Art, wine and papercuts at Co-op

Jun 22, 2014
Bennett Konesni’s "Tea for Three" is part of the next show at the Belfast Co-op.

Belfast — On Friday, June 27, from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Belfast Co-op Café, there will be a free wine tasting of highlighted seasonal wines and the opening for Bennett Konesni's art exhibit "Cut Time: Simple, Paired Papercuttings," which will be on display in the Co-op Cafe through late July.

Jack Scully of Easterly Wines and Jaap Helder from the Co-op's Wine Department will be available to answer questions. Featured wines will be 10 percent off during the tasting; participants must be 21 years of age or older to attend.

Farmer-musician Bennett Konesni of Belfast offers a series of papercuttings inspired by the musical concept "cut time." Cut time is always in duple meter, i.e. one, two, one, two; and so this show pairs pieces connected in interesting and sometimes surprising ways. Simplicity and brevity are two characteristics associated with cut time, concepts Bennett finds inspiring in his art — cut from a single piece of black paper — and in his life generally. And as a farmer, cutting is an important part of his work, whether it be cutting vegetables, cover crops or losses. All of these ideas factor into his work.

Raised in Maine, Konesni was naturally drawn into the strong communities of old-time music, art and farming. At 13, he shipped as a deckhand aboard local schooners, spending five summers sailing Penobscot Bay and learning the traditional work songs of the tall ships as he raised sails and hauled anchors. Later, at Middlebury College, Bennett co-founded the student farm and spent six months studying Zulu farming songs in South Africa. He was awarded a Thomas J. Watson fellowship to spend a postgraduate year in Tanzania, Ghana, Mongolia, Vietnam, Switzerland and Holland, studying worksongs of sea, field and steppe.

More recently, Konesni co-founded Sylvester Manor, a 243-acre educational farm on Shelter Island, N.Y. In addition to long-range strategic planning and outreach for the organization, his roles include teaching worksongs to the farm crew and directing the annual Plant & Sing fall festival, which brings the community to the farm to complete two week's worth of garlic shucking and planting in a single morning, all while singing.

Dabbling in visual art for most of his life as part of an artistic family, Konesni discovered papercutting as a secret skill in 2012 and in 2014 began exhibiting his works, which generally focus on the culture of food. He has given a Ted talk about his work and speaks, teaches, and performs regularly throughout North America, both individually and with several bands. He and his wife Edith are building a homestead of their own in Belfast, 12 miles from his childhood homes in Appleton and on Islesboro.

All are welcome at the community-owned Belfast Co-op, open 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily at 123 High St. For more information, call 338-2532 or visit belfast.coop.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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