Jaffrey Civic Center hosts figure-drawing show

  • ”Hurried Child,” an oil painting by Sally Keller of Jaffrey. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI—

  • ”Black Mask,” an ink drawing by Barbara Jo Kingsley. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI—

  • ”A Quiet Moment,” a white-line woodcut by Amy McGregor-Radin of Jaffrey. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI—

  • ”Protest,” an acrylic-on-canvas piece by Marcy Pope of Francestown, is one of the figure drawings on display at the Jaffrey Civic Center for its“Go Figure” show, on exhibit through Oct. 29. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI—

  • ”Solicitious,” an acrylic-on-paper piece by Marcy Pope of Francestown. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 9/21/2022 1:04:18 PM
Modified: 9/21/2022 1:04:02 PM

The Jaffrey Civic Center is turning the lens on the human form in a new show featuring only figure drawings.

With the theme of “people are inspiring,” the new exhibit, titled “Go Figure,” includes work from 35 artists. Like many of the civic center’s shows, the exhibit features a variety of mediums, and stretches the theme well beyond portraiture. Included in the exhibit are drawings, paintings, mixed-media works, sculptures and photography, all inspired by the human form.

“On a personal note, I’m a figurative artist and I love figurative work, so this is really exciting for me, and I think the thing that’s the most unique about this is that the interpretations on the human figure range from close to nonobjective to really, highly realistic. I think it’s exciting to see this amount of interpretations of the figure in one show,” said Executive Director Rebecca Fredrickson.

The show is juried by Joan Hanley, who was invited to assist with the show after Fredrickson saw her figurative work in the Women’s Caucus for the Arts exhibit.

“She brings so much enthusiasm, knowledge and experience to the role. She has done a fantastic job selecting and organizing the works in this exhibit,” Fredrickson said.

Edith Tuttle of Dublin submitted a nude self-portrait, featuring a view of her back as she looks out her window at a view of Mount Monadnock. She did the painting using a photograph her husband took of her one morning years ago.

“The subject of female nudes is a classic as you go through the history of art, but it’s funny to see people’s reactions to it – they can be rather prudish,” said Tuttle with a laugh. But women, particularly, seem to respond to the piece. One woman commented to her that she looked strong and grounded, “with nothing come-hither about her,” and another saw herself.

“Women get it, and can relate to it,” Tuttle said.

While Tuttle paints a range of subjects, she enjoys portraiture work.

“People are fascinating. It’s our species, and there’s something about drawing a person,” Tuttle said. “Whenever I draw or paint a person, I’m looking for something quintessentially them to preserve on canvas. The fundamental things – the beauty of curves on a woman, or the strength of the lines of musculature on a man. It’s really a celebration of human bodies.”

Jane Simpson of Dublin submitted a collage, named “In and Out of the Garden,” using cyanotype, cotton and silk thread and vintage wallpaper.

The piece is, in part, a memorial to a friend, Simpson said. She used some materials from her studio, and the floral theme of the piece calls back to her friend’s avid hobby as a gardener. Simpson said the floral motif made it a fitting tribute.

“Even though the wallpaper and photos were older than my friend, there was this continuity of florals and gardening, and it created a nice connection and marriage of elements,” she said. “It was especially appropriate, because her spirit really does live on in her garden.”

Simpson often works with old photographs, and said she particularly enjoys working with ones that are hazy or out-of-focus.

“I’m totally drawn into the mysteriousness of them,” Simpson said. “They capture my imagination. Who was the person? What was the significance of that day? I wonder who they are and what their life is like.”

The less clear the image, the easier it is to put those feelings into them, Simpson said.

Fredrickson also has a piece in the show, an oil painting featuring her daughter, viewed from behind, in the backyard of their former home.

“I tend to paint a lot of people from the back. I’ve come to think it gives a sense of mystery, or that people can identify more with it, because it could be anyone standing there,” Fredrickson said. “There’s enough there to give you some information, but it also leaves enough to let the viewer put their own framework and their own story on what they’re seeing.”

Some pieces come with a story already attached. Woodcut artist Amy McGregor-Radin of Jaffrey submitted a white-line woodcut titled “A Quiet Moment,” featuring a woman in an armchair, reading a book. The piece captured a specific moment in time, McGregor-Radin said, of when she and a friend were visiting the Boston Athenaeum, one of the oldest libraries in the country. 

“She was sitting quietly, looking at some of their beautiful books. It was such a nice day and a beautiful place that I had never visited, and something struck me about the curve of the chair, and the angle of the book,” McGregor-Radin said.

McGregor-Radin said people sometimes feature in her work, but rarely as a focus, because the nature of woodcutting doesn’t lend itself to the kind of precise work often needed in portraiture, but said this piece seemed fitting for a show on the human form.

The show opened on Sept. 17 and runs through Oct. 29. The Jaffrey Civic Center is open Wednesdays through Fridays, noon to 5 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There is no admittance fee.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 603-924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.

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