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MCC and Simmons Present Award-Winning Massachusetts Artists

BOSTON (April 12, 2007) — Simmons College and the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) present "Uncommon Denominator" Drawing/Printmaking/Artist Books by MCC Fellows and Finalists from April 26-June 1st at the Trustman Art Gallery at Simmons College, fourth floor, Main College Building, 300 The Fenway. The exhibition offers a range of styles and perspectives from some of the Commonwealth's most talented artists.

There will be an opening reception Thursday, April 26, from 5-7 p.m. The gallery is free and open to the public.

"Uncommon Denominator" features nine artists recognized by MCC's Artist Grant Program: Chuck Holtzman, Eric Lewandowski, Phyllis McGibbon, Mary O'Malley, Jill Slosburg-Ackerman, Elaine Spatz-Rabinowitz, Naoe Suzuki, Marguerite White, and Nina Wishnok. The artists were selected from a pool of more than 230 applicants in drawing, and recognized for their technical skill as well as their individual artistry. Barbara O'Brien, director of the Trustman Art Gallery, was among the panel of experts assembled by MCC to choose the awards. O'Brien curated the exhibition with the help of Marcia Lomedico.

"Having served on the panel that selected the work on view, I can speak with complete enthusiasm about not only the superior quality but also the exciting range of ideas and styles that will be on exhibit," said O'Brien. " Works on paper, like the Massachusetts artist, is a form both historical and innovative; one that offers the feel of the hand on paper, but also the synergy of opportunity and place. To have a studio practice in Massachusetts, one must be an educator, community activist, real estate developer, and impresario. What I see as well is that these artists are part of the Massachusetts landscape of the familial, the collegial, and the spiritual. I am very proud to offer the Boston community the opportunity to see these artists from across the state who embody in this capsule of time and place, some of the best that our state has to offer."

"We're pleased to partner with Simmons College in promoting the work of these outstanding artists," says MCC Exhibitions Curator and Visual Arts Coordinator, Kelly Bennett. "What, makes this show so engaging is that each artist has a unique voice. From intaglio to shadow pictographs, and modified medical images, the work is really at the cutting edge."

The artists featured in "Uncommon Denominator" recently exhibited together at the ArtSpace Maynard Gallery. Samples of their work can be found at the gallery on MCC's online showcase of Artist Grant fellows and finalists, available at

Exhibit hours are from 10 a.m.- 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The gallery is wheelchair accessible. For more information about the exhibit, contact Marcia Lomedico at 617-521-2268 or visit the Trustman Art Gallery website.

Due to construction, parking is currently unavailable on the Simmons College campus. Please visit the campus parking website for parking alternatives.

About the Trustman Art Gallery

Given in honor of Julia Myerson Trustman (Simmons '24), by her husband, Benjamin, the gallery exhibits the work of professional artists and has yearly exhibitions of student work. More than 150 exhibits of paintings, drawings, installations, prints, photography, sculpture, collage, and fiber art have been represented in the gallery. In April of each year, the students enrolled in Arts in the Community organize an exhibition as part of the departments' arts administration major. Exhibitions are scheduled monthly from September through May.

About the Massachusetts Cultural Council

The Massachusetts Cultural Council promotes excellence, access, education and diversity in the arts, humanities and interpretive sciences, in order to improve the quality of life for all Massachusetts residents and contribute to the economic vitality of our communities.

MCC is a state agency committed to building a central place for arts and culture in the everyday lives of communities across the Commonwealth. It pursues this mission through a combination of grants, services, and advocacy for cultural organizations, schools, communities, and artists. MCC receives an annual appropriation from the state Legislature and funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and other sources.

About the Artists

Chuck Holtzman, Boston
Chuck Holtzman's works in charcoal, graphite, ink, and mixed media are uniquely composed studies of geometric and sculptural forms, often suggestive of architectural drafting. Holtzman, who worked primarily in sculpture earlier in his career, has turned to works on paper in the last decade. He is represented by the Victoria Munroe Gallery in Boston.

Eric Lewandowski, Boston
Eric Lewandowski is best known for his black and white photographs of the urban landscape and its ancillary infrastructure. He has been particularly drawn to the interface between cities and their waterfront, boundaries that often contain aspects of a brute aesthetic yet moody silence reflective of an era whose time has come and gone. Lewandowski has spent time photographing abroad in a number of European cities within Poland, Ireland, Italy, Germany and Portugal. His expanding collection of New England photographs often examines the regions industrial history through the panoramic format. Lewandowski is a 2006 Massachusetts Cultural Council finalist for Artist Books. His work is included in the collections of the Boston Athenaeum, Boston Public Library, Danforth Museum of Art, Massachusetts College of Art, and the Polaroid Foundation, as well as Fidelity Investments, Hale & Dorr and numerous corporate collections.

Phyllis McGibbon, Wellesley
Phyllis McGibbon works in a range of media and formats including handmade books and large site-based installations. Her prints, drawings, and artist books are included in over 30 public collections. She has built installations on site at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center; the Davis Museum and Cultural Center at Wellesley; Sushi, Inc. in San Diego; the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art; Clarke College in Dubuque, IA; and the Davison Art Center at Wesleyan University. McGibbon has received awards from the Mellon Foundation, Western States Artist Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Mary O'Malley, Somerville
Mary O'Malley creates highly detailed ink on paper drawings that call to mind micro/macro studies of flora, cellular diagrams, Dutch lace and other elaborate patterns in nature and the decorative. These landscapes hold a tension between the seen and unseen, fantasy and reality, creating a topography that is otherworldly, vast, ephemeral and ever growing.

"I am most interested in them [forms] when they go too far, become a bit ostentatious, spiral out of control—I want them to have the spirit of a gaudy chandelier dripping with crystals and lights, a blinding, ridiculous beauty that attracts and repels."

Elaine Spatz-Rabinowitz, Cambridge
Elaine Spatz-Rabinowitz holds a Masters of Fine Arts degree in painting from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Tufts University, and is a Professor of Art at Wellesley College. She shows regularly at the Howard Yezerski Gallery in Boston and at the O.K. Harris Gallery in New York, where her last show (2006) was reviewed in the October issue of Art in America. Her signature work—oil paintings on cast, pigmented Hydrocal—is held in many collections, among them the Addison Gallery of American Art, the DeCordova Museum in Lincoln and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

During the summer of 2005, Rabinowitz completed fifty drawings as a cumulative response to daily news reports of events around the world. "What I was really drawing was my own response to a sense of rampant, ubiquitous violence in the world. Through the language of drawing--by nature abstract--I wanted to lift my subjects from the realm of literal, daily fact and to honor them empathetically in a mode of more lasting importance and beauty."

Jill Slosburg-Ackerman, Cambridge
Jill Slosburg-Ackerman's works on paper are a playful collision of biomorphic abstract ink drawings with meticulously carved wood relief elements. She received her MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Her work has been exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide, including the Rose Art Museum, Massachusetts; The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Nancy Margolis Gallery, New York; the Bellevue Art Museum, Washington; The National Art Museum of China; and the Museum of Decorative Arts, Prague. She has received numerous honors that include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College, and the Artists Foundation; as well as awards from the Artist's Resource Trust and the New England Art Critics Association. She is represented by the Judy Goldman Gallery and is a professor at the Massachusetts College of Art.

Naoe Suzuki, Newtonville
Naoe Suzuki combines source material from the history of art, medical catalogues, and plant life in her drawings. Her work has been exhibited at the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Studio Soto, Boston, Mobius, Boston, and Boston Drawing Project at the Bernard Toale Gallery, Boston. Suzuki studied at Mass College of Art, and has received awards from the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, Blanche E. Coleman Foundation, and Massachusetts Cultural Council (sculpture).

"By modifying scientific and medical images, I intensify the duality of their specificity and vagueness. To this I add humor and quirkiness. These images morph and reveal my fascination, belief, and skepticism toward our relationships with our bodies in terms of medicine/science, disease, technology, and consumerism. My new series incorporate images from Renaissance paintings, fashion, plant life and animals."

Marguerite White, Newton
Marguerite White was born in Boston and raised in Newton. She spent the earlier part of her career living and painting commercial waterfronts in the US and Europe. In 2002, White earned an MFA in Painting from the University of Texas in Austin, where she had, under the tutelage of a Dominican Shamanista, stopped painting altogether and started drawing on the walls. She currently lives in Newton where she maintains a studio in an abandoned fur vault and continues to draw on the walls.

"I am, at heart, a storyteller. Working with chalk and shadow pictographs, an ephemeral form of graffiti, I create a layered narrative within a public space. I am compelled to tell stories that multiple people can relate to, hinging the story on their environment. For me, allowing the viewers to create their own paths through a story is of the utmost importance."

Nina Wishnok, Natick
Nina Wishnok works mainly in printmaking, mixing techniques such as woodcutting, paper lithographing, intaglio, and encaustic. "I'm interested in how we navigate the relationship between inner and outer life; how we reconcile dichotomies such as emotion and intellect, chaos and control; how we find balance within these seeming extremes. I often explore this by placing recognizable images within ambiguous visual environments or by introducing visual combinations such as regular and irregular, organic and mechanical, representation and abstraction."