Opening of the 4forART gallery in Chesterwood
The 4forART Gallery on Williamsville Road in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
STOCK BRIDGE – Which of the most distinguished art galleries in the Berkshires must have moved three times in the past four years? And who among their artists is represented at the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Museum of American Art in Washington DC, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Louvre in Paris (to name but a few – uns), and was born, raised and still lives in Pittsfield?
The gallery in question is 4forART, which ultimately found a very happy home on the Chesterwood campus, located at 4 Williamsville Road in Stockbridge. As a reminder, the gallery is open from Thursday to Monday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Discover some of the works currently on display.
You can now understand why the gallery’s mantra is ‘museum quality’, which means that its artists have participated in exhibitions or museum collections. According to one of the three owners, Ute Stebich, “there is no doubt that we wanted to have beautiful fine art but for the home rather than selling to businesses or museum collections”.
Stebich studied art history at the Institute of Fine Art NYU and worked as a freelance curator for museums such as the Brooklyn Museum, the Milwaukee Art Museum, and others. When she and her husband moved to the Berkshires, she wanted to have her own museum, but financial considerations made this problematic, so opening a gallery was the best part of the value. She closed the gallery 16 years later, after the death of her husband.
“We don’t focus on just one medium. It’s really very eclectic, ”according to Akkie Martens, another gallery director. The gallery presents an international selection of paintings, large-scale installations, sculptures, ceramics, textile art, basketry and brut art.
“When I walk into the gallery, I could live with everything they have. They have such a sophisticated eye when selecting art, ”is the opinion of Cindy Levin, one of 4forART’s longtime collectors.
Jane Kasten is also a partner. “Being in nature is wonderful. People who visit the gallery want to either experience nature or art. We don’t have the foot traffic that we had in downtown Lenox, but the people entering the gallery are really interested in art, sculpture, history and all that.
Jane’s previous gallery, Kasten Fine Art, will be remembered by many who visited her at the old Great Barrington Station, especially on Saturdays when the Farmers’ Market was there. His interest in art developed through his work with Bunny Mellon, renowned art collector and developer of the White House Rose Garden with Jackie Kennedy. Jane organized Mellon’s extensive herbal apothecary and they had many discussions about the art.
Jane’s daughter, Ani Kasten, is one of 4forART’s prominent ceramicists. After fine arts school, Ani apprenticed with British artist Rupert Spira and then moved for four years to Nepal, where she ran a local potters’ workshop in the village of Thimi. The combination of minimalist British studio ceramics and rough-hewn Asian pottery is part of his artistic style. “I create turned and hand-built forms in families, and these sculptural groupings explore the meeting point between the natural and the artificial worlds,” she explains – a very modernist concept. She was recently named Distinguished Artist by Renwick, the Smithsonian Gallery which features only American art.
As for the aforementioned Tom Patti (see first paragraph), there is a wonderful short video about his work with glass. On the Internet, go to Vimeo and type “Tom Patti on Vimeo”. 4forART exhibits its beautiful tables. “My paintings offer a visual dialogue that combines and distinguishes the disciplines of art, design and architecture. For me, tables are a method that is free from an architectural program – a way to explore the horizontal and plane axis of glass in an open-frame structure, but symbolically constructed from the dominant contemporary building materials – l ‘steel and glass.
Some of the most charming works of 4forART are the imaginary birds by Charles Schweigert. They are made with fabrics sewn onto a polystyrene core. The feet are soldered copper wire finished with a black patina. If you were to put one of these creatures on your windowsill, you might be visited by a curious wild bird.
Ann Parker is one of 4forART’s most technically experimental artists. The photogram, a photograph taken without a camera, is his medium. Fruits, vegetables, flowers or other objects found in nature are his subject. The object is placed on a sheet of glass. Underneath is a magnifying glass and a sheet of color-sensitive photographic paper. Strong light passes through these layers and, as if by magic, a photogram is produced. According to Ute, Parker wants to show “the transparency, the delicacy and the brilliance of the color of the plant that you cannot see if you photograph it. She wants the viewer to watch and marvel at the beauty of nature. She continues: “It’s an artichoke. It really is like a cathedral. Look at the onion. Did you know that an onion could be like this? There is really something spiritual in his photograms.
Jane Kasden, Ute Stebich and Akkie Martens, friends for over 50 years, have overcome the loss of their husbands, financial crises and COVID-19 to create new life for themselves through their gallery. They look to the future and are always on the lookout for new artists.
A good time to visit 4forART would be Thursday, August 12, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. This will be the gallery’s inaugural exhibition in Chesterwood and showcase the work of glass artist Tom Patti, about whom you now know a thing or two.
PS Wondering who is the fourth member of 4forART? Well, it was Liz Thompson, former director of Jacob’s Pillow, head of the dance department at the National Endowment for the Arts, and head of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, who helped revive the arts scene in New York City after 9/11. She is now retired and lives in California. Don’t worry, she still spends her summers in the Berkshires.