March 11, 2014

Cicely Aikman Scherer died at Valley Cares in Townshend, Vermont, on December 6, 2013, eleven days after her husband Fred F. Scherer passed away. Born on June 4, 1923 in El Paso, TX, she was the oldest of three children of Duncan and Helen (Wyman) Aikman.

She attended the University of Chicago, but left in her sophomore year and went to New York City to study under Morris Kantor at the Art Students League, between 1942-1946.  Aikman reflects; “This was a serious art education -our only regret as students was that due to World War II, we could not go to Europe, in particular to Paris to see firsthand the works of Picasso and Matisse.” At the League she met her first husband, painter Paul Breslin.   

Cicely was an avid traveler. She went to Florence, Italy by boat with her two-year-old son, Paul Breslin Jr., and lived the bohemian life with her many friends. She lived in Peru from 1956-1957, traveling all over the region, Ecuador, Chile, Cuzco and Lima, Peru, where she taught English.  Other trips included the Greek Isles and Turkey and countless journeys to France to visit her son Paul, who has made Paris his home.

Cicely worked as a librarian at the Hayden Planetarium of the American Museum of Natural History. There she met Fred Scherer, fellow artist, they married in 1969. In 1972 they moved to Friendship, where they lived there for 32 years and adopted and raised Fred's grandchild, Kim Scherer. In 2005, Cicely moved to Brattleboro, Vermont with her husband to be nearer to daughter Deidre Scherer and her husband Steve Levine.

Cicely showed her work in galleries in New York City including The Artists’ Gallery, Green Mountain Gallery, Pyramid Gallery, and Westbeth Gallery. She painted winters in NYC and Vero Beach, FL, and summers in Provincetown and Maine.  In 1972 she helped form a cooperative, the Waldoboro Gallery. Her work has been shown outside of NYC in numerous galleries and museums including the Maine Coast Artists, Round Top Center for the Arts, The Portland Museum, and The Farnsworth Museum. Since 2006, she has shown at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center and Robert Crowell Gallery, Newfane, VT. From 1990 to the present, the Caldbeck Gallery in Rockland, ME has represented Cicely’s work.

Among her many interests, Cicely loved classical music, reading and writing poetry, literature and the writing of her memoirs.  She also participated in numerous peace demonstrations during the 60’s and 70’s. Cicely will be remembered for her generosity, her love of animals, her liberal politics, and her poetic sense of form and color that made her such a unique and talented sculptor and painter.

Cicely is predeceased by first husband Paul Breslin; by second husband Fred F. Scherer and by brother Edward Aikman; she is survived by her sister Ann McQuade of Port Washington, NY; son Paul Breslin Jr. and his wife Catherine of Paris, France: daughter Kim Scherer and her husband, Paul Young of Seattle, WA; and four step-children; Janice-Ellen Scherer-Dufner and her husband, Frank Dufner, of Lyman, ME; William Scherer and his wife, Sitora, of Cold Spring, NY; Deidre Scherer and her husband, Steve Levine, of Williamsville, VT; and Gregory Scherer and his wife, Makhiruy, of Cold Spring, NY; 5 nieces and nephews; 14 grandchildren, and 8 great-grandchildren.

All are welcome to a memorial service that will be held on Sunday, December 15th, at 2:30 pm at Valley Cares, 461 Grafton Road, Townshend, VT, with a reception to follow.

The family expresses their heartfelt thanks to the amazing staff of Valley Cares for their professional, unending care and compassion; to Susan Nelson and her wonderful group of caregivers; the hospice staff of Bayada Services for their sensitive support and Dr. Timothy Shafer for his compassion and understanding.

Gifts may be made in Cicely’s name to Valley Cares, 461 Grafton Road, Townshend, VT 05353.

 

March 11, 2014

Fred F. Scherer

1915-2013

 

Fred Frank Scherer died at Valley Cares in Townshend, Vermont, on November 25, 2013, surrounded by family and friends. Born on March 1, 1915 in Queens, NY, he was eighth of nine children of William and Mary Ellen (Gerken) Scherer, and the last remaining of his siblings.

In 1930, while in an apprenticeship program of The School Art League of New York City, Fred was awarded their Saint Gaudens Medal for Fine Draughtsmanship and the Haney Medal for Fine Craftsmanship.

Fred spent the majority of his working life, 1934 through 1972, in the Exhibition Department of the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). He learned the techniques of painting dioramas from his mentor, artist James Perry Wilson.  Fred created and collaborated on numerous dioramas that are still on display at the AMNH, including fifteen that he personally painted in the Chapman Memorial Bird Hall, The African Hall and the North American Mammal Hall. Millions have seen his work and the dioramas are recognized worldwide.

“His passing ends an era for AMNH, as he was the last surviving background artist who made great contributions to the museum's finest diorama halls and his work will stand for all time as a most significant contribution to the finest natural history diorama work in the world.”        -Stephen Quinn

In 1967, Fred produced a Peruvian desert mural at the World’s Fair in New York. After retiring from the AMNH, Fred and his wife, artist, Cicely Aikman, lived for 32 years in Friendship, ME. He worked for twenty years as art consultant for the Maine State Museum in Augusta, ME, where he also painted dioramas.

A tireless and energetic spirit, he turned his attention to other pursuits including designing and building the family home. An intrepid inventor, he made an endless stream of practical devices, some specializing in successfully deterring squirrels from bird feeders. An early supporter of the “modern organic gardening movement,” he cultivated blueberry bushes and loved harvesting vegetables from his and Cicely’s large garden. While in Maine, he enjoyed going out to fish the waters in and around Friendship Harbor with his lobstermen friends.

Growing up in a house filled with music, Fred loved music of all types and was a wonderful self-taught pianist who played by ear. He continued to paint and draw up to his final days.  Fred Scherer attended the Advent Christian Church of Friendship, ME, for many years, and more recently, the Calvary Chapel in West Townshend, VT.  Fred is survived by his second wife of 44 years, Cicely Aikman Scherer, of Valley Cares, Townshend, VT; and by his four children with his first wife, Marguerite Scherer, deceased: Janice-Ellen Scherer-Dufner and her husband, Frank Dufner, of Lyman, ME; William Scherer and his wife, Sitora, of Cold Spring, NY; Deidre Scherer and her husband, Steve Levine, of Williamsville, VT; and Gregory Scherer and his wife, Makhiruy, of Cold Spring, NY; adopted daughter, Kim Scherer and her husband, Paul Young, of Seattle, WA; and stepson, Paul Breslin and his wife, Catherine, of Paris, France; 14 grandchildren, 8 great-grandchildren and a large extended family. Fred made many friends during his life who will all miss him. 

All are welcome to memorial services that will be held on Wednesday, December 4th, at 3 pm at Valley Cares, 461 Grafton Road, Townshend, VT; and on Sunday, December 8th, at 2 pm at the Calvary Chapel, Route 30, West Townshend, VT. Receptions will follow both events.

The family expresses their heartfelt thanks to Dr. Tim Shafer; to the amazing staff of Valley Cares for their professional, unending care and compassion that they gave to Fred and continue to give to Cicely; and to Susan Nelson and her wonderful group of caregivers, as well as the hospice staff of Bayada Services for their sensitive support.

Donations can be made in Fred’s name to Valley Cares, 461 Grafton Road, Townshend, VT 05353; or to the Calvary Chapel, Rte 30, West Townshend, VT 05359.

March 6, 2014


Caldbeck Gallery is pleased to exhibit the new work of Elizabeth Billings and Michael Sacca; the pair are the inaugural 2013 Artists in Residence to the George's River Land Trust.

Below is an excerpt from the George's River Land Trust Summer 2013 Newletter

"Meet Our Artists in Residence

Artists have long been inspired by the natural beauty of Maine, and the midcoast has a particularly long and strong tradition of place-inspired art making.  We are fortunate to have found a partner in the K2 Family Foundation that seeks to foster sustainability and create opportunitities for artists whose work incporates sicentific awareness and concerns.  And so it is with great pleasure that we are launching an artist-in-residence program!

The artist-in-residence program offers professional visual artists, performing artists, and writers the opportunity to pursue their artistic disciplines while being inspired by the area's extraordinary landscape.  The artists will have access to many of the Land Trust's holdings as a resource for creating new site-inspired or site-specific work.

Elizabeth Billings and Michael Sacca share a similar visual aesthetic, and approach their work from diverse vantage points: photography, cinematography and the use of digital media on one hand, drawing, gathering, weaving and installation art on the other.  Using the diversity of these techniques and the common ground of the Georges River, their goal is to visually portray the essence of the watershed and their connection to it through all four seasons."

Here's an excerpt from Elizabeth and Michael's blogpage  (billingsandsacca.comdocumenting their thoughts and work, season by season:

The Residency

Preserving wild lands and conserving our environment comes out of a deep connection with the natural world. Connecting to nature through a combination of digital imaging and work made by hand is the underlying concept of this residency.

Our collaborative investigation into the Georges River watershed concentrates on several Georges River Land Trust properties over the course of a year. Sharing a similar visual aesthetic, we approach our work from diverse vantage points: photography, cinematography and the use of digital media on one hand, drawing, gathering, weaving and installation art on the other. Using the expanse between these techniques and the common ground of the Georges River, our goal is to visually portray the essence of the watershed and our connection to it.

Our residency takes us through an entire year of observing seasonal changes in the watershed. In early December we made a visit to the area and identified the Gibson Preserve and Eagles Way Preserve as two potential sites for the residency work. The relative remoteness and large acreage of Searsmont and the expansive marsh, open woods and river access in Warren are rich with possibilities. We plan to continue to broaden our understanding of the range of properties as well as to walk portions of the Georges Highland Path and kayak portions of the Georges River.

The residency is composed broadly in two parts: the collaboration in the making and then in the exhibition of the work, both deeply exciting. Using our combined artistic techniques, we begin our outreach with a blog as a public journal/exhibition visually documenting our travels, reflections and thoughts. The blog allows and encourages regular and careful consideration of the progressing artwork. During the residences, we will invite the public and Georges River Land Trust members to local food potluck picnics on and beside the River and on other properties. In this way, we connect to the people and the food of the area and they to us. At the end of the year of visual exploration, our combined artwork and blog entries are edited together into a chapbook and an exhibition of the artwork, celebrating the watershed and the residency.
Red Pine-Scotch Pine

Warren white oaks trapezoid

We have spent years developing and honing our varied artistic techniques making visible our connection with nature. Having the singular focus of the watershed from two quite different artistic disciplines is both intriguing and challenging. A collaborative residency invites conversations to take place reflecting on the new body of work. This creates the potential to move our individual explorations more quickly and intensely. We believe taking this personal risk enlivens the work and allows for new creative paths.

 

Elizabeth Billings and Michael Sacca are the artists-in-residence for The Georges River Land Trust and K2 Family Foundation throughout the 2013 year.

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