Friday October 12, 2012

Fiddlehead hosts two Bennington artists

ANDREW ROITER

Arts Editor

BENNINGTON -- Abstract pointillism and realism hang just feet from one another this month in Fiddlehead at Four Corners' galleries. Two Bennington-based artists, Cheryl Conklin and Stella Ehrich, have their work on display now at the Main Street gallery through the holiday season.

"We're honored to have them here," Joel Lentzer, Fiddlehead co-owner, said.

Conklin is an abstract artist, who creates greyscale, shaded objects one dot of ink or graphite at a time. She takes inspiration from everywhere, but is particularly fond of M.C. Escher, whose piece "Ascending and Descending" inspired Conklin to draw "House of Stairs," a mind-bending portrait of stairs and cylinders.

"I just have a lot of imagination, sometimes it becomes overwhelming," she said.

Conklin's love of art began when she was 4 years old. She attempted various art styles and methods, even trying a correspondence course in visual art that she didn't like. In the early ‘90s she tried an ink dot style drawing.

"I just started doodling one day and I said, ‘oooh, I like that,'" Conklin said. From then on her abstract drawings became her preferred style, although she does occasionally enjoy drawing food.

In addition to her Fiddlehead show, Conklin's work is on display at the Southwestern Vermont Medical Center.

Stella Ehrich is a realist painter born and raised in Mississippi with an international education. She began her education in Alberta, Canada, before going to Memphis, Tenn., then Florence, Italy, before getting her MFA at Bennington College.

"I paint from life," she said, "in the good weather I'm outside painting, in the bad weather I'm inside."

The paintings on display at Fiddlehead are a combination of landscapes and portraits.

"I'm always interested in capturing the light or the color of the landscape," Ehrich said, "in the case of people it's the little gestures and idiosyncrasies that make them unique."

Lentzer remarked on the emotional aspects of Ehrich's works.

"There's a sensuousness to them, even the landscapes," he said.

Ehrich's work has been featured in more than 80 galleries across the world and she has taught at seven different establishments including Williams College, Bennington College and the Plein-Air Painting Workshop in Tuscany, Italy.

Last summer she taught a children's art class at Fiddlehead about drawing monsters.

Ehrich also has a second show on display right now at Images Cinema in Williamstown, Mass.

All of the pieces in Ehrich's and Conklin's shows at Fiddlehead are for sale. For information visit www.getartbehappy.com or call 802-447-1000.