Live Free or Die: Art is Expression | 31st Annual Omer T. Lassonde Open Juried Exhibition | Main Gallery
About: Artwork, whether playful, political, representational, abstract, big or small, is an essential form of expression that is encapsulated in the New Hampshire state motto. What does it mean to ‘Live Free or Die’ in 2017 in New Hampshire, in the United States, in the world? Does it mean the freedom to expressively move paint across a canvas? Or the freedom to capture your vision through the camera lens or molded clay?
“No other state motto has captured the popular imagination like New Hampshire’s. The bold, assertive phrase that greets you the minute you cross the border into New Hampshire can be found emblazoned on everything from license plates to pint glasses and has inspired the titles of countless books, films, advertising slogans, and even an episode of The Sopranos. This exhibition seeks works of art across all media that engage with and interpret this iconic phrase within the context of our contemporary moment. “-Gordon Dearborn Wilkins
JUROR: Gordon Dearborn Wilkins joined the Peabody Essex Museum as an Assistant Curator for Exhibitions and Research in 2015. Wilkins received his BA in Art History summa cum laude from Hamilton College, writing his senior thesis on Marsden Hartley and the marketing of Maine. He earned his MA in Art History from the University of Chicago, where his thesis examined the construction of a Maine folk in fine and vernacular art during the 1930s. He has worked as a Curatorial Research Assistant at the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine, as well as a Curatorial/Registration Department Intern at the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute Museum of Art. He has also been a visiting student at the Ecole du Louvre in Paris as well as an intern at the Mona Bismarck American Center for Art and Culture in Paris, where he worked on a major Wyeth Family exhibition.
At PEM Wilkins works primarily with the museum’s extensive collection of photography and has served on the curatorial team responsible for a variety of special exhibitions including Asia in Amsterdam: The Culture of Luxury in the Golden Age, Rodin: Transforming Sculpture, and Samuel F. B. Morse’s Gallery of the Louvre and the Art of Invention, which Wilkins co-organized. Wilkins is currently working on an upcoming international retrospective of the work of the contemporary American photography Sally Mann as well as a major exhibition that will examine the role of the bed in American art.
OMER T. LASSONDE: Each year the NHAA hosts a juried exhibition in honor of founding member, Omer T. Lassonde who “as Administrator of the WPA Federal Arts Project in his native New Hampshire … in 1940 helped found the New Hampshire Art Association to exhibit and further the work of contemporary artists throughout the state [arranging] exhibitions of art across New Hampshire. Lasssonde was a modernist painting known for his spirited landscapes and expressive use of bold color. Born in Concord of French-Canadian stock, Omer Thomas Lassonde (1903-1980) was schooled at Manchester and Philadelphia, while painting at Monhegan and Gloucester with some of the great colorists of the 1920s. No matter what style he later adopted, Lassonde remained a committed colorist throughout his career. He studied at the Philadelphia Academy of the Fine Arts and the Hugh Breckinridge School of Color, East Gloucester, MA. Originally expecting to become a portraitist, one of his subjects, New Hampshire Governor John G. Winant, suggested he go to the South Pacific like Gauguin to paint. Indeed, Lassonde is most famous for the year he spent painting the landscape and native life of West Samoa in 1930… In 1947 Bradlee, later editor of The Washington Post, claimed that he had ‘done more than any man living to put New Hampshire on the map artistically.’ As a tribute to his artistic legacy, his widow donated the Boscawen house and his many paintings to the New Hampshire Art Association after his death in 1980.” –Fosters March 10, 2013
Color – Translucent and Opaque | Joe Flaherty & Gail Kushner | East Gallery
Two artists bring their individual notions and techniques to the use of color in works of art, one in stained glass the other in oil paint.
Artists Gail Walsh Kushner of Milton, NH and Joe Flaherty of Portsmouth, NH offer viewers a kaleidoscope of color in their disparate disciplines. Both Gail and Joe consider color of paramount importance, although neither artist sacrifices contour and texture in the resulting works.
Gail Kushner’s work is primarily focused on nature with an emphasis on movement by using diverse textures and patterns to illustrate animals and vegetation changing in nature’s cycles. When working, Kushner says, “I like to have the colors and texture of the glass dictate how the elements should fit together. I add bits of sea glass, shells, nuggets, or rocks to make pieces more interesting.”
“I place simplified but recognizable objects on a picture plane, balancing the size and contour of the shapes,” says Flaherty. “Then I paint each object and shape with an approximation of the colors, contours and textures I see in my mind’s eye. I make repeated adjustments aiming toward gladdening the eye and stimulating the mind before I declare a piece complete.”
Seacoast Seen | The Art of Recovery | South Gallery
Founded in 1963 to address the mental health care needs of the New Hampshire Seacoast, Seacoast Mental Health Center (SMHC) is one of ten non-profit state-designated community mental health centers (CMHCs) in New Hampshire. As a CMHC, we provide evaluations and treatment services to children, adolescents and families, adults, and the elderly who reside in our catchment area regardless of their ability to pay. We accept most major insurances and offer a sliding fee scale for uninsured consumers living in the eastern half of Rockingham County.
The mission of Seacoast Mental Health Center is to provide a broad, comprehensive array of high quality, effective and accessible mental health services to residents of the eastern half of Rockingham County.
Emergency services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week 365 days a year to individuals in crisis, including assessment, crisis intervention and stabilization services on an outpatient basis.
Experienced and highly qualified professionals trained in psychiatry, psychology, mental health and substance misuse counseling, and clinical social work.
Last year we served nearly 5300 children, adolescents, adults, and their families.
Art of Recovery provides our clients the opportunity to work as equal partners with professional artists to create original works of art.
Art of Recovery’s purpose is twofold fold:
Raise critically needed funds to support services for both children and adults with severe mental illness and emotional disorders and limited financial resources. The funds raised are a combination the proceeds from silent art auction of the team’s artwork, the live auction of artwork donated by other professional artists in our community, the generosity of our many corporate partners and those who attend the event.
Reduce the stigma associated with mental illness by providing our clients an opportunity to display their talents and to grow as individuals and as artists.
The culmination their year’s work will be celebrated at the Art of Recovery ‘Seacoast Seen’ Auction to be held on June 1, 2017 at the Atlantic Grill in Rye, NH..
The Art of Recovery is so much more than just the art and the celebration event. It is about the incredible journey of recovery our participants enjoy. Each piece of art has its own story.
“My art helps me make a powerful statement about someone coping through a struggle”
“Using happy colors helps me to enter a different place every time I paint.”
“I discovered that art is ‘not black and white’ and that I had to learn to go with the flow.”
“I can share my journey of life including growth, frustration, and one’s most inner thoughts.”
‘Art is calming, meditative, accessible, and it heals.”
“I learned how to have a working relationship in partnering to do art.”
“I have learned to take the time to work on the compositions of my photographs, rather than just capturing what I initially see.”
“Returning to a dormant passion for photography has helped me step beyond the confines of my depression, and has opened my eyes to the world and people around me. It has intensified my ability to look beyond the black and white ‘confines’ of my life and embrace the color of life.”
This “Seacoast Seen” exhibit is only a sample of the talent of the participants!