By Mark Reynolds
Over the Mother’s Day weekend, a group of Marlborough artists, collectively known as the Marlboro Arts Coalition [MaArCo], opened their studio doors to the public, giving them a glimpse of their working space and creative process.
Joseph Caserto, a graphic artist who works in digital and traditional media, was invited to join the group in January 2023, saying that, “It has been a very positive experience.”
Two years ago Caserto returned to live in Marlborough full time after working in New York City for many years.
“It’s nice to be part of a community of artists,” he said, adding that, “Some of the studios of other artists I visited are gorgeous.”
Caserto has a home office space but, “I’m constructing an artist studio space for messy stuff.” He said quite a number of people visited, saying, “It was a lot of fun, and the weather couldn’t have been better.”
Mary Ellen Sinclair creates ‘illusions with thread’ in her newly built studio overlooking the Hudson River. She has exhibited in New York City but since moving to Marlborough twelve years ago, she has focused her artistic energy in the Hudson Valley. She said that the Open Studio Tour forced her to complete a number of works that were not quite finished and tells people that colors are from the fabric that is already there.
Sydney Cash grew up in the golden age of Detroit, starting in the 1940s, “when it was the epitome of possibility for the worker under capitalism.” He has lived in Marlboro for 40 years and describes himself as an inventor, saying his job is to explore an idea, a dream or a simple notion and to not let it slip away.
“As an inventor I don’t know what is going to be invented. I start out with some kind of idea about a process and then I start experimenting with the process,” he said. “I’m very grateful to still have such a vivid imagination and that ideas pop into mind...I have great dreams where stuff is being made and I say, oh my, look at that and I write it down in the morning and see if I can make it. Anytime there is any kind of art work in a dream, I think that’s important for me and that’s why I have had so many different kinds of bodies of work.”
Laura M. Bianco was an art educator and teacher, “for a lifetime and I always painted on the side.” After retiring five years ago she began traveling around the country to attend festivals and events that usually last a week. She said each artist brings their own supplies, paper and frames and creates new works while at the festival.
Bianco’s artistic focus is on landscapes using pastels and encaustic paints, also known as hot wax painting, which involves a heated wax medium to which colored pigments have been added.
Bianco said last year she and fellow artist Barbara Masterson organized MaArCo. She pointed out that Marlborough is a historic artist community; George Inness painted here and Frederic Goudy was a printer, artist and type designer in town.
“There is history here but sometimes it gets hidden under other layers like an onion,” she said with a slight laugh.
Cori Appler, who specializes in landscape and nature paintings, said she loved the recent artist studio tours.
“I had a wonderful time and I was at Jennie Duke’s studio on Maple Avenue, so I got to display my work with her work,” she said. “It was wonderful to see all these artists come together and it elevated the status of art in Marlborough.”
Landscape and abstract painter Jennie Duke said. “A lot of interesting people and other artists came through and it’s always so nice to get feedback from people and they are always so complimentary. Some of the [visiting] artists really wanted to know about the process of what we do and how we do it, which I think is one of the most interesting things that can happen on studio tours and why people want to see the process of the artist.”
Veronica Evanega describes herself as a ‘Neo-Constructionist Visual Artist.’
“In the last few years I have been combining wood and metal in my sculptures,” she said.
Evanega pointed to a series that she has done called ‘Fallen From Grace.’
“Basically I’m emulating leaves in the fall and I’m working with the wood from the actual type of tree,” she said. “I like to create elements that are realistic to what I’m working with,” she said.
Evanega said although MaArCo is a very small group, “everybody has a huge amount of talent and a lot of energy and we’re trying to do a lot with the town. Even with the opportunities of agri-tourism and the boat-tourism, MaArCo shows people there is more culture in our town.”
Photographer Jerry Wein described MaArCo as a diverse group of artists.
“Everybody’s got their own style and way of doing things and I think it’s a good mix,” he said.
Wein said some of his own work dates back to street scenes in New York City in the 1970s to the Serbian Capital of Belgrade in 2019. Although he made his living in the computer management field, Wein always took time for his photography.
“I love street photography and things having to do with people and I love my industrials,” he said. “I might be the only studio today where you walk in and see pictures of pipes.”
Wein said in his early days he was a ‘film guy’ and also had his own chemical darkroom.
“I developed my own negatives, did my own black and white prints,” he recalled, adding that he was resistant to switching over to digital, “but then I gave up just like about everybody else, though people tell me they want to go back to film now.”
Wein says the MaArCo debates if holding the studio tours on Mother’s Day weekend is a good or bad idea, “and we have pros and cons about it but I wouldn’t be surprised if we pull something together in the fall at the Milton Train Station when the ships dock for a visit.”
Vivian Lanzarone said she was in charge of publicity for the studio tours.
“It’s a really fun group; everybody’s very talented, extremely energetic and all are totally different,” she said. “We have photographers, we have painters, we have sculptors and graphic designers, so it really is a nice variety of different mediums that people use.”
William Noonan is a contemporary realism painter using oils, pastels and watercolors. He said for the tours he sets up his studio to show works in progress, “so people can access that part of the creative process because it’s not all about the finished exhibited piece. To me, a studio tour is about letting people glimpse into the procedure, the process and the thinking.”
Noonan said joining the group has put him in contact with other artists he may never have met.
“I think it’s true throughout the Hudson Valley because it’s a place that attracts artists,” he said. “I think a lot of people have lived in New York City at one point, so it’s a natural progression for them to move up here.”