JASON HORWITZ American b.1971
From kindergarten to high school, Horwitz pursued art in spite of scholastic art programs and majors constantly being defunded or canceled outright. Through crayons, markers, and watercolors he developed nascent artistic talents, drawing inspiration from a pet boa constrictor, dinosaurs, dragons, and outer space, all themes that would continue to weave a thread consistent through his work to this day.
As a young adult, Horwitz found himself unable to remain at the same college long enough to study art formally (attending Antioch University, and the college founded by Manley P. Hall, among others). Although his life had become a series of pilgrimages, his practice of art would cease entirely in the midst of these journeys. Traveling from West to East, he lived in India, spending time in ashrams, and making connections with Hare Krishnas, Yogis, and others who would become life-long influences and mentors. For Horwitz, however, East to West, his love of Jesus was always primary, and he continued to look into Him and His word.
The importance of these journeys became apparent in the way that as an adventure ended, art would invariably return. Indeed, his art is a re-telling of these very pilgrimages. He creates concrete images of an ephemeral world. Quantum vibrations of these foundational life experiences reverberate through the serpents, astral beings, and everyday figures depicted in the otherworldly radiance of his paintings. Tea bags filled with watercolor and bleeding ink give rise to the surreal motions of exploding psychedelic color to be found in his work. More obvious figures and piercing eyes take shape through the stark pointillism that is a hallmark of his paintings. The doom of Armageddon is ever present in Horwitz’s mind, and so too, is there something darker being communicated. Subtle warnings of disaster are at times juxtaposed with painted expressions of bliss, while all while the grandeur of Vermont’s natural world permeates his art.
Jason Horwitz currently resides at the Quarry Hill Community, in Rochester, Vermont, a place with which he has had a life-long connection. With a direct spiritual knowledge of Jesus, Horwitz continues to make art and contemplate such varied topics as QAnon, a Flat Earth, the Mandela effect, Adrenochrome, and the approaching Rapture.
BigTown Gallery – Pilgrimage May 8 – June 23. 2019
Outside Art Fair Paris 2019
HELEN MATTESON American 1925-2011
Helen Dwyer Matteson was born May 25th, 1925 in Chicago. She received her undergraduate degree in History from the University of Rochester in 1946, where she studied music and piano. In 1947 she moved to New York City and took classes at the National Academy of Design and at the Art Student League. It was at the Greenwich House in 1950 that she met Ira. They married in 1952 and in 1958 had their only child, Abby.
Helen spent her time painting and drawing, reading, and listening to music. She frequented museums and galleries wherever they lived, exposing herself to the contemporary artists of her time. Ira said that he and Helen spoke only occasionally about their art, but often discussed the work of others. Helen’s artwork was made privately and rarely shared, except on a few occasions between 1976 – 1982 while she and Ira lived in Ohio, and where Ira taught at Kent State. In 1982, Helen had a solo exhibition at the Akron Art Museum, Akron, Ohio.
Helen continued to paint and draw when they moved to Thetford, Vermont rarely missing a day from 1994 until her death in 2011. She produced over 400 complete sketchbooks, and nearly 8,000 small format paintings and drawings on paper; 36 individual series, one series with 2,400 variations, all of which are undated, untitled and unsigned by the artist. Helen’s geometric and minimalist forms are imbued with a deep appreciation of the abstract themes of her time. Within the simple setting of her one story home where she lived with Ira, in an alcove with a restive, east-facing view of her lawn sloping towards a thick pine forest, Helen worked with great dedication and created the majority of what remains of her work today. It is in this rural town removed from all distractions that she painted ritualistically, undisturbed, and without regard for audience or outcome.
Directors Choice February 24 – July 9, 2016
The Geometric Exercises of Helen Matteson June 26 – August 11, 2019
Outsider Art Fair Paris October 2019
RICK SKOGSBERG American b.1948
Rick Skogsberg is a Vermont artist with no formal art training, an MFA in poetry, and a history
of patchwork jobs from dishwasher to software developer, project manager to deep woods
logger. Living on a commune in the Vermont woods for nearly 30 years, Rick journeyed deep
into the psyche and returned with a collection of thematic mementos--namely his thousands
of poems and paintings, his incessant drawing on nearly every surface and object his life has
With an unstoppable drive to make art, Rick found inspiration in underground comix, rock
posters, album covers, and the lives of the counter-culture people that surrounded him,
seeing there unlimited potential for his layered abstract work. His painting, drawing and
assemblage found a particularly suitable home when he began in 2015 to paint shoes, a
collection of which is featured in The American Visionary Art Museum’s year-long (October
2019-September 2020) exhibit “The Secret Life of the Earth.” In 2017, he began, as well,
collecting and painting on both sides of platters, plates, and trays, finding there reiterations of
generational family gatherings and resonant commemorations of his half century of making
and living with art.
Rick's work is a fantastic elaboration on word play, mark making, and cultural critique that
taps into the contemporary zeitgeist. His shoes make wearable pastiche of the contemporary
culture, emerging with boldness, defiance, and a dark humor that’s a defiant rebuke to any
forces that would dare try to hold us down.