Months for recharging

January and February are months for atonement

Taryn Simon’s “A Cold Hole” at Mass MoCA in North Adams, Mass.. Photo: Jennifer Huberdeau

By Benjamin Cassidy

If you’re an arts buff in the Berkshires or Southern Vermont, chances are you’re guilty of some social procrastination during the summer and fall. Want to go for a hike? Sorry, I’m seeing that new art show. Can you stop by for dinner tonight? Nope, I have concert tickets!

January and February are your months for atonement. While the arts scene isn’t dormant during 2019’s earliest days, it’s certainly a tad sleepy. This is the time to grab a bite with that friend who might not be familiar with either of the arts world Nick Caves. But perhaps you can also persuade that comrade to accompany you to some shows.

Two very different institutions, albeit both at the foot of slopes, provide potential options. In Williamstown, Mass., “Turner and Constable: The Inhabited Landscape” will be the main attraction at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, featuring paintings and other works by J. M. W. Turner and John Constable. And at Vermont’s Stratton Mountain Resort, skiers and nonskiers can enjoy tunes by My Mother’s Moustache, among others, at lively venues such as Grizzly’s. It might get a little raucous on the mountain, but that’s OK. Art can be social, too.

‘Turner and Constable: The Inhabited Landscape’

“Osmington Village” by John Constable is on display as part of the Turner and Constable: The Inhabited Landscape at The Clark. Photo courtesy of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute.

Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 225 South St., Williamstown, Mass.

Landscapes attract a little bit more attention in this part of the country. Art galleries and museums in the region regularly stoke this intrigue, presenting works by local and international artists that challenge our notions of nature and reinforce our affection for it.

This winter, the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute feeds this interest with a show that presents two of the world’s most celebrated landscape painters: J. M. W. Turner and John Constable. The artists both hailed from England and rose to prominence during the 19th century. Turner often draws praise for his light depictions, Constable for his colors. But perhaps their greatest achievement was revolutionizing landscape painting, ensuring that, centuries later, it would endure as a significant area for artistic inquiry.

In “Turner and Constable: The Inhabited Landscape,” more than 50 landscape pieces that include oil paintings, watercolors, prints and drawings demonstrate that this legacy is as entrenched as the surrounding hills.

  • “Extreme Nature!” through Feb. 24: Fact and imagination mingle in artistic portrayals of the environment, including natural disasters.
  • “Turner and Constable: The Inhabited Landscape,” through March 10: Two landscape painting revolutionaries’ work captures 19th-century scenes.
  • “Thomas Gainsborough: Drawings at the Clark,” through March 17: An 18th-century portrait painter’s landscapes are at the fore.

My Mother’s Moustache

Photo courtesy of Stratton Mountain.

Stratton Mountain Resort, 5 Village Lodge Road, Stratton Mountain, Vt.

Stratton Mountain Resort isn’t just home to some steep slopes; it also hosts a jumpin’ year-round music scene. The Wailers, Rusted Root and Judy Collins are among those who have taken its stages. While those acts have arrived in Windham County at different times on the calendar, Stratton’s music lineup acquires an added importance during winter, when festivals and other outdoor shows in the Green Mountain State are still months away.

This winter’s slate is heavy on cover bands that will appear at multiple resort venues, playing hits that out-of-towners and locals are bound to enjoy. But some groups will offer their own original sounds.

My Mother’s Moustache, for example, will belt some Americana tunes at Grizzly’s on Feb. 2, just over a month after its last appearance at the bar and restaurant. Vocalist/guitarist Joe Sabourin is Vermont-based and raised in Massachusetts, so music fans throughout the region might recognize some of his influences.

Don’t worry: Ski passes aren’t required for entry. You don’t have to know what apres means to get in on this fun.

  • The North & South Dakotas, Grizzly’s, Jan. 5, 3 p.m.: Some fresh alt-bluegrass tunes from upstate New York.
  • My Mother’s Moustache, Grizzly’s, Feb. 2, 3 p.m.: Joe Sabourin and company return for another Stratton show.
  • Josh Panda Party, Grizzly’s, Grizzly’s, Feb. 16, 3 p.m.: Pop songs will fuel this rager.

Benjamin Cassidy is the arts and entertainment reporter for The Berkshire Eagle. A graduate of Columbia Journalism School and the University of Michigan, Benjamin now lives in Dalton, Mass.

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