Experiments in Tradition

“Experiments in Tradition”


On View June 6-29, 2008

Opening Friday, June 6, 5 to 8 pm

Through the month of June, the Kennebec Valley Art Association presents its latest art exhibition, “Experiments in Tradition” featuring ceramics fired in a traditional groundhog kiln by Martha Briana, John Morrill Read and Tim Cichocki, and oil paintings by contemporary Russian Impressionist Stas Borodin.

Experiments in Tradition is a two-fold exhibit showcasing four artists in a display of oil paintings and stoneware. The methods these artists take in creating their art is based in old traditions. Using the old as a starting point, they have adapted and developed a process that is unusual from modern day methods. Martha Briana, Tim Cichocki and John Read have collaborated together to fire their ceramic works in a groundhog kiln. Stas Borodin, a modern day impressionist, paints oils which shimmer with light. In the case of all four artists, their creative process has led them to their current works: new outcomes derived from old methods.

e-tim-cichockisgroundhogkiln e-opening-the-kiln

A groundhog kiln is a traditional, homemade firing kiln from the South.Unlike electrical kilns, these burn wood as their source of heat. Traditionally people built these kilns in a hillside utilizing the earth as an insulator to aid in bringing it to a stable temperature. Tim Cichocki’s version is built on the ground. Through chambers at both ends to fire wood, he attempts to stabilize a uniform heat throughout the kiln in a very laborious process. He has experimented with placement of the green ware (preferring to tumble stack), temperature and duration of firing time. Falling ash, which gathers on the ceramics, creates unique markings during firing. The results are a wonderful element of surprise, even for the artist. Loading the kiln, firing, cooling and unloading takes a week to complete.



Tim Cichocki enjoys working with large pieces. He creates large bowls; some of which have been purchased by Thos Moser to use in their showrooms. Cichocki will be giving an Art Talk on the groundhog kiln on Tuesday, June 10 at 7 pm at Harlow Gallery.



Martha Briana prefers creating new versions of traditional jugs and churns. Her ties with tradition go back to her childhood.



John Morrill Read shapes the clay into sculpture art including such forms as females, turtles and fish. All having exhibited in Portland, Cichocki and Read are also members of the East End Artist of Munjoy Hill.


Stas Borodin, a Russian painter with international status, travels to different countries to paint in his outdoor studio. He has studied impressionist traditions in France where he learned to capture the fleeting moment through light. His images are timeless. A daily painter, he trudges gleefully outdoors, no matter the time of year or weather. Borodin has experimented with layers of paint and color, blocking in similar tonal areas, working mostly in mid-tones, and finishing with bold intense strokes of color and high contrast lights and darks. He carefully plays warm tones with cool tones to capture a shimmering light that resembles the pearlized inner surface of a shell. The created light plays on his canvasses organically changing in appearance depending on the lighting and angle from which it is viewed.

Stas Borodin visits Maine several times a year to paint. Though he travels many countries, he returns here for the beauty and variety of subject. Glimpsing a version of our State as seen through the eyes of a foreigner can be inspiring. Though Maine attracts many artists, much can be learned by viewing and studying the works of this master.

Moving forward in a changing world is essential. Remembering our past, our traditions and our history is also important. This exhibit highlights four artists that help connect us to our past, keeping alive and passing down traditions of our forefathers. Come and experience their creative interpretations in an inspiring exhibit of Experiments in Tradition.