Student Show, 2015
April 23 - June 30
Reception: April 23, 3:30-5:00
This spring’s Student Show is a fresh mix of artistic approaches that explore a range of subjects and techniques. Students include art and design majors as well as students from several other disciplines. Many students are new to art while others have been making art for a long time.
The encouragement in Fine Arts and Design courses is toward invention while engaging in the acquisition of new skills and critical awareness. Included below are a few samples from the exhibition along with the encouragement to visit the McCoy Gallery for the total experience. A number of the works in the show will be added to the growing Merrimack College Student Art Collection.
Carey Wells-Jowers’ split abstract imagery glows with color in a tangled growth of vegetation. Jeff Lopilato’s drawing of a hooded figure suggests a dark narrative, while Kole Oullette’s translucent birch trees offer a spirited merger of organic form with a rhythmic color field.
Graphic designer Reem Al Sanea’s magazine covers are a sophisticated exploration of making clear communicative art in the context of publishing, and in another direction of publishing Rachel Muller’s take on the fable of the Scorpion and the Frog blends expressive humor and palpable fear.
Cody Gamache’s verticle barred abstraction joins a rigorous sense of order to a generously hued energy that broils beneath its dark surface.
Looking like the sea as well as like something one might find along the shore, Sasha Latourneau’s big blue, shaped painting derives its patterns form the plywood panel on which it was painted, suggesting that material itself can become an idea.
“My Girlfriend” by Yiren Song gently describes the basic and long-lived theme in art about the power of human connection.
Free Fall, 1000 Drawings
March 19 - April 15, 2015
Reception: Sunday, March 22, 3:00 - 5:00pm
While undergoing a routine surgical procedure in July, 2011, Gayle Caruso’s heart stopped and she experienced a sensation of falling, followed by seeing a very bright light. The 1000 artworks in her exhibition Free Fall were provoked by this incident.
Nine hundred of the drawings each contain an inverted or upside down figure situated in a specific visual context. The figure lends a degree of regularity, a constant ‘self’ to the variety of artistic spaces that make up the series, These spaces suggest the atmospheres through which ‘falling’ occurs. They are spaces and conditions of transition. One hundred of the drawings are without the figure—they are versions of the bright light.
Perhaps Caruso’s work is a cathartic reviewing of her experience or an attempt in variations to discover meaning. For the viewer the pieces may suggest something about their own vision of themselves set free, untethered, in movement to something unknown, perhaps bright.
Scott Schnepf - Prints: 1992-2015
January 24 - March 4, 2015
Reception: Sunday, February 22 - 3:00-5:00*
*this is a weather related date change from Feb 15.
Scott Schnepf’s prints continue a tradition of arranging of objects as an expressive visual practice that had become prominent in late sixteenth century European art. Still life subjects as parts of figure paintings can be traced back to ancient Egyptian tomb decoration and Greek and Roman art. This kind of imagery had, since the Middle Ages, been in the service of religious symbolism and moral ‘teaching.’ A later tradition called ‘vanitas’ pictures often contain skulls, which were meant as reminders of the impermanence of life. In the Netherlands flower paintings were popular testaments to beauty itself and, particularly in the case of tulips, to a major economic aspect of Dutch trade.
Schnepf adds contemporary objects to the typical ingredients found in the tradition, veering away from a more historical program of expected references and conventions.
His work is personal and quietly in our own time —note Golf Ball and the banded lobster claws in Fish. Selected from the artist’s storehouse of his own memories and associations, the objects depicted in his engravings, etchings and woodcuts are also the elements of a formal language. His approach to these elements may be understood as a steady exploration of finding coherence in the real world. This idea of discovering shared properties, or a joinery of visual connections, is at the heart of his image making.
Work by Sara Egan interpreted by Merrimack College Art Students
December 4, 2014 through January 21, 2015
Reception: Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014, 5 - 7pm
Working with students in Basic Design and Basic Painting, Sara Egan produced an installation of large abstract paintings that merged into an environment of color, pattern and gesture.
Inspired by artists like Cy Twombly and Bridget Riley
and encouraged to use such imagery in their own way, students worked as a team of artists forming new relationships with one another and with art itself.
Egan teaches Design, Drawing, Painting and Foundations of Visual Art in the Visual and Performing Arts Department at Merrimack College. More of her work can be seen at www.saraegan.com
Private Lives // Public Facades
October 10 - November 12, 2014
Reception: Sun., Oct. 26, 3 - 5pm
Gallery Talk: Wed. Oct. 29, 2 - 3pm
Pennie Brantley’s paintings are encounters with place and time. What may seem at first to be fond celebrations of old Europe, Brantley’s images slowly reveal themselves as more spirited and, indeed, spiritual evocations of human presence as witnessed in the built environment.
The compositions contain no human beings, but their depicted architectural artifacts feel quietly populated by the humanity from which they originated. In a sense they are haunted images—not by ghosts so much as by a sense of preoccupation with emotional memory—as both distant and recent pasts continue to linger in the worn edges of steps and walls and shadowed doorways.
In effect Brantley paints a sensory recognition of how human beings impart their existence to things even though that existence is not directly witnessed. Consciously cultures have tried to secure the preservation of memories in marked graves and tombs and monuments as well as in documents, stories and tales, even in the naming of those who follow after. It is these less memorially deliberate structures that Brantley finds her connections with the “lineage of humans we can no longer see physically.” The humanity discovered there is understood in terms of a bond for making and using spaces—spaces that direct the eyes, the feet, the hands. We ‘see’, ‘reach’ and ‘touch’ that which for so long and so often has been known by other persons.
September 1 - October 7, 2014
Reception: Thursday, September 4, 3:00 - 5:00pm
Working on the coast of New England and recently the Pacific Northwest, Alan Rushing brings a painterly vision to the life, light and color of seacoast towns, harbors and boats. His painting language is raw and spontaneous and always revealing of layerings of visual thinking and material handling.
Painting outdoors in the environments that he portrays, Rushing’s paintings blend thick and thin surfaces and convey an experimental methodology that is open to accident and not bound to a restrictive requirement for a ‘fine’ finish.