Come in from the cold and see some new art at the Gleason Library 

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“Windjamming” by Maris Platais. An acrylic painting of the Maine coast “when fishing fleets and schooners dominated the waters.


New England scenes and colorful ceramics are next up for viewing pleasure as well as purchasing pleasure at the library.  Maris Platais and Amy Fennick are collaborating on the next show. As friends and neighbors, they both bring a dynamic angle to their craft.

Platais has lived in Carlisle for quite some time. Many who know him may be interested to learn how his fascination with art began. In his youth, his interest and natural curiosity for simply observing life and everyday events was commonplace. He and his brother often built makeshift toy boats and raced them down a nearby river. At an early age, Platais’ dream job was not to become an artist but to become a river boat skipper. Living near a river he would see boats travel by and would watch them day in and day out, gaining perspective on the action he saw. Translating these observations into art, he would often use his feet to draw in the sand or take pencils and draw on paper he had available. 

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Artist Maris Platais enjoys en plein air.

Recently Platais shared with a smile in his voice, “As a young student, to pull up my English grades, I would often add sketches/embellishments to the top of my essays.” This became a successful tactic, professors noted his talent and his focus on art broadened. 

Fast forwarding to today, Platais has had his art shown at many locations including on Newbury street, Marblehead, Weston and Concord galleries. This award-winning artist is clearly talented in “engaging the viewer in what he wants them to see, not simply the obvious focus of his pieces.”

As a ceramic artist Fennick’s use of bold colors and textures are a natural draw to many.  Her love for the “solid” art  form began at an early age, “I tested all forms of art, media, photography, graphic design and drawing. I was interested in art as a whole but I was most keen on ceramic art. It has limitless doors to open.” This intriguing angle of limitless doors consists of the clay base variations; white or brown, a rainbow of glaze choices, firing techniques and wheel or hand built products. The end result is not always apparent until the final stage on the drying rack. In addition to the various ways of manipulating the medium, the outcomes vary widely. The piece can be functional, a bowl or mug, or a decorative piece for home décor. 

Fennick continued to share that the tactile part of the art form interested her the most. She prefers the technique of hand building vs. wheel molding. Rolling out the clay on a flat surface and then building up from there is the initial step.  Perhaps her early career of occupational therapy and then making prosthetics for amputees was a natural entree into the world of ceramics--working with your hands transforming something from a malleable object into a useful item. 

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“House with Domed Orange Roof” - ceramic piece by Amy Fennick.

Art at the Gleason happens due to a five-member curator group, which holds five shows every year, including the middle school art show. Their planning process for these events happens a year in advance. Clearly, with the caliber of artists showing their work right now, this group is absolutely fantastic at securing talent for all to enjoy… while checking out the latest New York Times Best Seller non-fiction novels to read by the fire. 

This Art at the Gleason show opens January 13 thru March 24. An opening reception will take place January 20th from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. with a snow date of January 27. 

In addition, Platais will hold a painting demonstration for all interested on February 1 from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. in the Hollis Room on the third floor of the library. All of the art displayed is for sale. Twenty percent of the proceeds go to the library.     ∆