Colony Artists 2002


The Netherlands

United States
of America

Reiner Davies
Michel Raby
Vincenzo Fiorito
Sergej Andreevski
Nikola Ivanov-Balton
Luc Marelli
Christine Sefolosha
Jessica Muller

Don Baker
Jane Baldridge
Shannon Brodeur
Nathan Dolde
Mimi Carter Haley
Mitzy Jonkheer
Wayne McDowell
Donna Moore
Dick Roberts*
Carol Seitz
Sandra Siemering
Chris Simmons
Pamela Toll*
Gayle Tustin*
Dina Wilde-Ramsing

*NBI Co-founder/Co-Director
by Paula Kamenish

For the third time, artists of different countries, languages, and backgrounds, of varied ages, styles, and stages in their careers have come together at Bald Head Island for a rare opportunity to learn from each other. From countries emerging from years of war, from large European metropolises, from a countryside of beehives or vineyards, both students and masters of their crafts, the artists gathered from November 2 through 16, 2002 to create under the influence of the island.

Friendships and fellowship are born of working and living together. On the Island, there is no competition and there are no barriers. At most, the artists sense a friendly rivalry, igniting a contagious energy. The painters remark that they leave their egos on the mainland when they come to Bald Head. Australian painter Reiner Davies, his first time in the Colony, points out that less experienced artists are not made to feel less important. There is no clique. Instead, one finds an open community that is not just visiting the island, but visibly part of it. There, they revel in the company of those who understand and appreciate what they do, what they love, and what they sacrifice in order to be artists.

Even at breakfast on a Sunday morning, there is collaborative game of art in constructing tabletop images from an assortment of bananas, oyster shells, and a jam pot lid. “On s’amuse de rien,” comments Michel Raby of Paris. He’s right, one does tend to amuse oneself with practically nothing. Or, are we simply being made aware of the new uses of everyday objects? Notice for example the number of artists who incorporate found objects of the seashore into their work — shells, sand, salt, and driftwood. Rien, nothing, becomes indeed something. Objects, worn into their accepted use, suddenly take on new meaning in a different setting.

Thus, it is with the Colony. At home, artists must work out their ideas alone, but set up in makeshift studios on a porch side by side with other painters, artists become new, different, challenged, inspired, encouraged, and viewed by themselves and others in a new light.

Over coffee and healthy breakfast breads, the artists disclose the impor­tance of the location — the point on the island where the river meets the ocean — a true meeting place on the side of the continent. “The point at Captain Charlie’s is magical,” exclaims co-founder of No Boundaries, Gayle Tustin, and all agree — citing examples of migrating birds and butterflies, of sporting dolphins, of startled deer. Once the site of a Civil War fortress, the point now houses for two weeks an encampment of artists, who, through their work, promote interna­tional peace.

Combining the natural with a bit of the supernatural, Australian painter Reiner Davies has lured a deer crossing the dunes onto his canvas. The moment becomes captured in the painting. During his time on the island he has also produced two bold masterworks: large, slightly Cubist portraits.

Swiss artist Christine Sefolosha, who feels the different energies merging from the synthesis of nature and people, remarks that the environment is always present, the amazing experience of nature in sand, sea, and wildlife. It surrounds and pervades the artist in such a way that she can only understand it through looking at the art she produces. On the floor of the room where she sleeps, Christine works on “houses in floods.” She begins with rice paper secured to canvas with Gum Arabic and then applies Quink Parker ink that separates a gold, orange, blue, or ochre halo from the black lines she draws. “All my work is about ghosts,” she claims, and indeed, from the glowing deserted houses to the morphing animals, cranes, or boats — all emit a haunting aura. Christine is a self-taught artist from Montreux, Switzerland who says, “Either you’re an artist, or you’re not.” Her beach houses in ink on paper relay her sensitivity to the island and her obvious drawing talent.

During his third Colony at Bald Head, French painter Michel Raby has produced a series of oil canvases from sketches that he explains are the imagined but historically possible meeting between the impressionist Vincent Van Gogh and the French symbolist poet Arthur Rimbaud. Instead of painting traditional portraits, he has
captured the essence of each — Van Gogh’s straw hat lit by Mediterranean colors and Rimbaud’s necktie, brown stray bang, and sorrowful mouth. Michel lunges into his canvas like a championship fencer, drawing down his brush while exhaling an emphatic grunt that echoes in the dockside studio like a moan.

This is the second time that the multi-talented Swiss artist Luc Marelli has participated in the No Boundaries Colony. He resides and paints in France where he keeps bees for wax (used in his paintings) and honey (shared with fellow artists). For the exposition he has produced mature and penetrating oil portraits in deep, somber tones and large abstract works of layered strings of pure color. Luc insists that he doesn’t paint a canvas, he discovers it.

Macedonian painter Nikola Ivanov-Balton’s brushwork explodes up and out across his canvas in a silent fireworks display that favors muted greens or golds. His lyric-expressive oils do not record what is readily seen of our world, but makes visible his own inner reality as it is provoked from the experience of an outside reality.

Known for applying oils directly from the tube, Sergei Andreevski of Skopje is participating in No Boundaries for the third time. He finds a wealth of material for his work in the memories of his childhood village of Sloestica in central Macedonia. In this verdant countryside he lived with his grandfather, surrounded by mountains, springs, streams, and lakes. With fellow painter Dick Roberts, Sergei recently wandered the streets of Paris, where he encountered a New Orleans-style jazz band. The musicians who appear in his paintings from Bald Head Island are only partially inspired by these jazz players. He maintains that he has painted “musicians from the ocean,” inspired by the blue, the water, and the music of the sea.

Vincenzo Fiorito, from Torino, Italy, reminds us that the work of art can approach us from different directions — direct and frontal as in his MERZ-like sculptural icon in which contrasting color and materials — paper, string, wood — encounter each other on the canvas, or narrative, in which an external reality suggests an internal story of the incommunicability between beings. His five paintings follow a progression, he explains, from the conceptional and iconographic, to a canvas-mounted-on-canvas introduction of color, to the movement of violet and yellow wind inspired by a island storm, to the dark tales of the narrative pieces.

A most surprising painter, and one of the few who works in acrylics, is Jessica Muller from Holland. Young, quiet, and contemplative, she employs one of the boldest palettes at the Colony. She finds that her fellowship with other artists is important and inspiring, but she remains careful, observing and keeping a slight distance so that they do not exert too much influence on her work. She describes how in her career as a painter, her style has changed from abstract to symbolic to cerebral to now being less pre­occupied with meaning. Her work at the Colony, she says, is influenced by the total freedom, the natural surroundings, the joy, the calm, the silence, and the relaxation. Sitting before her work in progress, she considers in perfect silence the many layers of vivid color that her canvas is asking from her.

On Bald Head Island — away from the distractions of jobs, bills, traffic, family obligations, and politics — these international artists can focus on art, on the life of the artist, and on what it means to create art. Every bit as important as the historian, the artist is a recorder of our lives and our culture. The painting will outlive the usefulness of the textbook, and through its power it will evoke an emotional, not just a cerebral, response. It will communicate a depth about us to succeeding generations.

Thanks to many supporters from Southeastern North Carolina, especially Bald Head Island Limited, the No Boundaries International Art Colony permits artists to participate in an important experiment in world culture — given the time and space, what will be created? The exposition of these paintings on November 16, 2002 at Acme Art Studios in Wilmington, North Carolina revealed the stunning results.

2002 Catalog US $15. Postage will be added by Paypal