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Kent Barns presents Gallery Walk as part of Second Saturday series

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KENT—Summers are always special in Kent, with a social calendar crammed with things such as Second Saturdays at Kent Barns designed to engage residents and visitors alike. The events vary, but this month the focus is on the town’s long and worthy association with the art world.

“Women in Blue” is among the Robert Bars works in a new exhibition at the Good Gallery. Photo contributed

Ever since artists discovered the verdant hills and natural beauty of the town in the late 19th century Kent has been known as a haven for artists and galleries have flourished along its streets. This Saturday, June 8, Kent Barns will highlight those galleries with a gallery walk from 2 to 7 p.m.

Four galleries and five artists will offer talks and events. At the same time, the venerable Kent Art Association, founded by nine of those early artist émigrés, will open its annual President’s Show.

The President’s Show opens Friday, June 7, and features the works of invited artists Linda Filley, Barbara Graham, Paul Neuman, James Woodruff and Moira Kelly. The President’s Summer Invitational Show runs through Saturday, June 29, with an artists’ reception Friday, June 14, 6 to 8 p.m. 

Right next door, at 23 S Main St., is the Good Gallery, which is opening “The Expressive Fragment,” a retrospective of art by modernist Robert Baras. There will be a reception from 3 to 7 p.m., with an artist’s talk at 5 p.m.

Baras’ work, made over a span of 30 years between 1980 and 2010, hovers between abstraction and figuration, with compositions that are straightforward presentations of cryptic symbols. 

Gallery Owner Tim Good said, “The challenge was to narrow such a fine collection to define his legacy with such a breadth of work. We are thrilled to be working on this project with the family and are excited that Robert’s wife, Francine, will share aspects of this artist’s life at 5 p.m.”

Three galleries in Kent Barns will also hold artist talks and events. At 2 p.m., Jackie Battenfield and Margot Glass will address visitors at Kenise Barnes Fine Art, 5-7 Fulling Lane. 

Magnolia Ensemble by Jackie Battenfield.

Glass draws with 14-karat gold, graphite and gold acrylic paint not only for the delicacy of line, but also for the allure of using semiprecious and precious metals as a drawing material. She is interested in the tradition of using nature as an idealized ornament while seeking to represent these plants as accurately as possible.

Battenfield’s work pays close attention to the graceful forms of unfolding leaves and blossoms, and to the twisted boughs and branches of trees. The artist translates her photographic studies into drawings on large sheets of translucent Mylar and makes hundreds of color studies before arriving at the palette for each painting. When applied to the Mylar, Battenfield’s ink-like pigments separate and form distinctive abstract, transparent and opaque patterns. 

Carol Corey Fine Arts, 6 North Main St., will host its artist’s talk at 3 p.m. with Nathaniel Aric Galka. Galka’s paintings depict fantastical worlds filled with stylized flora and fauna. “My paintings imply that the human hand is creating a false ecosystem and destroying our planet, starting in our own backyards,” states the artist. “We are taking away what is indigenous and replacing it with ‘ornamental’ plantings. We are destroying the natural order of our own landscape. I am creating ‘post-human gardens,’ works about how nature will reclaim its balance once we are no longer here manipulating our planet.” 

Galka’s works are constructed using Old Masters techniques and the paintings are filled with historical art and cultural references—Asian influences as well as allusions to western European art, including the still life paintings of the Netherlands and 19th century Romanticism.

Craven Contemporary, 4 Fulling Lane, which focuses on cutting-edge photography, painting and sculpture by contemporary artists, will round out the afternoon at 4 p.m. with a presentation by Michael de Feo.

De Feo, based in New York City, is best known for floral paintings and street art, which deals with the themes of growth, the cycle of life and the coupling of beauty with the universality of death. De Feo’s penchant for flowers have earned him the nickname, “The Flower Guy.”

His work shows a wide range of influences, including Dutch 17th century still life painting, fashion magazines and fashion advertising campaigns.

Craven Contemporary is opening its latest show, New Flora, which includes works by de Feo, Saturday with a reception from 3:30 to 6 p.m.

The Gallery Walk theme will be enriched by other activities throughout Kent Barns. From 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.; a flower market will be held at RT Facts, 8 Old Barn Road; a Community Farmers Market & Swyft Shop will be open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; live music will be offered under the big maple tree from 11 a.m. to noon, and from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. there will be a vintage pop-up at Peggy Mercury, a multi-category boutique and gallery located at 9 Maple St.

Kathryn Boughton
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