John Mendelsohn: The Passing Paintings
December 2, 2014 - February 27, 2015
New York-based artist John Mendelsohn is best known for his remarkable work with color and pattern. This exhibition features 48 paintings from Passing, a cycle of paintings created by the artist during a 12-month period from 2010 to 2011. The cycle is comprised of five series of paintings -- titled Turbulence, Crosswalk, Vanishing, Flayed, and Paradise -- and while each series has its own character, each is also involved in states of change. The artist has written about these works that “Instability and dissolution appear in many forms; absence and presence are in continual dialogue. The paint itself is treated physically: combed, marbleized, wiped off, and scraped away. As the paintings break down, they open up, revealing the surface and space beyond.” The entire Passing cycle may be viewed online here. Mendelsohn’s work in the Walsh Gallery will be complemented by eight more of his works, including a selection from the Six Movement series, which are on view in the lobby of the Quick Center for the Arts, adjacent to the gallery.
An opening reception, free and open to the public, takes place on Tuesday, December 2, 2014, from 5-7 p.m.
Ghosts in the Landscape: Vietnam Revisited
March 26–June 6, 2015
Over a four-year period beginning in 1995, photographer Craig J. Barber, ex-combat Marine, returned to Vietnam to traverse many of his former military routes, making images with an 8x10-inch pinhole camera. In part a cathartic exercise, and a need to satisfy his curiosity about what had become of this once war-torn country, Barber created a series of 46 diptych and triptych panorama platinum images that capture the serene beauty of the country and, at times for him, the all-too-memorable landscapes. The tonality of the platinum process produces images with stunningly rich blacks and a full spectrum of delicately nuanced shades of gray.
The images Barber has captured are not documentary images. The minutes-long exposure required to record pinhole images produce blurring in anything that was in motion during the exposure. This sense of movement contributes to both a sense of mystery and a dreamlike, introspective quality. One critic wrote: "The blur in the images, here seen in diptychs or triptychs as when the soldier Barber was looking to left and right -- for a movement, a muzzle flash -- now takes on a new meaning in the civilian Barber's eyes...[and] completely capture the haunting power of wartime memory and trauma." Yet these images do convey beauty and peace. As we take note this spring of the 40th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon and the end of the Vietnam War, the audience may find comfort, as does Craig Barber, in seeing Vietnam in a different light.
Opening Reception, Thursday, March 26, 2015, 6–8 p.m.
DANCE: Marc Mellon, Jane Sutherland, Philip Trager
September 17, 2015–January 15, 2016
For more than five millennia, visual artists have been drawn to dance as a subject for their art-making. The ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans all immortalized dancers – and their dances – in a range of media, including murals, vase decorations, cameos, and coins. Christian art, too, exhibited a marked fascination with the Bible’s most infamous dancer, Salome, whose mesmerizing movements induced Herod to decapitate John the Baptist at her request. The reason for this magnetic pull is obvious: dance is expressive, evocative, and erotic. Through dance, stories are told and histories rendered tangible. It captivates the human spirit and, despite its extreme physicality, transports us to a plane of existence that transcends the body; precisely the same effect that sculpture, painting, and photography can produce. This stunning exhibition examines the rich relationship between these “sister arts” through the eyes of three gifted practitioners: sculptor Marc Mellon, painter Jane Sutherland, and photographer Philip Trager. Each of these artists has had a distinguished career, with numerous notable exhibitions across the country and artworks held in public as well as private collections, both in the U.S. and abroad. Though their expressive “languages” may differ, they all bring a keen eye, cutting intellect, and talented hand to their oeuvres, creating visual tours de force for their audiences to enjoy. Visitors to this show will relish a unique opportunity to see Mellon’s classically inspired life-size bronze sculptures of dancers juxtaposed with Sutherland’s intriguing Little Dancer paintings; a series directly inspired by Edgar Degas’s great work of this same name. Trager’s silver gelatin and platinum prints of athletic dancers – whether airborne or with bodies quieted into astoundingly expressive postures – rounds out this phenomenal triumvirate, whose work delights the eye as much as it does the mind and the spirit.
A program of contemporary dance at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts, is being planned to complement this exhibition.