Kenise Barnes Fine Art is pleased to present the tenth iteration of their exhibition series Cool & Collected. The 2024 edition includes artists identified by gallery director Kenise Barnes and associate director Lani Holloway who are not (yet) represented by the gallery and whose work we are excited to present to their collectors. The work in this iteration of Cool & Collected feels sort of hand-made and has a certain heartfelt, even naive charm. Each artwork carefully depicts objects and environments with which the artist is intimate. Carefully observed with affection these subjects capture feelings that tug just a tiny bit on our heartstrings and bring a smile of recognition to the viewer.

Matt Barter’s paintings center on Maine, specifically the fishing industry in Frenchman’s Cove where he grew up. A self-taught painter, Barter is inspired by his father who is also an artist, and by the great American painter Marsden Hartley. Matt Barter researches material for his work by spending time on the fishing piers chatting with the workers and learning about their lives/struggles. He calls this research "Downeast Anthropology”.

The exhibition features six paintings that are primarily about connecting fishermen to their “gear” (the colloquial word fishermen use to describe all the varied items they use to fish ) in meaningful ways. Barter uses storytelling and memories of his childhood spent working with his dad in different commercial fishing ventures. The charm of Barter’s paintings is both in its intentional naiveté and direct folk-inspired style.

Matt Barter lives and works in Brunswick and Gouldsboro, ME.

In her work, Polly Shindler is always thinking about the psychology of a place. Ideas born from an investigation of solitude and retreat over time became an investigation into the lives and homes of others. Curiosity about the arrangement of a place itself raises questions: how are households organized, who designed the space, how are personal effects displayed, what is on the coffee table, and what is hidden away? Shindler appreciates the specificity of the choices.

The presentation of a home expresses how its inhabitants interact with and see the world. Shindler’s paintings are of places, not people. By not depicting the figure in her work she conveys a deliberate neutrality creating simultaneously a void and a fullness, paintings full of the suggestion with no one in them.

Polly Shindler’s work has been shown widely in the United States and in London and Madrid. She has been awarded residencies at Yaddo, Saratoga Springs, NY, Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT, Wassaic Project, Wassaic, NY, and others. Her work has been featured in Juxtapoz Magazine, Forbes, Art New England, and New York Arts Magazine to name a few. Shindler earned her MFA at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY, and a BA in History at University of Massachusetts.

In culture hyper-saturated by electronic imagery Joan Linder uses the traditional materials of a quill pen and a bottle of ink to create images that persist in exploring and claiming the sub-technological process of observation and mark making. Linder’s subjects include the banality of mass-produced domestic artifacts, the politics of war, sexual identity and power, and the beauty of the close observation of the natural and man-made. This diversity of subject matter is a critical element in her attempt to express the complexity and variety of contemporary life.

Linder draws from direct observation. Her daily drawing practice extends to mundane objects, and pop culture. This exhibition features four small drawings from the Brood series. Each image is intricately rendered colored ink drawing of a common egg carton. Evidence of the handmade in the work is self-conscious and intimate and is combined with definitive and energized cross hatching. Each image is isolated on its own white page but part of a larger series.

Linder’s work has been exhibited extensively throughout the United States. Linder’s work is in the collections of Buffalo AKG Art Museum, NY, Burchfield Penny Art Museum, Buffalo, NY Davis Museum, Wellesley College, MA, Department of Education, New York, NY, Department of Homeland Security, New York, NY, Ewing Gallery of Art, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, Fidelity Investments, Boston, MA, The Gwangju Art Museum, South Korea, Metropolitan Transit Authority, New York, NY, Orange County Museum of Art, Costa Mesa, CA, Progressive Corporation, Mayfield, OH, The Ritz-Carlton, Tahoe, CA, Rosewell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY, and numerous others.

She has been granted residencies at MacDowell, Peterborough, NH, Cultivamos Cultura, São Luís, Portugal, Yaddo, Saratoga Springs, NY, Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, NY, to name a few. Her work has been featured in New York Magazine, Hyperallergic , The New York Times, Newsday and Art Critical to name a few. Joan Linder earned her MFA from Columbia University, New York, NY and a BA from Tufts University, Medford, MA. She lives and works in Buffalo, NY.

Mary Tooley Parker makes textile art using a time-intensive, historic rug making technique. There are no electric tools, and no rush to get it done. Parker is a true fiber artist having been enthralled with every fiber related making format since the age of 8 and is mostly self-taught. Her basic process includes hand dyeing wool yardage, cutting it into strips, and pulling strips up through a linen foundation using a primitive, wood handled hook. She also spins yarn to be used in the work. This slow making allows her time to adjust, revise, and enjoy the making.

Her use of additional non-traditional materials creates a densely textured but still 2-dimensional work that draws the viewer in to both examine the fiber materials and engage with the innate warmth and familiarity of them. Her work offers a clear evocation of people, places and things that resonate deeply with others' experiences. Though using a traditional, folk art medium, Parker's tableaus, vivid colors, humor, detail, and wide use of new and exotic fibers give rug hooking a contemporary aesthetic and lifts her rugs off the floor to be viewed as art.

Parker's work has been exhibited internationally, including in New York, London, and Denmark, and is held in public and private collections. The artist lives and works in Yorktown Heights, NY.