsfield, Mass.”

A former professor at Berkshire Community College, Mario Calouri retired more than a decade ago from teaching, including writing, literature, various humanities courses and painting. Calouri is primarily an abstract artist, practiced in painting, drawing, two-dimensional design and printmaking. He has always been concerned with patterns of forms that are alike, yet different, suggesting something of the mysterious and perhaps primeval forces in nature and ourselves. Some of his most recent works, tree forms and tree stumps, represent his attempt to celebrate and even idealize aspects of nature that might be considered dead or insignificant.

For Peg Dotchin, the changing of seasons, contrasts, light, color and atmosphere presents an endless challenge, particularly in the paths and roads of the Berkshires. Even a familiar place can offer her a visual experience that is perpetually fresh, as she works to capture the emotion of a scene not the image. The luscious colors afforded to her in the pastel medium help to bring life to her landscapes, though a challenge always lies in the exploration of patterns and colors in a given scene. Peg earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Massachusetts.

Painting by Julio Granda

Painting by Julio Granda

New York, N.Y., native Julio Granda received his art training there at the School of Visual Arts and Cooper Union, but not before serving two tours of duty in Korea with the U.S. Navy in the 1950s. Later, Granda earned his Masters in Fine Arts in painting at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. His broadsides, drawings and paintings are in libraries and museums, as well as in private collections, throughout the United States.

Jim Horsford ventured into pottery on the wheel beginning at University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1972, where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art Education. His next 30 years were spent as an art teacher at Herberg Middle School in Pittsfield, working mainly with clay and slab work.  During that time, he also began teaching classes in wheel throwing at Miss Hall’s School from 1978-1984. Horsford earned a master’s degree in Creative Arts and Learning at Lesley College in 1993, furthering his love of teaching the technique of throwing to beginners. Currently, he offers wheel-throwing classes here at the ceramic studio in the basement of the Lichtenstein to people with ability levels ranging from beginner to advanced.

Living in the quiet town of Middlefield, Mass., Sean McCusker grew an affinity for his quaint surroundings in its quiet, hilly landscape, channeling his focuses on developing striking surreal landscapes full of color and mystery. The complexity of his work is what makes McCusker’s paintings so desirable, adding contrast and drama through the 30-or-so thin layers of painting that go in to each piece. His work mirrors the themes of a traditional Greek drama, representing characters and objects as emotional archetypes while evoking an allegorical protagonist as the focal point of his pieces.

Gypsy Layne Cabaret (photo Bill Wright)

Gypsy Layne Cabaret (photo Bill Wright)

A lifelong performing artist, Nicole Rizzo studied dance and theatre in her formative years, earning a Bachelors Degree in Theatre Arts at the prestigious Circle in the Square Theatre Conservatory in New York City. Rizzo is the artistic director for the Berkshires’ first homegrown cabaret and burlesque troupe, Gypsy Layne Cabaret & Company. The troupe’s goal is to educate audiences about the history of burlesque, from its origins in the London music halls of the late 19th century to its American Golden-Age peak in the early and mid 20th century and beyond. Gypsy Layne’s productions incorporate various theatrical components into an eclectic repertoire that attracts a wide demographic of audience members, ranging from ages 20 to 70.

Michael Rousseau is a Pittsfield native. His attention to detail is evident in all of his paintings, from his figures to his landscapes and still life compositions. His explorations into the history of oil painting materials and techniques have led him to adopt methods from the High Renaissance to modern masters. His major influences range from Michelangelo, Leonardo and Caravaggio to Rembrandt, Sargent and Odd Nerdrum. A double graduate of Rhode Island School of Design (BFA, MAT), his work is collected internationally.

Stefanie Weber is an artist, educator, performer and choreographer. Presently she is on the faculty at Community Access to the Arts and Kinesphere Movement Arts Studio. She is working with collaborating artist Monika Pizzichemi on They Dance for Rain, an on-going dance making and photography project in Nairobi, Kenya. Stefanie is also the founder and artistic director of the Creatures of Habitat Physical Poetry Public Performance Project.

Out of the Studio can be viewed at the city-owned Lichtenstein Center for the Arts Wednesdays through Saturdays, 11am-4pm. Located at 28 Renne Avenue in Pittsfield’s “Upstreet Cultural District,” the gallery is free and open to the public. For more information, visit Lichtenstein Center for the Arts or call 413-499-9348.


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