Berkshire Eagle
January 18, 2009

"In the woodshed"
By Scott Stafford

Dozens of artists make the most of cabin fever in North Adams

NORTH ADAMS — Music fills the air, but more palpable is the inspiration and creativity that fills the room at MCLA Gallery 51 and the MCLA Gallery Annex as 40 artists gather materials and ideas and try to come up with finished pieces side by side.

Having come from around the corner and from across the country, since Thursday night these artists have been part of "Woodshed II: The Next Hundred Hours," a five-day gathering to churn out collage art together. The first woodshed happened two years ago with 20 artists.

Spirit of collaboration
While this is not exactly a collaboration, there is a collaborative spirit. The artists share materials, ideas and encouragement, and celebrate each others' successes. In each location, tables are filled with bits and pieces of newspapers, magazines, postcards, artworks, canvas, paintings, toys, movie film, woodwork and small sculptures. There are also computers and headphones and iPods and tubes of paint.

Afterwards, the Woodshed work will be curated and the selected works will be part of a Woodshed exhibition at MCLA Gallery 51.

Mark Hohlstein of Great Barrington and Shane Murray of New York City were working together on a four-foot by four-foot two-dimensional collage using hundreds of pieces of magazine and newspaper to craft an image. Their hope is to have it completed by the time Woodshed ends Monday night.

Jason Brinkerhoff of San Francisco stood over a table covered with scraps of paper carrying fragments of images. "I finally got just enough chaos in front of me to make something happen," he said. "It took me a few days to build up to it." Brinkerhoff said he likes the close quarters and working in a public space. "It makes you accountable to other artists — you're not hiding in your studio," he said.

"It's a pretty organic process," added Scott Zieher of New York City from across the table. "If I can lay something down on paper and call it finished I'll be happy. It is fun and everybody's got a great attitude, but that's not what it's about. It's about getting some work done."

'Beauty of being here"
Further down the aisle, Lana Z Caplan, a Boston-based video collage artist, was taking old footage shot circa 1950 and reshooting it digitally while altering the projection by adding layers, colors and soundtrack, to express her theme on love.

She was part of the first Woodshed. "That's the beauty of being here — last time I made some pieces that are still some of my favorites," Caplan said. "So my hope is that I'll be able to make something that I like in two years."

To reach Scott Stafford: sstafford@berkshireeagle.com or (413) 664-4995.