Dec. 4, 2002 – Sólo Arte, the new fine art gallery in the Lumberyard complex, will open its "Christmas Colectiva" show on Friday with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m.
You can call it the "Christmas collective" if you wish; it's just that gallery owner Janet Cook-Rutnik has been spending a lot of time in Puerto Rico lately organizing, directing, hanging and taking part in the opening of VIA Colectiva, the first-ever group exhibition of Virgin Islands artists' works in Old San Juan's prestigious Museo de las Américas.
Hence the name of her new business venture as well — it means "only art."
The inaugural Sólo Arte show that opened two months ago featured Cook-Rutnik's own artwork. This second one showcases "small and varied works" by a dozen artists from London, South Africa, Massachusetts, New York, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Cook-Rutnik says she's especially excited to be featuring the "zany, free-form sculptures that just so happen to tell time" that are the work of her sister, Georgianna Heller.
Another sibling of an island resident, Ellen Braubart, sister of Kate Norfleet, will be showing her "wonderful etchings that have come to St. John from London, where Ellen has lived most of her life," Cook-Rutnik says.
A third artistic sister represented is Fran Rutnik, who teaches art at Ivanna Eudora Kean High School and is the sibling of Cook-Rutnik's husband, Andrew Rutnik.
From Massachusetts are new watercolors by Marcia Reed-Hendricks, who divides her time between the town of Northampton up north and St. John. The paintings are from her new series of imagined landscapes.
From Puerto Rico is an oil painting by Marlene Hernandez Casillas, "who is making a name for herself on the San Juan art scene," Cook-Rutnik says. Hernandez also is assistant curator at the Museo de las Américas and "was a tremendous help in designing the layout and signage for the VIA Colectiva show," she says.
Also in the show will be colorful abstracts by Willie Marlowe, art faculty member at Sage College in Albany, New York, and work by Dorothy Englander and Deborah Webster, also of Albany. Cook-Rutnik, who grew up in Albany and had a solo show at Sage last year, recently exhibited together with Marlowe in Washington, D.C.
There also will be Afro-Caribbean portraits by transplanted South African artist Mandy Thody and works by local artists Lina Guild, Bente Hirsch, Andrew Radcliffe and Cook-Rutnik herself.
Many of the artists will be on hand Friday evening to discuss their work. The show will hang through the end of the year.
Next up, in January, will be an exhibition titled "Pressed Paper" featuring work by local and off-island artists who produce original prints via monotype, etching and screen-printing techniques. Cook-Rutnik herself will show collagraphs and linocuts which she has just starting producing in her new studio on her printing press.
During December, she is conducting monotype workshops for artists interested in producing prints for the January show, which will include demonstrations and discussions about the different methods of production.
Meanwhile, in Puerto Rico, the VIA Colectiva show continues through Jan. 12, and Cook-Rutnik will gladly let Sólo Arte visitors have a look at the 32-page catalog.
For more information about the December and January shows, others to come and workshops, call the gallery at 715-2150 or send an e-mail to Cook-Rutnik.

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