It is the scale of the works in Kathleen Gerdon Archer’s current exhibit As Above so Below that is astonishing.
She submerges objects in ice and photographs as it melts; they reveal themselves in uncanny ways.
We are submerged in these spaces, we are inside these spaces, which are overwhelming, stunning.
Although they seem like manipulated images, they are not. Archer sets up the situation and context for “Nature” to divulge itself, an invented world made out of real materials.
The photographs float on the walls, not so much in dialogue, but rather ricocheting off each other.
The images are simultaneously geographical and personal.
We try to see what we are looking at – leaves, rocks, water, ice. It is as if we are examining the world under a gigantic microscope.
We are compelled by what we do not recognize. We are looking at stupendous moments stopped in time.
Go see this wonderful show, the exhibit runs through March 1.
Image: Kathleen Gerdon Archer, Between Sun and Geography, Polypropylene print mounted on 6 mil white Sintra behind 1/8th” plexiglas, 40 x 27 inches, 2014
A Department of Makers, the current exhibit featuring the studio faculty at University of New Hampshire, fills all three galleries. This group of artists is held together by their commitment to teaching and the rigor they have for their respective practices. The exhibit, well curated by Mary Harding, resounds with a variety of mediums and ways of handling subject matter. As the viewer moves through the space, surrounded by this variety, resonances occur. As one encounters each work, a dialogue ensues. There is an overall connection between the artists and their works, even if the pieces are separated from one other. For example, when arriving at Rick Fox’s paintings in the back of the gallery, I am reminded of Jennifer Moses’ work in the front room. The gelatin silver prints by Michael Cardinale correspond to Ben Cairiens mixed media pieces and to Scott Schnef’s meticulous still-life prints.
The artists challenge themselves to discover new answers to these enduring questions: How do you find something new and unexpected using traditional techniques? How do you make the best use of size, of scale? How does the limitation of the support push an artist? The experience of each work in the exhibit had me returning repeatedly to earlier encounters, as well as appreciating the relationships created by works in closer conversation with each other. Each is a challenge, a problem solved.
Go see this wonderful show, the exhibit runs through February 1.
Image: Grant Drumheller, Museum with Helicopter, Cooler Version, Oil on Linen, 28 X 22 inches, 2014.
We are so pleased to share the review by Shawn Hill of Mary Lang’s November show, Gazing into Space, in the current January/February 2015 issue of Art New England. Below is an excerpt from the article:
“In Lang’s work, we care about the land, but even more so the sky. In her vistas they are conscious actors, especially when clouds roll in like for or mist, obscuring solid surfaces. People are not an afterthought but they are small, dwarfed by the immensity of their environment.
Lang’s visit to Machu Picchu was definitely rewarding. In one image the Peruvian peaks dissolve, engulfed by cottony banks of fog, as if the vertiginous mountains weren’t completely real after all. The figures in the lower left corner climbing around cliff-like walls of ashlar seem to exist in a world of magical transformation, visiting lost horizons and hushed grandeur.
Closer to home, Lang finds that the lush natural settings of New England and California offer nurturing refuge. The scenes she chooses are maintained and landscaped, but in a way that human intrusions like fences and power lines become fragile and unimportant details, where wildflowers and old trees and swaying grass are left to develop in well-tended wilderness.
Even an image taken of an artificial setting (a landscape constructed for a model train in San Diego) fits in with Lang’s sandy, grassy hills. The scale and composition make the artificial hard to spot among the actual, but once seen, you question the reality of the other images. Another scene features a rectilinear tennis court surrounded by chain link fencing and lush vegetation. Though familiar, you sense Lang asks us to stop and consider what we’re really seeing.”
Image: Mary Lang, Clouds and Mountains, Machu Picchu, 2013, archival digital print, 20×30 inches.
In the Center Gallery, guest artist Rhonda Smith’s work complements Stacey Alickman’s exhibit, Humpty Dumpty. Her paintings also move, but in a very different way. The marks swirl across the surface, filling the room with light and energy, but the paint itself does not move. These images, created by marks, are layered and juxtaposed. From a distance they seem almost photographic, and it is through a closer reading that they reveal themselves. The well-curated space allows for each to breathe and be in conversation with its companions. These paintings, which appear to encompass both the vast and the miniscule, remind me of the Powers of Ten film by Charles and Ray Eames, which also expresses an equivalence of the macro and micro. Are we looking at the cosmos or are we looking at particles so small, they are unavailable to the naked eye? Are we looking at ourselves?
The exhibit runs through December 28
Image: Rhonda Smith, Electron Madness lll Then and Now, Oil on panel, 46 x 76 inches, 2014.
Stacey Alickman’s paintings are all about the paint and the paint is alive. It is emphatic; it exceeds the boundary of its support. In fact there is a painting in the exhibit which has literally been shattered by design and has shed its frame. The paintings are filled with gesture; the paint swoops and flourishes, shimmies and shakes. It asserts itself. It announces itself with bravado. Each piece is a complete world; collectively the paintings create a universe, a universe that is emphatically hopeful, one filled with motion and connection. The artist invites the viewer to share in this exuberance and these worlds. She holds up a mirror and lets us in the door.
Stacey Alickman: Humpty Dumpty runs through December 28. Don’t miss this exhibit!
Image: Stacey Alickman, Lost Year, Oil on canvas. 48 x 42 inches, 2014.
Mary Lang’s recent photographs alert us to the world, or more precisely the world as perceived by the artist and mediated through the lens of her camera. She is bound to this world, these landscapes. We see as she does, places of great beauty, from a distance. They situate the viewer both in and out of the frame. They hold us and diminish us. That they are all digital prints (she notes her first such exhibition) is evident, but not essential to the way they are composed and presented. The images are idealized; a sense of yearning and a predominance of green are twinned throughout. In this moment in our culture of over-saturation of images, especially digital ones, Lang’s photographs invoke places out of time. The spaces are for the most part emptied out, even when there are figures or some evidence of a human presence. They alert us to stop and consider what we are seeing. They quietly say: Look. Look here. Look inward. See what’s there.
There will be a gallery talk on Saturday, November 29 at 4 pm. The exhibit runs through November 30. Don’t miss the show!
Image: Mary Lang, Clouds and mountains, Machu Picchu, Archival pigment print, 20×30 inches, 2013.
Joining Susan Alport is 2014 MFA/ Emerging Artist, Eugene LaRochelle, with his exhibit I Love You in the Center Gallery. As you follow the suite of silkscreen prints around the room, a crescendo builds with the repetition of the phrase “There are no gay people in Korea”. The text not only becomes image but also sound, a litany, a chorus, both inviting and implicating the viewer as she works her way around the gallery space. As it builds in density, the text becomes less clear but more implicit. The artist wants to have a dialogue with the viewer and for the work to engender that conversation.
LaRochelle invites the audience to see and hear his concerns about pain as a universal theme. He aims to create work that frames and provides a window into conversations on pain and conflict, allowing the observer to eavesdrop and gain an intimate, even invasive view of the private lives, quarrels and suffering of others.
This is the last week for the three October exhibits – work by Eugene LaRochelle, Susan Alport and Elif Soyer, which run through November 2.
Don’t miss these shows!
Image: Eugene LaRochelle, Denial #1, Silkscreen Print, 22 x 14.75 inches, 2014.