While the Berkshires' museums are preparing the summer shows they'll unveil at the beginning of June, now is a great time to check out what's happening in the smaller galleries across the county, several of which have openings or ongoing shows. Here are five shows to check out:
1. "Kibera: Expressions of Life in Contemporary Art of Kenya"
Where: ROAM: A Xtina Parks Gallery, 230 Mass MoCA Way, North Adams
Opening reception: 2 p.m., Saturday, May 28
Gallery hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. Private tours available.
More information: 413-663-8000, roamgallery.photo
"Kibera: Expressions of Life in Contemporary Art of Kenya," a collaboration of ROAM and the the Uweza Foundation, celebrates the work of 11 student artists from the Kibera neighborhood of from Nairobi, Kenya.
The exhibition, which features over 20 works of art, all of which are for sale, opens 2 p.m., May 28, in the third-floor gallery with a reception that includes programming and community engagement activities with ROAM curator Aria Corrine Gannon and Uweza Country Director Japheth Okoth.
The Uweza Foundation works with youth and their families from the Kibera neighborhood, the largest informal settlement, or slum, in Nairobi. The Foundation provides space, instruction, and time for students who get little if any educational resources or opportunities to teach them the tenets of painting and art creation.
ROAM founder Xtina Parks, an African wildlife photographer, filmmaker, and conservationist who lives in the U.S. and Botswana first learned of the Uweza Foundation during a 2019 research trip to Nairobi. After meeting Jennifer Sapitro, the Foundation’s founder and executive director, the two began collaborating on putting together a show highlighting the motifs and topics that are familiar to the students such as family, African animals, cities, landscapes, and some of the Kibera community itself.
“I spend a lot of time in Africa from Botswana to Kenya, and have been exposed to artists and artisans of all different types and levels. When I first visited Kibera and the Uweza Foundation, my heart stopped. The students have a way with color and form that is very powerful,” Parks said in a release. “You will, of course, see nuances from the newness of their craft, but I saw an incredible opportunity to collaborate with Uweza and bring these new students’ works of art to the United States, to North Adams, and to my Gallery. An opportunity that neither the Gallery nor the students could ever have. For them to have their artwork on display engaging new audiences across the world, and for us to be able to show this beautiful insight into their community and perspective, that is part of the fabric of Africa, is unparalleled.”
The exhibit is on view through June 30.
2. "A Family Affair": Hado-Mark Gallery Artists Reception
Where: Hado-Mark Gallery, 62 Church St., Lenox
When: 2 to 5 p.m., Saturday, May 28
More information: 413-225-1115, hadomarkgallery.com
The Hado-Mark Gallery, under the direction of gallerist Lisa Hado-Mark, is hosting its season opening Artists Reception 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., May 28. The show offers a variety of figurative and abstract paintings, prints and sculpture of artists from across the country. Artists in the show include Lisa Gold, an abstract painter from New York City; Nishiki Sugawara-Beda, a Japanese-American who specializes in Sumi painting from Dallas; Arlene Baker, a Rochester, N.Y,.-based artist whose works are known as "Silk Spaces;" painter Jane Craker from the Berkshires; Julia Eisen-Lester, who specializes in stylized figurative paintings from Yonkers, N.Y.; conceptual painter Mildred Hado of Lenox," Hado-Mark, of New Jersey, who works with linoleum prints, mosaic and wood tables and wall sculpture, and nature photographer Dawn Klein of Cummington.
The exhibiting artists will be present to meet visitors and to answer questions about their work. The show will be on view for two months.
3. "FORM, LIGHT, COLOR: Dai Ban, Liane Nouri and Susan Lisbin"
Where: Carrie Chen Gallery, 16 Railroad St., Great Barrington
On view: Through June 26
Gallery Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday through Sunday.
More information: 413-645-3006, carriechengallery.com
This three-person exhibition of recent works by artists Dai Ban, Liane Nouri, and Susan Lisbin explores the intimacy and connection created and expressed through the abstract and minimal paintings and sculpture on view.
Each artist in the show uses abstraction and the formal elements of their work to create and express internal relationships, interpersonal connection, and connections between people and nature.
“While the three artists in this show are from very different backgrounds, they each evoke a deep sense of connection, connection within oneself, and with others," Carrie Chen, chief curator and gallery owner, said in a news release. "Dai Ban’s strong form is balanced and elegant, powerful, yet not intimidating. Liane’s foundational use of serial cubes is elevated to a meditative line, reflecting the colors of the landscape, natural light, moody clouds, or internal emotions. Susan's paintings and ceramics are decisive, playful, and full of confidence.”
The show is on view through June 26.
4. "Two To Tango"
Where: Bernay Fine Art, 296 Main St., Great Barrington
On view: Through June 12
Gallery Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday through Saturday; noon to 4 p.m., Sunday. Closed Monday through Wednesday.
More information: 413-645-3421, bernayfineart.com
This unique group showing features the work of 12 artists — six couples: Connie Hanson and Russell Peacock (known as Guzman), Jenny Holzer and Mike Glier, Sue Muskat and Phil Knoll, Sara Farrell Okamura and Hideyo Okamura, Janet Rickus and Warner Friedman, and Katia Santibanez and James Siena.
According to Bernay Fine Art, "These six couples have been together for a total of 186 years, give or take a few. Though there’s no way to generalize about duration in marriage, one through-line for these couples is their like-minded drive to make art.
"If artworks provide answers to the questions artists ask, couples function as first responders. Privy to incidental talk, they’re never far from declarations of intent. For couples, “solutions” to artistic problems are part of an untrackable mix of aesthetic decisions otherwise known as risk and reward."
5. "Still Freely Envisioning An Ideal Future"
Where: Real Eyes Gallery, 71 Park St., Adams
Closing reception and reading: 4 p.m., Saturday, May 28
On View: Through May 30
Gallery Hours: Noon to 7 p.m., Friday through Sunday and by appointment.
More information: 917-440-2400, realeyesgallery.com
A show of prints, flags, books and sculptural offerings to the idea that our world could be a better place.
Gil Riley’s imagery is based on a "psychomagically" constructed myth: Liontamer’s Paradise. Her book of the same name was published in 2016 by American Typewriter Press. Riley will read from this narrative tale during a closing reception, 4 p.m., May 28.