Two Exhibitions | Louise Hamlin and Justin O’Rourke

Two Exhibitions | Louise Hamlin and Justin O’Rourke

Charcoal Drawings and Iron Forged Steel

Two Exhibitions:

Louise Hamlin | Milkweed,  E.N. Wennberg Gallery. Artist Talk: Friday, March 22, 5:30-6:30

Justin O’Rourke | A Matter of Time, Elizabeth Rowland Mayor Gallery

February 23-March 30, 2024 | Opening Reception: Friday, February 23, 5-7 PM

Louise Hamlin | Milkweed

Louise Hamlin works in series, which can be rooted in a specific place (such as a city or a stream bed), condition (such as mist or nightfall), or form (such as plant structure). Each series reveals itself over many years. She is engaged in the process of looking and being continually amazed at discoveries; direct observation allows the subject to reveal itself in different ways over time, as does the use of various art materials. Some images are drawn or painted from observation (often on-site outdoors) as the basis for subsequent hand-pulled prints made in the studio. Hamlin’s new work is inspired by her fascination with various aspects of the native milkweed found in local fields and gardens. She’s been delighted with the exploration that drawing provides because of its ability to combine different aspects of these remarkable objects and to play with the elements of abstraction and metaphor that they suggest. Many of the surfaces and forms in her drawings are created through erasure—the process reminiscent of the shiveringly small gap between presence and absence and, on a larger scale, between existence and extinction. Each new drawing is a surprise, and Hamlin’s interest in her subject matter is enduring, driven by a curiosity to see what will unfold.

Justin O’Rourke | A Matter of Time

Justin O’Rourke’s understanding of the world around him is discovered through questions: How did this get here? Where did it come from?  How was it made?  What was it used for? What were the specific series of events that led to this thing, this gorge, this rock, this tree, this nut, this twisted piece of metal– to becoming exactly how it is right now? O’Rourke is constantly besieged by wonderment and curiosity, as all things ordinary become extraordinary. Randomly discovered objects and landscapes are source material; a steel and block ruin or a natural rock formation are puzzles waiting to be solved and histories pleading to be revealed.  His practice draws upon inspiration from childhood experiences exploring the industrial ruins of West Rutland, Vermont, and adventures as a hydroelectric mechanic. These, along with observations of nature and a playful imaginative vision, are the foundation for his unique voice.  O’Rourke manipulates and varies scale, an intentional device used to incite viewer response. Steel sculptures and charcoal and ink object-based drawings are oversized to encompass the viewer or small and intimate to draw someone closer.

Louise Hamlin | Biography

Louise Hamlin studied art at UPenn, Skowhegan, and the New York Studio School.  While commuting out of Manhattan to teach at various colleges, she returned home to make on-site paintings of the city at night and learn various aspects of printmaking.  She has received awards from the Ingram Merrill Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Mellon Foundation, and the Vermont Council on the Arts, and was awarded residency at the Djerassi Foundation.  She has written numerous art reviews and provided cover art for many books and literary magazines.  She worked with Coffee House Press to produce a limited edition of hand-printed poems by 15 poets, each accompanied by an etching of hers.  She and videographer Michael Sacca collaborated on the printmaking film “Ink Across Time”, which won a Circle of Excellence Gold Medal from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education.  In 1990, she joined the Dartmouth Studio Art faculty and over the years taught painting, drawing, design, printmaking, freshman and senior seminars, and figure drawing.  She was a Department Chair, Area Head of Printmaking, faculty advisor to the Book Arts Workshop, and designed the printmaking studio for the new Visual Arts building.  Her work has shifted subject matter to address different aspects of her surroundings, which are often explored in both painting and printmaking.  She shows regularly in group and solo exhibitions across the country, most recently at Dartmouth’s Hood Museum of Art, and is included in many public and private collections. The catalog for In the Moment, her 2022 solo exhibition at the Hood Museum of Art, is available through Amazon. Now a professor emerita of the Department of Studio Art at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH, she works from her studio in Norwich, Vermont.

Justin O’Rourke| Biography

After graduating from Dartmouth College, he traveled throughout the Northeast working as a hydroelectric mechanic and welder. O’Rourke has participated in exhibitions throughout the Northeast including at the Salem Art Works in Salem NY, FLYNNDOG in Burlington, VT; Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH; Southern Vermont Arts Center in Manchester, VT; and The Carving Studio and Sculpture Center in West Rutland, VT. He currently has a public art piece, titled Steel Umbrella, on view at the Mascoma Valley Greenway in Lebanon, NH. Justin O’Rourke is a native of West Rutland, Vermont. He currently lives and works in Salem, NY.

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