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Serendipitous Encounters 

A friend of the family, a chance meeting in Nevada, a dinner party invitation: Serendipitous encounters leave their mark on a local curator’s work. Chrissy Glenn’s run-in with fate gave birth to two shows this month: “Sound and Vision,” a group show at the Pearl Gallery in Stone Ridge, and “Green Flag Song,” an exhibition of Joni Mitchell’s photographs in Manhattan.

The groundwork for “Sound and Vision” was set in Pennsylvania during Glenn’s high school internship with renowned sculptor and family friend Val Bertoia. Years later, Glenn is now framing an exhibition around Bertoia’s work, showing it alongside the work of four artists who work in diverse media: Barbara Bash (large-scale calligraphy), Marty Carey (pen-and-ink drawings), Tim Rowan (sculpture), Jane Herold (ceramics).

“It’s wonderful to see the juxtaposition of a three-dimensional work with a two dimensional work, and I always have a sculptor with my shows of painters, photographers, and printmakers,” said Glenn. “I like to bring them together.”

Val Bertoia did not stumble upon art—he was born into it. His father, Harry, famed designer and sculptor began the Bertoia Studio that Val has run since 1978. Harry Bertoia met his moment of providence while constructing a chair. He hit two metal rods together and from the gonglike reverberations were the inspiration for the Sonambient sound sculptures made of copper, brass, and steel rods. When touched, the work vibrates, emitting multiple tones.

Four years ago, Glenn attended Burning Man in the Nevada desert, where she met the friend of a friend of Joni Mitchell. Over dinner in Stone Ridge a couple of years later, Glenn was convinced to visit Los Angeles and see Mtichell’s “Green Flag Song” at the Lev Moross Gallery. Glenn accepted the impromptu offer and found herself in front of a battleship-gray wall with heart-wrenching green-toned photographic triptychs printed on canvas, calling for peace.

“I was so moved by it,” said Glenn, “so incredibly moved by the poignancy of her work and how the timing for it is just so needed. The need for a change of consciousness and for people to become aware what’s going on in the world.”

With a little encouragement from her new friends she wrote Mitchell a letter offering to curate her show in Manhattan. Mitchell agreed, and “Green Flag Song” will be at Violet Ray Gallery at Openhouse through October 10. The multitalented Mitchell has also just released a new album, Shine, which was released in conjunction with the opening of her photographic exhibition in late September. Earlier this year she debuted a ballet, “The Fiddle and the Drum,” with the Alberta Ballet in Calgary.

“Sound and Vision” will be exhibited from October 14 through November 15 at the Pearl Gallery, 3572 Main Street in Stone Ridge. An opening reception will be held on October 14 from 2 to 5pm, with demonstrations of Sonambient sculpture by Val Bertoia and large-scale calligraphy created using an oversized brush the size of a mop by Barbara Bash. (845) 687-0888;

“Green Flag Song” will run through October 10 at Violet Ray Gallery at Openhouse, 201 Mulberry Street in Manhattan. (917) 913-2700;

click to enlarge Object #6, Tim Rowan, raw clay sculpture.
  • Object #6, Tim Rowan, raw clay sculpture.
click to enlarge Center, Barbara Bash, suma ink on paper.
  • Center, Barbara Bash, suma ink on paper.
click to enlarge Surfaced Coral Garden, Val Bertoia, bronze sculpture.
  • Surfaced Coral Garden, Val Bertoia, bronze sculpture.
click to enlarge Grandma After the Snow, Marty Carey, pen and ink on paper.
  • Grandma After the Snow, Marty Carey, pen and ink on paper.

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