Friday, September 13, 2013

Our Glass Obsession: New Works by Isabel Mathieson and Fred Reinhardt. October 5th through December 5th 2013


“Our Glass Obsession” :
New Works by Isabel Mathieson and Fred Reinhardt.

Jerome Artists Cooperative Gallery

PO Box 233/ 503 Main St

Jerome AZ 86331


Publicity Chairperson: Ellen Jo Roberts



For Immediate Release:

“Our Glass Obsession” : New Works by Isabel Mathieson and Fred Reinhardt. Opens at the Jerome Artists Cooperative Gallery on October 5th

“Glass has always intrigued me. I have always loved glass and collected glass,” said Isabel “Chacha” Mathieson, in trying to explain her obsession with this amazing material. Even when cooled to a solid form it manages to retain its liquid appearance, a swirl of colors and clarity. Chacha and fellow glass artist Fred Reinhardt will share their mutual fascination by showcasing new works in “Our Glass Obsession”, a featured show at the Jerome Artists Cooperative Gallery opening Saturday, October 5th.
Both long-time members of the co-op, Mathieson and Reinhardt have very different styles when it comes to glass, yet both share a brilliant color sense and passion for pattern and texture.

Isabel Mathieson, known by many as Chacha, is a third generation Arizonan, born in Jerome’s United Verde Hospital, now known as the Jerome Grand Hotel. Jerome plays an important part in Chacha’s family history. Her grandparents were both originally from Jalisco, Mexico, and met and married in El Paso, Texas. They moved to Jerome when Arizona was only a territory, settling on Main Street in 1910 where they lived with their children, one of which was Chacha’s mother. Chacha’s parents met in Jerome, married in 1940 and their family grew there for a time, prior to moving to San Manuel in Pinal County northeast of Tucson. After World War II, plexi-glass became plentiful and Chacha’s father, Frank Gallego began experimenting with it. He started out making lamps with shades and matching picture frames, carving roses and cactus into the plexi-glass. When orders were plentiful he created his art studio, Gallego Carvings, specializing in jewelry. “I remember watching him as he carved roses and cactus for pendants and earrings,” Chacha recalls, inspired by his talents, “As we were able to handle it, my dad taught us to use the grinder, buffer, and drills, and attach findings on the earrings and pendants. My dad and mother were always teaching and encouraging us to develop our own artistic talents.”
By the time Chacha was in high school, she acquired her father’s skill for plexi-glass carving. She continued to live in the surrounding area of San Manuel, carving out a career in city and county government while also managing to raise a family. During her 41-year career, Chacha took evening classes, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Office Management. Three years prior to retiring, she decided to learn about stained glass, “a lifelong desire.” One instructor introduced her to fused glass, also referred to as kiln-formed glass, and she fell in love with it.
Her fused glass is an assemblage based on a design or pattern,“ I draw out my patterns and select glass colors. Either way, I hand cut each piece of glass and sometimes I use machinery for curves and intricate cuts.  Then I grind, clean the pieces and assemble them like a puzzle.” The assembled piece is put in the kiln to fuse, a process which takes 15 to 18 hours to complete, depending on the size and thickness of the piece..  A second process called the slump phase shapes the piece, “After the full fuse, in order to shape the glass into a pre-selected plate or bowl I use a mold for the slumping phase. ”
 Upon retirement, with her children grown, Chacha returned to her roots in the Verde Valley, and furthered her education in the art via additional glass classes.
Chacha states, “I love Jerome and the Verde Valley— it brings back so many happy memories of my family and childhood days. With the love of glass art, my wish is that my creations will bring as much joy to all those who use them as they do for me in creating them.”  

Nebraska-native Fred Reinhardt has been involved with photography, printing and graphic arts since he was honorably discharged from the US Navy in 1969. He completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Omaha’s Creighton University in 1972. The Reinhardts moved to Cottonwood, Arizona in 1981 and soon after purchased a small print shop and started the local ads and TV-listings publication, The Ad King. Fred retired from his newspaper business in 2007, allowing him more time to devote to his glass art.

“My glass obsession started in the late fall of 1996 when the owner of the local stained glass shops persuaded me to take a stained glass class, explained Mr. Reinhardt.The six week course covered the basics: glass selection, grinding, foiling, soldering and finishing. Fred enjoyed the results of those early lessons and continued to develop his skills with more complex designs. “The more complicated the piece the more imagination, and the more imagination the more time you take to select your glass. At a certain time you realize that the local stained glass shops have a limited supply, so you venture out to the big city to see a larger selection of glass colors and textures. That is the time you develop an obsession with glass…You can never have enough glass.”

Though he has no formal training in fine art, his innate knack for graphics, color and composition are evident in the bold style of his stained glass. His glasswork often depicts sunny desert landscapes, starry nights and other easily recognizable nature scenes, though Reinhardt also showcases fine mastery of abstract designs as well. He exhibits a keen sense of whimsy with many of his pieces, including his popular snowflake and star pieces. A fan favorite? His small terra-cotta pot-bound cactus plants.
“Glass isn’t just for windows!” he exclaims cheerfully. Using traditional stained-glass methods, Fred’s work is a blend of both classic and modern. “The stained glass medium not only deals in colors but also in texture, both of which can lend a dimensional effect to a piece, as well as one that will change with the intensity of the light throughout the day.”
“Our Glass Obsession” opens Saturday, October 5th, 2013, 5:30pm-8:30pm in conjunction with Jerome’s popular first Saturday ARTwalk event. The Jerome Artists Cooperative Gallery is located at 502 Main, in the former Hotel Jerome. Gallery hours are 10am-6pm daily. The show runs through December 5th.
For more information visit or call 928-639-4276

Monday, July 15, 2013

"On Being Present..."

“On Being Present...”

All new work by watercolor artist Judy Jaaskelainen
at Jerome Artists Cooperative Gallery. 
Opening celebration: Saturday Aug. 3rd, 5-8 P.M.

“My best artwork is not usually inspired by going off and seeking ‘something to paint’”, explains watercolorist Judy Jaaskelainen, “They are images that I happen upon and have the urge to stop time or somehow cause those moments to pass more slowly so that I can fully appreciate the experience.”

This is what happened to Ms. Jaaskelainen several Octobers ago while exploring the ruins at Canyon de Chelly in far Northeastern Arizona, “ I was walking up to get a closer look at the base of the magnificent Spider Woman Rock.  As I approached it a small whirlwind traveled across my path toward the stately pinnacle and it lifted and swirled the autumn yellow cottonwood leaves in a spiral that danced around the base of the rock. I stood mesmerized. I have not yet painted that picture but it is high on my list.”


Canyon de Chelly has provided  inspiration for the artist before. “In February in 1995, I was in the canyon with a group of photographers.  It was snowing softly and everyone had their light meters out searching for an image to photograph in the low-light conditions.  I did that too, for a few minutes but then with my camera to my eye I happened to focus on all of the other photographers in their bright colored parkas, standing in various poses hovered over their equipment to keep the snow from landing on it.  It was unexpected and was great fun to use that composition in one of my watercolor paintings later that I titled, ‘The Eye of the Beholder’.”

Ms. Jaaskelainen’s open-hearted way of seeing is the key to her art.
“At one of our local Farmer’s Markets one evening a young woman passed by dancing to the music of Dave Rentz and John Ziegler,” recalls Jaaskelainen, “She had on a colorful cap and bell-bottom jeans.  As usual, I had my camera with me and took a photo of her.  Years later I was attending one of Patty Mikles’ Advanced Watercolor classes at Yavapai College and we were toying with ‘distorting the perspective of common subjects’.  Looking through my resource photos I came upon that image and another of a clarinet player from Flagstaff who had performed at one of the Opening Receptions at our gallery.  He was hunkered down near the stairwell with his clarinet in his hand. My paintings ‘Old Town Dancer’, and ‘Sox to Match’, both, were so much fun to create and actually won awards in juried shows later that year.”

The artist finds inspiration in the day-to-day scenery of her historic Clarkdale, Arizona neighborhood. “My neighbor, Kahlil has a collection of the retro-metal lawn chairs.  One day while walking my dog, Gus, I glanced over at Kahlil’s backyard and saw he had all of his old chairs lined up along one wall of his house.  It was winter but the sun was bright and it created fascinating tangled shadows on the ground and wall from the tubular frames of the chairs. Of course I had my camera with me, took a few photos. My watercolor, ‘Warm Winter Sun’, another award winner, was the result.”


The new paintings Ms. Jaaskelainen is presenting as the featured artist at Jerome Artists Cooperative Gallery Saturday August 3 thru October 3, 2013, are more examples of her experience of life happening on a daily basis. The artist enjoys scenes that cause her to want to stop,“ take a deep breath,  and savor a moment here and there.” She extends her thanks  to Cornville wood artist Phil Wright  for creating some of the beautiful frames used in the exhibit .

   A new painting, “Moon-gazer”, is from photos taken of a young woman who was wearing a lovely beaded head cover, bent over looking at some piece of jewelry that caught her eye at the Jerome Artists Cooperative Gallery. “I asked if I could photograph her and she said, ‘Sure!’  Sorting through my resources over the past few months I knew when I looked at that photograph again that I would have fun composing a painting using that image. It was! Painting each bead was like a meditation… very calming…. And the moon…..well, I love the moon.”

    In addition to her new work at the Cooperative Gallery, Judy Jaaskelainen is also an participating member of the Verde Artist Challenge.  “I was invited to join 24 other artists in April, to do a three day kayak trip down the Verde River, arranged by the Verde Valley Land Preservation and funded by a grant.  One of the goals was for the artists to develop an emotional connection to our beautiful river and be inspired to create art that exemplifies our experience. The hope is that the persons who will see the exhibit of the “river art” will also develop a connection and sensitivity to the beauty and importance of all rivers, the Verde River in particular.”  “A River Runs Through Us”, a traveling exhibit featuring the art inspired by the river and the kayak trip, will be seen throughout Arizona.  The art will be available for purchase through an online auction with the proceeds going toward further river preservation efforts.  The paintings, sculptures, and photographs are scheduled to be presented to the public at the group’s opening reception Saturday, July 27 from 6:00 to 8:00pm at the Manheim Gallery in Old Town Cottonwood. The show will be on display there through the end of August.

“On Being Present…” is dedicated to Ms. Jaaskelainen’s mother.
“She not only taught me to walk and talk, but also to ‘see’,” explains the artist, “She would be 100 years-old this year, in November. I miss her every day.”
Opening Reception is on Saturday Aug. 3rd, 5-8 P.M. at Jerome Artist’s Cooperative Gallery, 502 Main Street, Jerome, Arizona 86331 (928-639-4276)

This exhibit can also be seen daily during regular gallery hours from 10 A.M. to 6 P.M. thru Oct. 3rd, 2013.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Jerome Artists Cooperative Gallery Set to Rock the Mountain with Annual Summer Membership Show: “Jerome Rocks!”

      The now infamous attention-grabbing bumper sticker that proudly proclaims, “Jerome, Arizona- Population: Strange” is only part of the story; the whole truth is, Jerome rocks! The member-artists of the Jerome Artists Cooperative Gallery on Main Street are preparing to prove why their historic hotel gallery is a major contributor to the town’s popularity when they unleash their artistic interpretations of “Jerome Rocks” in the annual Summer Membership Show next month. The exhibition will open on Saturday, July 6th in conjunction with the town’s First Saturday Art Walk and continue until August 1st.

 Many of the 35 artists especially look forward to the annual membership shows- the first of which falls during the fall holiday season, and the second in the summer- because only then are they allowed by gallery regulation to show works from media other than their specific juried category. It is not unusual to see a painter show off secret talents in ceramics or a glassblower showcase a jewelry series . Of course, visitors can also look forward to catching up with favorite artists and their latest juried works as well.

  The Jerome Artists Cooperative Gallery currently boasts several members who signed on 17 years ago at its inception, many others who joined and have stayed on over the ensuing years, and juried newcomers who have waited patiently for their turn to claim a space inside the beloved gallery. The one attribute shared by all, however, is a personal and professional commitment to continued innovation, industry and creative thinking when it comes to new ideas and production of their own art. The group recently welcomed two new member/artists, Don Voss and Christine Ryback. Don’s acrylic paintings which center on the form of sacred geometric mandalas and Christine’s very unique and ironically delicate cement leaves are most welcome additions to the gallery collection.  
The 2013 Summer Membership Show, “Jerome Rocks!”  opens on Saturday July 6th, with a reception from 5:00pm- 8:00pm. Join the artists for a rockin’ good time!

The gallery is open daily from 10am-6pm and located at 502 Main, in the former Hotel Jerome. For more information visit  or call 928-639-4276.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

"It's In My Nature"- New Works by Raina Gentry, Opening May 4th, 2013

“It’s In My Nature” 

New Works by Raina Gentry

Opening Saturday, May 4th 2013

Jerome Artists Cooperative Gallery

In the past ten years, artist Raina Gentry has become a dominant force in Northern Arizona’s art world.
Her vibrant mixed-media and acrylic paintings engage the viewer with their keen compositions, play of patterns and figural representations of animals, humans and robots.
“It’s In My Nature”, her current series of new works, promises to be a highlight of the Verde Valley’s spring art season when it opens at the Jerome Artists Cooperative Gallery on May 4th.

“As with much of my work, the theme is nature,” says Gentry. The title has another meaning as well, she explains, “It is in my nature to paint in a certain way.  I have a unique way of seeing and expressing nature.” Part of Gentry’s nature is her use of brilliant colors and layering of patterns and textures in the ever-evolving themes she explores, all which maintain the continuity of her distinct style. Though she never starts a series with a plan in mind, each piece informs the next.  Gentry says, “I started this body of work with the piece, ‘Symphony in the Desert.’  This painting happened very spontaneously, and I was very pleased with the results and wanted to create more like it with the desert theme, but I have little control over this stuff.” Instead, she allows the art to travel wherever it takes her and the series continued to develop a good momentum.

“ I wanted to really see what I could do with this very simple composition.  Color is the driving factor in all of these,” she said. Many of the paintings also feature rabbits, perhaps an appropriate harbinger of the spring season.  “Not sure why I chose rabbits,” said Gentry, “They just seemed appropriate for the ‘story’."

Raina Gentry is a Prescott resident and has been both student and teacher at Prescott College. The school was her initial impetus to move to Prescott from California in the 1990s. A rock climber, she was in pursuit of an outdoor education degree and, remarkably, had no serious aim towards art until heading off to the University of Arizona’s art department in the year 2000.
The creative floodgates opened in Tucson, and Gentry’s success grew in leaps and bounds.
With a previous background in business management, she is adept at managing her art professionally
Her work may be seen in numerous venues throughout the state.

“It’s In My Nature” opens Saturday, May 4th, at the Jerome Artists Cooperative Gallery and runs through the end of June. The opening-night reception takes place from 5:00pm –8:00pm in conjuction with Jerome’s popular ARTwalk.
The gallery is located at 502 Main, in the historic Hotel Jerome building, and open daily from 10:00am- 6:00pm. For more information call 928-639-4276 or visit

Monday, February 18, 2013

Capturing the Light: Yesterday and Today in Fine Art Photography.

Capturing the Light: 
Yesterday and Today in Fine Art Photography
New Work by Ellen Jo Roberts and David Neely

Featured Artist Show at Jerome Artists Cooperative Gallery, 
March 2-May 2, 2013
Opening reception March 2nd, 2013, 5:30pm-8:30pm. 

A camera is a tool a photographer uses to make images and whether it’s a simple box with a pinhole or a mega-pixel DSLR a certain vision is required behind the lens to make an interesting photograph.
“Capturing the Light: Yesterday and Today in Fine Art Photography” features new works by Jerome Artists Cooperative Gallery members Ellen Jo Roberts and David Neely.

Utilizing cameras both ultra modern and vintage mid-century, these two photographers come from different generations and complement each other's distinct styles. Prescott-area resident Neely is a dark-room trained professional photographer who went digital in 2006. He captures compelling scenery and social landscapes in high tech fashion, infusing the images onto a variety of surfaces, from paper to metal. Clarkdale's Roberts is best known as a painter, but over the past 10 years has developed more than a passing interest in photography. In “Capturing the Light” she shares instant film images, born from a 1950s Polaroid Pathfinder Land Camera and blown up into large-sized prints.

       David Neely, native to Washington DC, first developed an interest in photography when he was a junior college student prior to attending the University of Maryland, “I had friends who came back from Vietnam with 35mm cameras they purchased at the PX. I was always artistic, but could not draw or paint so photography was a natural avenue for me to pursue.”
      He worked in photography professionally for just over 40 years, starting in Washington DC as a commercial photographer. In 1982 he moved his studio to Dallas, Texas where he worked for many of the top commercial clients nationwide including Neiman Marcus, Sears, JC Penney’s and Saks 5th Ave as well as many magazines and ad agencies.  Neely was also a contributing photographer for Playboy magazine from the late 1970s until the mid-1990s. “I was sent out on all kinds of assignments for them and traveled extensively,” he recalls, “I have pictures of my one year-old son with about ten bunnies in Atlantic City, and many nice memories and wonderful people I met and worked with. But let me tell you, it was very demanding and difficult work and back in the film days it took some serious skills and lighting to achieve the images they expected.”

    In 1995 he and his wife Sheila arrived in Arizona where Neely attained teaching credentials. He taught photography for several years at Metro Tech, a career technical education high school in central Phoenix. Living full time in Prescott for the past four years, he was an Adjunct Professor at Yavapai College teaching photography courses prior to budget cuts at the school. His son carries the family tradition of education as a math teacher and head basketball coach at Prescott High School.

           Now in his fourth year as a member of the cooperative, David Neely uses his keen photographic eye for art rather than advertising. “I try to interpret things I see and am moved by,” he explains, “I look for shapes, texture, lines and balance in every image I take. I want people to feel what I felt, see the composition and be excited by things that we may walk right past. I use photography as a way ‘to speak’ to others and let them know something about me and how I see and feel about things in our world.”

David Neely

       How did he transition from dark room to digital? “I was an old-time darkroom and film-based photographer! So I kind of went kicking and screaming into digital imaging,” says Neely, “But it did not take me long to adjust and fall in love with digital. It made so many aspects of photography so much easier and for me, more creative.  There is something still special about black and white prints made on top-notch paper in a darkroom. The feel, the tonal quality and the surface of the papers is still special to me, But, I don't miss the smell, the long hours and the tedious work required by expert black and white printers. PhotoShop and similar programs have just opened up so many new creative avenues to pursue!”
 Utilizing many different software tools and plug-ins, Neely says, “I can get so involved I spend hours and hours tinkering and working on new effects and the ‘feeling’ I can bring out in selected images.”
    As digital cameras continue to evolve, results that once could only be achieved on film now are possible electronically. “The mega-pixel count is so high now the ability to achieve super high detail and tonal quality, thought only possible with an eye like that of Ansel Adams with an 8x10 view camera, is now being achieved with the top end digital cameras.”

David Neely

        Complementing the high tech future, Ellen Jo Roberts lands from an opposite direction, entrenched somewhere deep in the 20th century, though with images no less instantaneous. “I probably have a tendency to be anachronistic in general, and I think this is what initially fueled my interest in vintage cameras and film photography. Though, as I learned more and became more skilled with the equipment, I grew to adore the results obtained from shooting on film,” the painter explains, “The capturing of the light burning images onto the analog materials lends a sense of time that is very human and tangible.” Though many imagine film has gone extinct, a vast culture of film photography remains active. “Ironically,” says Roberts, “it’s the internet that keeps film alive, with on-line communities devoted to analog photography. The enthusiasm for film is similar to the music scene’s vinyl album culture. Teenagers are shooting photos with cheap plastic 35mm Holgas and The Impossible Project’s SX-70 instant film.”

       A native to Chicago, Roberts graduated from Northern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting and soon afterwards married and moved west, arriving in Arizona in 1995. She and her husband Chad lived in Flagstaff and Jerome prior to settling into a historic brick bungalow in Clarkdale in 2001. She has been a member of the Jerome Artists Cooperative Gallery since 1997. With a stable of analog cameras at her disposal, Roberts is never without one, always at the ready to capture the joy of the world around us. “As a painter, I have a natural enthusiasm for color, composition and the play between light and dark, but I also like to capture funny juxtapositions. The little moments of small town life out west. Roadside America. Arizona. Vintage cars, motels and old signs. Double exposures, color flashes and long nighttime exposures are fun. ”

Ellen Jo Roberts

She is also perhaps known for photographing her three small dogs, Floyd, Ivan and Hazel, each of them very patient for the lens. “I am definitely inspired by William Wegman, and the creative costume work he did with his Weimaraners.”  Her 1950s-era Polaroid Pathfinder Land Camera is quite the conversation piece, always attracting attention when popped open, bellows extended. “People go nuts when they see the camera,” she laughs, “It’s as big as a Buick, very cinematic and eye-catching. They say, ‘Oh! I haven’t seen one of those in years! Where do you get film for it?’ ”

Ellen Jo Roberts
     Originally made to take a now extinct instant roll film, the camera was modified to take pack film, which is still manufactured. Though she counts her 1954 Argus C3 35mm as her other favorite camera, all of Roberts’ work in Capturing the Light was created with instant film, either expired Polaroid or new Fuji. “Though Polaroid quit producing instant film in 2009, Fuji still makes new peel-apart instant film which fuels many of my Polaroid cameras. ‘The Impossible Project’ is a New York based company which bought Polaroid’s factory in the Netherlands so that they could manufacture integral instant film again.”
Roberts does no post-editing to the images other than straighten the scans and remove wayward dust.
“Photography is a bit like life in that you’re continually solving puzzles and problems,” she says, “As I size up a shot I have to make adjustments to the speed and the aperture, the angle and the distance, to best capture and share what I am seeing and what feeling I am trying to convey. Because it’s film, it’s expensive, and I have to put extra thought into each image before I click the shutter. If it works as I saw it in my mind, it’s a victory.”

Ellen Jo Roberts

Both Neely and Roberts share an admiration for each other’s photography and can appreciate the skills, ideas, experience and vision shared. “David captures an electric quality of light in his images that makes the viewer feel a calming energy. His photographs are always very uplifting,” said Roberts of her show partner, “He’s a great champion of photography in general, always very enthusiastic and encouraging.”
Says Neely of Roberts, “I love her approach to image making and her desire to keep the older tools of the trade alive and prospering! Once I saw some of her Polaroids and images from her vast array of vintage cameras I knew we were a perfect match.”

The opening reception for “Capturing the Light: Yesterday and Today in Fine Art Photography” takes place from 5:30pm –8:30pm on Saturday, March 2nd, coinciding with Jerome’s popular ARTwalk. Refreshments will be served. The show runs through May 2nd. The Jerome Artists Cooperative is open daily 10am-6pm. For more information visit