Review: Faculty and Student Synthesis Exhibit

October 7, 2013

Thanks to all of the faculty and students who are exhibiting in Synthesis, an exhibition of faculty and student work by members of the Montserrat and Endicott College communities. An opening this past Saturday afternoon drew a very large crowd and four works were purchased. The exhibit will be on display through Oct. 20 at 6 Wonson St., Rocky Neck, Gloucester. We hope you will have a chance to view it. Special thanks to Len Thomas-Vickory for his outstanding assistance coordinating the student work and to Karen Ristuben, who is teaching at Montserrat, is president of the cultural center, and who helped coordinate the entire program with several volunteers.

REVIEW: ‘Synthesis’ enthralls at Rocky Neck with work from Montserrat and Endicott”
By Keith Powers, Courtesy of Cape Ann Beacon, Oct. 6, 2013

With another exhibition that extends its artistic connections further afield, the Cultural Center at Rocky Neck hosts “Synthesis,” a group show featuring both students and faculty from Endicott College and Montserrat College of Art.

Works from more than a dozen artists fill both the upstairs and downstairs of the Cultural Center. Mainly painting and works on paper, the exhibition reveals not only the strong individual work happening here on the North Shore, but the collaborative strength that emerges when artists work together.

The students’ work, in the lower gallery, shows a range of technical virtuosity and imagination. Most striking, almost nightmarish, is a digital photograph, theatrically posed by Kaleigh Rusgrove from Endicott. Its subject: Ophelia, submerged in her suicide stream, but with eyes wide open, as if still searching for answers or explanations. The milky surface and crystal clear delineation of the photograph leave no detail imprecise, but her expression poses only questions — just as her death in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” does.

Montserrat student artist Ariel Durkee’s “Fennec Desert God,” a cleverly composed acrylic on paper, captures an alluring, mystical mood. (Visitors to Algeria might have encountered the ubiquitous fennec, a large eared but tiny desert fox.) The fennec appears in the background, a face peering through light. Hooded figures in the foreground either worship or look askance — or both — at the image.

Montserrat’s Emily Fung shows an abstract relief and monoprint, titled “Thanatos,” also smartly composed and suggestive. In all, about two dozen student works fill the downstairs.

Upstairs, the faculty work also shows a breadth of interests. Nine extremely fine ink-on-paper drawings by Fred Lynch, from the department of illustration at Montserrat, capture the visual simplicity and easy attraction of the village of Viterbo, Italy. Siena tinged, almost devoid of human presence, Lynch’s drawings unveil the Italian village in a way that immediately transforms it into a place of personal refuge and visual allure.

Carol Pelletier, chair of the fine arts department at Endicott, offers two oil and wax on bristol vellum abstract works, small quasi-landscapes, which have strong semantic appeal. Both “Hover” and “Seasmoke” make the viewer look for clues that offer more complete meaning, simply because of their compositional coherence.

Masako Kamiya, associate professor at Montserrat, may be familiar to those who visit Gallery Naga in the Back Bay. Her “Recollections,” a gouache on paper done in a style she calls “stalactite dots,” uses a carefully aggregated series of small circular paint drops, which she has built into an egg-like shape on a white background. The effect is tender and introspective, as delicate as air.

Ron DiRito, chair of the photography and video department at Montserrat, has one photographic image from his series “Light water, dirt air” that makes the viewer wish that the entire series were on display. He calls the method “pigment transpositions on paper of an electronic actinic recording, referencing original matter” — which also begs for further investigation.