Bess French, Aggregate, Rebecca Lawrence Gallery; 2022 Juried Exhibition Winners: Travis Paige, A Sense of Place, E.N. Wennberg Gallery; Anne Cogbill Rose, True Colors, Clifford B. West Gallery; Ann Saunderson, What if…?, Elizabeth Rowland Mayor Gallery. Exhibitions are on view June 16-July 14, with an opening reception on Friday, June 16, 5-7pm.
Bess French | Aggregate | Rebecca Lawrence Gallery. We all have common, universal memories of childhood: where we lived, played, explored, and grew. These memories connect us in various ways to the places that we called “home” and where we experienced various types of “lived space”. Empty houses have always held a special intrigue for French, who lived there, what occurred in these dwelling spaces, what stories do these places hold? In this new body of work, French invites viewers to engage with various concrete forms created by hand mixing and forming concrete using recycled molds. The rough, unique mixtures of aggregate are a testament to the solid foundation beneath all of us, even when things feel unsure or unsteady—a core sample of earth from where we live, the bedrock that supports us. French employs concrete as the base for miniature 1:160th scale environments. After creating a solid foundation out of differing types of concrete, various intricate landscapes emerge, creating narratives around home and a sense of place in the New England landscape. This collection of concrete sculptures creates a space where viewers can explore their own memories and connections to the places they call home. French works with traditional model making supplies, found objects and natural materials to create captivating landscapes and abstract concrete sculptures. By highlighting the beauty and complexity of the New England landscape, this work encourages a deeper appreciation for the spaces that shape our lives and our memories. Whether we are reflecting on our childhood homes or exploring new locations, there is power in the connection between memory and place.
2022 Juried Winners
Travis Paige | A Sense of Place | E.N. Wennberg Gallery. Why do we take pictures? Images can represent many things, a moment in time, a feeling, an idea, or a message, but for Paige, they primarily represent a sensory moment. The camera is the instrument that can capture the deep connection, mystery, and attachment to a specific place. It can be the physical geography, history, natural surroundings, or a favorite place visited only once. These places and spaces are ever-changing and evolving. The challenge of photography is in grabbing the essence of a scene; selecting elements; and using available light, color, details, and texture to create an impression. This exhibition of photographs illustrates the artist’s travels through life and represents a documentation of his collected memories. “Ultimately, I hope my photography provides a visual narrative that can transport you to a new place and evoke emotions and experiences tied to my photo journey.” –Travis Paige
Anne Cogbill Rose | True Colors | Clifford B. West Gallery. This exhibition includes paintings made during the past year. All are portraits of family members, friends, and a few public figures. Each painting depicts a subject in their “true colors” as she sees them, striving to capture a moment in their expression or gesture of truth that she finds interesting and deserving to paint. These are non-traditional portraits and do not flatter the subjects; she is not interested in a portrayal of beauty. Her portraits are rich in meaning and spirit and offer something intangible, an essential goal for her. The large scale of the paintings allows for large areas of flat color and a feeling of intimacy between the viewer and the work. Color choices hold value for the artist and are selected for meaning, for example, turquoise stands for protection, truth, and courage. The shapes and color fields– uniquely mixed with meticulous discernment, remain plain without decoration or too much texture, nothing that might distract from the content. Meaning is left up to the viewer to unravel.
Ann Saunderson | What if…?| Elizabeth Rowland Mayor Gallery. Saunderson marvels at writers as they describe their characters taking on a life of their own and how they remain unclear about where a story is going until the characters lead them to it. She feels the same about creating art commenting, “It’s a crapshoot. What if this? What if that? Much of the time it sucks, a slog through mud. But the days when it ‘happens’ are spectacular.” Her practice is illuminated by thinking about the planet and how living in the world can feel like a precarious balance. She views her challenge as expressing and restoring that balance with paint. Daily trips to the studio are informed around the question, “What if…? What if I sit in the sun for a bit and ponder the work around me? What if I put cheesecloth over that section that isn’t working? What if I tear this collage into pieces and put the untorn edges together?” For Saunderson, process is paramount; planning is thrown out the window. For her having no clear intention allows for creativity to flow. “Curiosity keeps me afloat.”
Bess French is a sculptural artist who finds inspiration in the natural world and found objects. Bess exhibits nationally, including exhibitions at Art Queen Gallery in Joshua Tree, CA; Stay Home Gallery in Paris, TN; and Sculpture Alliance’s international juried exhibition Detritus based in NYC. She has had solo shows of her assemblage work at Nazareth College, Colby Sawyer College, and The Robert Lincoln Levy Gallery in Portsmouth, NH. Her assemblage sculptures were selected as part of the Women’s Caucus for Art, Washington, DC Chapter’s juried Social Justice Art Exhibition, See My Color. Bess is a juried member of the New Hampshire Art Association, The New England Sculptors Association, and the Women’s Caucus for Art. She received a BA in Studio Art from the University of New Hampshire and an M.Ed. from Antioch University. In addition to her career as a professional artist, Bess has dedicated the past twenty years to teaching high school art, where she has developed engaging curricula, programs, and facilities for students in ceramics, sculpture, and glass. She currently serves as the art educator at Mascoma High School in Canaan, NH and lives in Weathersfield, VT. Discover more of Bess’s artwork at bessfrench.com or by visiting her Instagram page at https://www.instagram.com/bess_french/.
Travis Paige grew up in Claremont, NH, and as a kid, loved drawing and anything to do with the outdoors. As a young adult, he settled down in Lebanon, NH. He picked up photography after the arrival of his first child when he purchased his first professional camera. His interest in photography grew with the digital age after his wife gave him his first DSLR (Digital) camera for their 25th wedding anniversary. With ten years behind his camera, his work has been shown in venues and publications around the Upper Valley, including the AVA Gallery. When he is not behind the camera, he enjoys time with the family, and stays active by mountain biking, playing golf, and hiking. Travis Paige is the Communication Coordinator at AVA Gallery and Art Center. To view more of Travis Paige photography, https://www.travispaigephotography.com/
Anne Cogbill Rose was born in Pittsfield, MA. She attended Miss Hall’s School where she was lucky enough to find an art teacher, Miss Gatchell, who gave her enough encouragement and inspiration to last through today. She attended George Washington University in Washington, D.C., majoring in Design and Painting at the Corcoran School of Art. Her former painting professor, Thomas Downing, painted large striped paintings. In remembering his work, she recognizes its lasting influence, which developed her awareness of color theory and fascination with the interaction between colors. Her style in painting is unique; compositions are characteristically designed with close attention to body language– hands, feet, and personal objects, with some elements distorted. The scale of the work is purposefully used to convey a feeling of intimacy. Anne Cogbill Rose winters in Merida, Mexico, but her primary home is in North Thetford, VT, a summer farm growing sheep, chickens, and gardens. To view more of Anne Cogbill Rose paintings, https://www.annecogbillrose.com
Ann Saunderson was raised in Lexington, MA in a community of artists, dancers, architects (and a couple of Nobel Prize winners). It was fertile ground and the basis for her life. She graduated from Rhode Island School of Design in 1966, and then spent several years in Haight-Ashbury before moving to Loudon, NH, where she’s lived since. In her career, Saunderson has taught primarily at two tiny private schools and feels that teaching is a “calling” rather than a job. She maintained her art-making practice over the years, though at times she had little time in the studio. Her opportunities to exhibit tended to be at local galleries and organizations such as New Hampshire Art Association, New Hampshire Institute of Art, McGowan Fine Arts, Kimball Jenkins, Franklin Pierce College, and Plymouth State College, among others. After retiring from teaching in 2011, Saunderson began to paint full time, racing ahead to make up for lost years. She exhibits work consistently in juried group shows. What if…? Is her first solo exhibition since the 1990s. Visit Ann’s Instagram page here, ann.saunderson
The exhibitions will be on view June 16 – July 14, 2023, with an opening reception on Friday, June 16, 5-7pm.
Please join us on Friday, June 23, 5:30-6:30 pm in the Clifford B. West Gallery for an informal discussion with the 2022 Juried Winners: Travis Paige, Anne Cogbill Rose, and Ann Saunderson.
Exhibitions and all related events are free and open to the public.