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We Used to Have Parties 

Show dates are November 1 through December 7, 2018

Opening Reception /  Thursday, November 1, 2018 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm

Kelley Stelling Contemporary presents a group exhibition of paintings by John Bonner, Patrick Cunha, Catherine Graffam and Mike Howat titled “We Used to Have Parties”.

There is a pensive quality to the work of the four painters represented in this show. The exhibition title was inspired by the eponymous poem by Justin Marks. It’s first four lines inform the show.

John Bonner states: “I’m an artist who paints what I see around me”. His work documents the familiar environments that we live in or pass through routinely but never stop to look at. Harried workers thoughtlessly float through cityscapes with an palpable ennui, buildings echo emptiness during rain storms. Who are these people, where are they going? Bonner makes the viewer slow down and reflect on beauty of ordinary moments.

Patrick Cunha, a recent graduate of NHIA, presents his work for the first time. Working in the figurative tradition in oil on canvas, Cunha’s new work includes portraits expertly rendered with an eye toward meticulous technique. His unique compositions face the viewer in a raw, visceral way.

As a transgender artist, Catherine Graffam paints self-portraits that obsessively examine her appearance. She comments: “I not only want to show the physical aspect of transition but bring to the light how queer identities affect all facets of life.” Her paintings’ ambivalence creates an undercurrent of tension that eaves us wanting to know more.

Mike Howat exhibited with Kelley Stelling in our January 2018 group show “Things I Have No Words For”. In this exhibition, Howat’s new body of work examines the storefronts and streets of Manchester, New Hampshire. The city was laid out on a grid, like Manhattan, without regard to natural features. Within this overlay, Howat reveals how it has been humanized by successive waves of immigrants.