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A Varied And Rewarding Show

Hotchkiss was shrewd to open its new “Faculty Select” art exhibition on Oct. 15 as part of parents’ weekend. The school has an excellent visual art faculty that covers painting, ceramics, photography and digital drawing and animation; and their individual work can be impressive. Terri L. Moore has painted three large, abstract oils based on the notion of swarms — birds, bats, maybe insects. The canvases are heavily layered in black and shades of white, blue and gray. There is a sense of swirling motion in each picture. Hanging before the paintings is a large mobile of small black bats made from silk and wax and attached to a central wire frame with thread. The effect is charming rather than frightening. Charles D. Noyes, a well-known and locally appreciated watercolorist, is showing six pictures, all colorful, technically skilled and rather old-fashioned in their broad strokes and unnuanced colors. They are always beautifully composed. Best are an “Oratorio Clothesline” in Salerno, Italy, and a wonderful scene of ascending stairs in a shadowed garden at the famous Villa Cimbrone on the Amalfi Coast. Brad Faus works in encaustic (usually a process in which pigment is mixed with hot wax and painted on wood, tile or other hard surfaces) and mixed media that often involve frames or boxes of weathered, reclaimed wood encasing the painting itself. I especially like “Sea and Sky,” four small squares of wood painted in swirls of cloudy white, sky blue and a terrific turquoise. Even better is his “Hedgerow” series, in which delicate, bare tree branches are placed against blue, orange and peach skies and set off by the ubiquitous reclaimed wood to haunting effect. Faculty photographers represented are all women. Ann Villano’s digital inkjet prints include a picture of two “Sisters,” one asleep on the lap of the other, who is listening to her Ipod in the backseat of a car. Another shows a delighted blonde little boy admiring flowers in a garden. Best is an “Interior” shot, nicely composed of light streaming through French doors into a mostly dark, furnished room. Jennifer Capala’s images of empty institutional interiors are beautifully developed using a variety of traditional methods. A triptych of Van Dyke brown prints captures rooms and halls in an inhospitable, abandoned building that might have been a prison or an asylum. But a C-print of a long hallway of wood flooring and light spilling out of presumably empty rooms is all white and yellow and pale wood leading to a bright red door at the corridor’s end. Colleen MacMillan’s giclee prints — another type of inkjet process — show skill and sensitivity to outdoor composition. There are forests and seascapes with unusual natural formations. Best is a shot of an ascending path through a magnificent stand of ferns. Ceramics come from Delores Coan and Judith Crouch. Crouch’s are distinguished by her use of porcelain flax and steel wire to produce pieces — here a hearts series — that make grid-like forms light and airy. Coan’s work is heavier, produced by a variety of hand-shaped processes and fired in several, often primitive ways. A strange teapot has both a bent spout and a handle made from two pieces that meet, overlap and are pinched together above the middle of the pot. Another vessel has a collar of copper strips around its center opening and copper in its glaze. Finally, Greg and Sarah Anderson Lock bring the most contemporary, digital works to the show. Greg Lock shows “Barn Fold,” a medium-sized, gray wood barn with pieces deconstructing and flying away from one corner of the roof. It is a still for digital animation that, doubtless, depicts the complete deconstruction of the structure. Or its reconstruction, for that matter. Sarah Lock’s pieces include a digital animation on an Ipad — how with it can you be — and a dramatic, if somewhat obvious digital drawing of a bright red, imperfect circular blob surrounded by thick black line resting on two black legs. “Redhead,” it’s called. “Hotchkiss Faculty Select” continues at the school’s Tremaine Gallery through Dec. 10. 860-435-3663 or www.hotchkiss.org.

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