Greenfield artist featured at LAVA Center

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    Cathe Janke said her art is still "in progress" and each piece may have details added to it throughout the show's run. STAFF PHOTO/CHRIS LARABEE

  • Greenfield artist Cathe Janke has a new art show on display at The LAVA Center each Saturday and Wednesday in July and August. STAFF PHOTO/CHRIS LARABEE

  • Cathe Janke highlighted this collage piece as an example of her recycling everyday objects as pieces of her art. STAFF PHOTO/CHRIS LARABEE

  • Ethan Bross (left) and Jessica Beck (right) view Cathe Janke’s artwork featuring natural objects at Saturday morning’s reception. Bross said, “Art in general is like a black hole — once you step foot in it, you’re sucked in forever.” STAFF PHOTO/CHRIS LARABEE

Staff Writer
Published: 7/9/2021 4:21:42 PM

A new months-long art show featuring a local artist’s work opened recently, further signaling the Franklin County art community’s reemergence from the pandemic.

The LAVA Center, which stands for Local Access to Valley Arts, unveiled an art show featuring work by Greenfield artist Cathe Janke.

Janke, who moved to Greenfield in 2007, has worked with The LAVA Center for a year as a vendor, but this is her first gallery. She said creating the art is enjoyable, but the real joy comes in sharing it with others.

“It’s not much fun until other people come see it,” Janke said. “I’m glad things are getting back to normal and people can come to The LAVA Center and bring their own ideas.”

Janke’s show features eight evolving, multimedia art pieces featuring paint, collages and flowers. Some pieces are unfinished, but she said it is a part of her artistic process.

“Some of it is in progress still. Sometimes it’s fun to see the surprises,” Janke said. “Think of it like a stream.”

When talking about her largest piece, which is an unfinished rectangular canvas, she referenced how change is a direct part of the project, and highlighted her use of reflective paint and how the reflection changes from different viewing perspectives.

“The paint is shiny so it changes when you walk up to it,” Janke explained. “It’s like the experience of walking around town.”

Janke has taught at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and traveled to India and Burma. She said her mom and grandmother were both seamstresses and encouraged her to follow her passions as an artist.

She said much of the gallery is inspired by her travels, “a connection to nature” and human interactions.

“(I like) walking along and enjoying the scenery; I try to bring that to people,” Janke said. “I think we get inspired by other people or conversations.”

Janke said much of her approach focuses on zooming in on a certain aspect of a scene such as a flower from Shelburne Falls’ Bridge of Flowers before creating the rest of the details around it.

“In a movie you have a close-up then a zoom-out, so I think of it like that,” Janke said. “I change the scale to make it jump out at you.”

Janke’s art is also inspired by a desire to see how she can make “fun or colorful” art with the items around her, which she emphasized when talking about her sewing collage.

“I try to make art with plants or everyday objects,” Janke said. “You don’t expect to be sewing things onto a canvas that would go in the trash, but it’s a cool color and now I’ve recycled it, too.”

She said The LAVA Center is a “fun addition” to the Franklin County arts community and this summer is a chance for people to view art after the pandemic.

“People seem to be coming out more,” Janke said. “This space is very fun.”

Ethan Bross, a 16-year-old Greenfield resident, attended the gallery because he has a deep interest in art.

“Art in general is like a black hole,” Ethan said. “Once you step foot in it, you’re sucked in forever.”

He said shows like Janke’s and The LAVA Center are great options to have in the area.

“Having an art community is important. Art is ubiquitous,” Ethan said. “It’s really nice to have spaces like this.”

Jessica Beck, a 15-year-old Greenfield resident, said an art space like The LAVA Center helps her tap into her own creative spirit.

“It’s really cool coming to a place like LAVA,” Jessica said. “Seeing local art is getting me more into art myself.”

Both teens said Janke’s work was intriguing.

“I really like the multimedia collage,” Ethan said. Jessica added she thought the art was “really sick.”

The LAVA Center opened for only six weeks in 2020 before the pandemic forced its closure. Vanessa Query, the center’s manager, said organizers are picking up steam when it comes to hosting events.

“We reopened May 1,” Query said. “Slowly, haltingly, we’re getting momentum.”

She said it’s great to see people coming back into The LAVA Center and other art galleries around the county.

“A big part of our thing here is community and art as community,” Query said. “We want to get conversations happening again … and other people are feeling that, too.”

Janke’s show will be hosted through July and August on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and every Wednesday night from 5 to 9 p.m. The LAVA Center is located at 324 Main St. in Greenfield.

Along with Janke’s show, there will be a variety of events hosted at The LAVA Center in the coming weeks:

■Jazz and rock trio Vimana will play live music Saturday, with original artwork by David Andrews and Trouble Mandeson. An ECHO Greenfield (Exploring and Creating Histories Ourselves) panel on using local institutions like historical societies, libraries and newspapers as historical resources will be held from 1 to 2:30 p.m. (Upcoming ECHO events are listed at echogreenfield.org.)

■Local artist Eric Grab’s artwork will be featured July 17 along with tarot card reading by Amie Hyson.

■The LAVA Center is also seeking additional artists and vendors to display their work on Saturdays. Artists of all kinds are welcome, including visual artists, writers, musicians and filmmakers.

Chris Larabee can be reached at clarabee@recorder.com or 413-930-4081.


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