On Friday, June 7, 2019, during FFAW, NUarts Studios and Gallery presents a retrospective exhibit of Ellen Joffe-Halpern, alongside the open studios of NUarts artists including Peggy Morse, Caroline Kelley, Marney Schorr, Kathy Gideon, Ilene Richard, Sally Tiska Rice, Joan Rooks, Dan Brody and new artist, Carolina Perrone in Studio 19.
The exhibit, “Studio 11-2005-2018” chronicles fourteen years Ellen Joffe-Halpern spent in her studio at 311 North Street and represents a variety of works based on traditional artistic themes.
Ellen’s figurative works are from life drawings reworked into mythic stories;
landscape paintings are created from on site sketches that are places significant to the artist; and still-lifes.
As Ellen writes, “ I don’t know how to slow life down so that it is “still” but I can paint in the moment and hold living objects such as flowers in that way. I am aware that they are impermanent and this is also a piece of the painting.”
Ellen Joffe Halpern’s retrospective exhibit features representative work of four major projects that were completed in Studio 11. Backyard Dreams are 365 completed compositions in a 5×7” format in a variety of media representing the artist’s musings of the creative process.
“9 Views” was an outgrowth of the prior project in which a place, an object, or an idea are conveyed through nine same size panels.
“Overviews”, is from a series of four paintings of the same view reworked.
“Sketch Paintings” are composites of several sketches completed on site and then played with in the studio. The lines of the sketches are interwoven with paint, mass and color.
As Ellen developed as an artist during her years at NUarts, the following artist’s statement written earlier in her career continues to guide her artistic intent: Inspiration for my paintings comes from everything around me and from an on-going search to transcend the limits of time or what I refer to as nostalgia, past, present and future. Wherever I go I carry a sketchbook. My works are completed through the veil of these impressions, and my affection for where I am in these moments. Regardless of my subject matter, I think about the painting I am creating not how to document reality. I transform what I see and experience into color, shape, pattern and line. I want to elicit a reaction to my paintings because they create a mood, bring back a memory, remind one of the joy of color, and/or question what art can convey about the familiar.
This exhibit explores the history of NUarts, after nearly two decades of artists working together in the Greylock building, from its earliest roots in 2002 with the Storefront Artists Project, to ArtonNo, Gallery 25, NUarts and First Fridays Artswalk.
Ellen wishes to express her gratitude to the current artists at NUarts as she wrote: “I am grateful to the artists at NUArts who invited me to have this retrospective exhibit and afford me this opportunity to reflect over the 14 years I spent in my beloved studio and the broad range of creative individuals I have had the pleasure of spending time with: sharing ideas, making friendships, and broadening my artistic horizons. The biggest changes over the years I worked out of my studio, of course, was the coming and going of artists, which over the years included, not only visual artists, but writers, musicians, and the home base of Marney Schorr’s Art Therapy programming including the AIRY program, a state wide recognized program, for suicide prevention. We continually represented a broad range of styles, media, artistic goals, and personalities. For me, this was the most exciting and precious gift I had as a member of this vibrant collective.”
Ellen Joffe-Halpern, painting under the signature of Joffe is an artist, teacher and art therapist living in Williamstown, Massachusetts. She received her BFA from the University of Massachusetts and M.Ed in expressive arts therapy from Lesley University. She studied for many years with Wallace Bassford while managing the North Truro School of Art. Ellen has worked with all ages in a variety of treatment settings as an expressive arts therapist. She has taught studio art and art history at the High School and College level. In addition to being a regular exhibitor in Berkshire County, she has exhibited extensively throughout New England in solo and group exhibitions. Her studio is currently located at the Norad Mill in North Adams, MA.