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May 2022 First Friday: Group Show featuring Matt Lively, Ed Trask, Agnes Grochulska, Thomas Van Auken, and Caesar

May 6, 2022 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Group Show featuring Matt Lively, Ed Trask, Agnes Grochulska, Thomas Van Auken, and Caesar
May 6, 2022
Sponsored by Jens and Kathy Andersen

During the month of May, Arts on Main is excited to exhibit artwork by Matt Lively, Ed Trask, Agnes Grochulska, Thomas Van Auken, and Caesar. The artists will be displaying artwork created of different views in Gloucester, as well as work from their private collections. The exhibit will be on display until May 28.



Matt Lively is a sculptor, painter, and muralist living in Richmond, Virginia. He has designed installations, worked on films, and illustrated books. Lively tries to let his work be defined more by an openness to new ideas and opportunities than by working solely in one particular medium. His success over 25 years is a result of learning through mistakes combined with the collective wisdom of others. Collaborating with other passionate people always presents new avenues to explore that Lively believes he would never be able to experience working on his own. Lively makes images that suggest a story without a beginning or end. Learning to stop before the piece reveals too much is the most delicate aspect of his process. When not in his studio, Lively can be found teaching at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Studio School.



Ed Trask is a musician, painter, and muralist whose work has been collected into many permanent collections. Trask earned a BFA in Painting & Printmaking from VCU and while in school, he transformed many of the dilapidated buildings around Richmond City into his very own art gallery through painted murals. After graduating in 1992, he continued painting illegal murals around the world while on tour with different punk rock bands and friends. Trask has since become involved with bringing creative changes to Richmond and other cities through public art. He co-founded the RVA Street Art Festival and served as a commissioner for Richmond’s Public Art Commission. He is a past board member of the Visual Arts Center of Richmond and has lectured and facilitated creative consulting programs for numerous corporations while working with community nonprofits to bring creative, inclusive public art throughout the city. Ed Trasks’ paintings and murals appear in many permanent collections, including the Modern & Contemporary Art Collection at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Ed lives in Richmond VA with his wife and two children.



Agnes Grochulska’s paintings, while anchored in representation, capture the emotion, the essence of their subject with their rich language of expressive marks and abstracted forms. The cornerstones of her body of work are portraits, recognized for their dynamic character. Tensions between the bold form and the apparent intimacy of emotion – where calligraphic lines, together with impasto textures and vivid colors suggest underlying energy and feeling – compose an insightful psychological image of the subject.

Agnes Grochulska imbues her portraits with various emotions but leaves room for individual narrative, preferring to create works “in which not everything is fully realized. Art where the viewer can finish the story in their mind and in their own way.”

At the same time, the visible brush strokes, vivid colors and gestural character of her paintings offer their viewer an insight to the painting process itself. Her paintings express time spent looking and creating, an interest and a feeling for an irreplaceable time spent on creating. A feeling, not only for the portrayed person, but the person looking at the finished work as well. By highlighting the physical process of painting, Grochulska emphasizes the ever-shifting, intricate connection between the artist, the subject and the viewer .



Thomas Van Auken is known for his intuitive realism. “I don’t think it’s an artist’s job to give people what they think they want to see,” he says. “Instead, I show the world as it is. I paint the power lines in the pastoral landscape, the gas station we go to regularly.” He is not offering an opinion of these spaces, but he realizes that his choices bring up questions of how we are using the world. “We collectively choose to put all these things here. We are jointly creating the world we live in, so let’s take a look at it.” How viewers feel about the spaces he paints, he says, is entirely up to them.



After studying painting at VCU in the late 90s, Caesar followed his artistic vision throughout the country- painting murals of both legal and illegal nature, riding freight trains, fishing and camping along rivers and streams. While traveling and staying active in the low brow gallery scene, he was constantly making and selling his work: photographs, drawings, and paintings. He spent a few years painting houses in Alabama and Missouri, five years as a billboard painter in NYC, then back to VA in 2015 where he linked up with Ed Trask in Richmond. Caesar assisted Trask with all his wild painting projects.

Over the past few years, his time has been split between Richmond and the Eastern Shore, traveling along the banks of Chesapeake Bay and the Tidewater area in general, painting signs and murals of all shapes and sizes. A frequent guest of the popular Vibe District in Virginia Beach, Caesar has a few prominent murals throughout that neighborhood, and on occasion can be found working with Igor of Igor’s Customs.

Caesar’s company is 1500 Studios, and for most projects his right hand man is the promising young painter out of Richmond, Jarred Barr.

This particular body of work celebrates the powerful open spaces found along the Eastern Shore of Virginia, highlighting the majestic sunsets and the resilient farm fields in all their glory. Driving through this environment, the world is simplified, cut down to broad shapes, oceans of color, ancient property lines and equipment, endless marsh. The confluence of land and sea, the cadence of a brushstroke, the energy and vibration found in color and light. This work attempts to capture a bit of that beauty, and to use paint to honor the natural world for all of its wonder and might.


Live music will be provided by Connie Austin Smith.

Connie Austin Smith is a Singer/Songwriter/Musician from the Hampton roads area and has performed with several local ensembles over the years including 23 years with the trio Tangent. She plays a variety of music including original songs, traditional, bluegrass, Celtic and Scottish Gaelic. In 2015, she won the U.S. National Gaelic Mòd Women’s Gold medal.  She also won the coveted Groundhog Festival songwriting contest in 2014. She plays several instruments including guitar, mandolin and penny whistle.  Her best instrument, however, is her voice which is clear and has a flexibility to allows her to perform the ornamentations so common to Irish music – she can yodel!

First Friday is on May 6 from 6:00pm-8:00pm. This event is free and open to the public. Beer and wine will be available for purchase.

Thank you to our First Friday Sponsors, Jens and Kathy Andersen!


Arts on Main
6580 Main Street
Gloucester, VA 23061
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