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Barbara Norfleet, Judy Howells

Bios Kentron

August 5 – August 17, 2018

Opening Reception: Sunday, August 5, 2018, 6:00-8:00pm Sargent Gallery, 832 State Road, Aquinnah, MA, 02535

Summer hours: Thursday-Sunday 11-6pm & we welcome appointments 508-645-2776

Barbara Norfleet,  Dark Eden no. 11,  Cibachrome, photograph 14 x 38 inches

Barbara Norfleet, Dark Eden no. 11, Cibachrome, photograph 14 x 38 inches

Sargent Gallery is pleased to announce Bios Kentron, a show that celebrates the abundance of life that inhabits both the conspicuous and the hidden places of our local environment. The selected work of two artists, renowned photographer Barbara Norfleet, and award winning plein air painter Judy Howells, relates to this theme through different perspectives and mediums. The show will benefit and encourage engagement with our Summer 2018 featured non-profit, BiodiversityWorks, a local non-profit that promotes conservation of biodiversity through wildlife research and monitoring, while providing opportunities for people to engage in hands- on nature study.

The show will open on August 5th, at 832 State Road, Aquinnah, and will remain on view through August 17, 2018.  An opening reception will be held Sunday, August 5th, from 6:00pm until 8:00pm;
Please Join Us!

Bios Kentron, features Barbara Norfleet’s cibachrome (silver-dye bleach print) photographs from her Manscape with Beasts series, in which native wildlife inhabits and invades the anthropocentric human environment. Norfleet’s large format cibachromes from her Dark Eden photography series of swamps and wetlands, each a portrait of a secret place teeming with detail and mood, will also be on view. Painter Judy Howells will show her new Martha’s Vineyard landscape and water lily paintings. Howells captures the light of a lingering sunset over tidal marshes, and the splendor of water lilies blooming on Duarte’s Pond.

“Bios Kentron” refers to the etymology of the word Biocentrism, comprised of the Greek words bios; life, and kentron; center. Biocentrism is defined as “an ethical point of view that extends inherent value to all living things. It is an understanding of how the earth works, particularly as it relates to biodiversity. It stands in contrast to anthropocentrism, which centers on the value of humans. The related ecocentrism extends inherent value to the whole of nature.”

Bios Kentron brings together two artists, BiodiversityWorks, and Sargent Gallery, all bonded by a shared dedication to protecting and celebrating the natural world

Barbara (Bobbie) Norfleet is a seasonal Martha’s Vineyard resident with a home in Chilmark, and a camp on Tisbury Great pond that has been in the family since the 50’s. When she is not on the island, she lives in the Cambridge area. Bobbie received her Ph.D. in social relations and psychology from Harvard in 1951; she was one of only three women to earn a Ph.D. that year in any of the university’s departments. After teaching for 10 years, she took an Intro to Photography course at age 45, which changed the direction of her life. Eventually, Bobbie became a photographer and curator at Harvard’s Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts. She can be credited with designing and teaching the first studio course mixing sociology, anthropology, and photography, which was a surprise hit after the politically turbulent late ’60s.

Bobbie has published six books of her own work, including “All the Right People,” “The Illusion of Orderly Progress,” “Landscape of the Cold War,” and “Manscape with Beasts.” Her 13 other books utilize images from her curated collection, now housed at Harvard’s Fogg Museum. Bobbie's photos were first exhibited in 1979, but they have proved timeless. She is represented in the collections of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and is the recipient of numerous awards, including grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation.

Excerpt from the Press Release for the 1987 exhibition “New Photography 3” at MoMA – “In 1984 she [Norfleet] began taking pictures of wild and domestic animals, which she had lured with food to unnatural settings. Selecting various rural and suburban locales, Norfleet arranged a variety of objects—such as strips of film, a paperback novel, or her parked car—and startled the animals at night with the camera's flash. In one work, a raccoon is caught among vials of prescription drugs and seems to look at the camera with violent resentment. The vivid color of the prints heightens the drama of Norfleet's tableaux, where nature meets civilization in bizarre confrontations.”

Oil painter Judy Howells grew up in eastern Pennsylvania surrounded by beautiful, yet rapidly disappearing open land. Her landscape paintings depict places close to her homes in Pacific Palisades, CA, and on Martha's Vineyard, MA, where she has spent part of every year since 1979. Her landscapes are plein air works completed on site, as rapidly changing light dictates working quickly and directly.

"I am plein air painter who lives and paints on Martha's Vineyard in the summer, and Los Angeles, California the remainder of the year. I have always had a deep love of nature and am passionate and supportive of environmental and wildlife issues. Painting en plein air is my way of honoring the land expressing a reverence for nature.

In my approach to the landscape, I work to sort out the chaos of a scene and create an order of patterns, shapes, rhythms and color harmonies. I love to discover overlooked places rather than the usual postcard scenes.

I use small canvas panels and usually paint alla prima (all at one go), starting with thin, transparent darks and working toward translucent mid tones and opaque lights. For me, it’s all about the light and how it works it’s magic and gives a scene life. I rarely take photos because they fail to recreate the beauty and the experiences of being out of doors. I will bring home a painting and retain the memory of the place years later. I will sort through sketches done years ago, select one and say “Oh yes, a deer walked up behind me that day.”

This Spring, I began a studio series based on my plein air paintings, selecting a work and painting a studio piece double or triple the size of the original. Although this gives time for reflection and a more thoughtful approach, it has the added benefit of no wind, no bugs, no dirt and sand. But to be truthful, my paintings only succeed when magic of “outside” remains clear.

I have an AB in Fine Arts from Wilson College and a M.A. in Fine Arts ( Printmaking) from Montclair University. I was first drawn to painting en plein air in a college painting

class. We built large canvases and then went outside to paint, resting them for support against a tree. Life was good.... Years later, and after moving to California, I discovered the work of the Early California Impressionists and I have been painting ever since.”

BiodiversityWorks is a local Martha’s Vineyard action-oriented organization lead by a diverse set of people, bound together by a shared passion for wildlife and the beauty of the island. BiodiversityWorks’ community outreach efforts empower anyone to help protect and conserve wildlife and their habitats on Martha’s Vineyard. Director Luanne Johnson explains, “I founded BiodiversityWorks in 2011 because I saw a need for a conservation organization focused specifically on wildlife monitoring and research across the entire island of Martha’s Vineyard. I also saw a need for mentoring opportunities for young adults.

I envisioned a collaborative organization that promoted biodiversity conservation through participation. An organization that works with conservation groups, private landowners, federal and state agencies, citizens, students and scientists to ask questions and find answers together.”

Liz Baldwin, Co-Director of BDW, will give a short talk with a Q&A, and opportunities to engage will be available, ranging from making donations, becoming a member, or volunteering.

Sargent Gallery works with local and national nonprofits to build their networks, and educate people about science, environmental policy, and how to take action.

Sargent Gallery is open 11-6 Thursday – Sunday, & we welcome appointments 508-645-2776


Sargent Gallery
832 State Road, Aquinnah, MA 02535
Martha's Vineyard
Judy Howells, Duarte's Pond

Judy Howells, Duarte's Pond

Judy Howells, Tisbury Waterworks

Judy Howells, Tisbury Waterworks

Barbara Norfleet, Eastern Gray Squirrel on Windshield

Barbara Norfleet, Eastern Gray Squirrel on Windshield

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