FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 30, 2019
Contact: Tamar Russell Brown, Gallery Sitka — 978.425.6290
Painter Susan Wadsworth to Show Pastels in “Mother’s Nature”
at the Jaffrey Civic Center, starting October 18
Artist Susan Wadsworth of Rindge, N.H., will exhibit a variety of landscapes at the Jaffrey Civic Center (JCC) in Jaffrey. The opening is set for 5:30 – 7:30 p.m., on Friday, Oct. 18. The work includes “childscapes” as well as Asian-influenced “kanji landscapes” in ink and pastel. Also featured are landscapes of locales Ms. Wadsworth has seen in her recent travels in New England and beyond.
Aiming to extend the reach of her work to other mothers and families, Wadsworth will have the visual arts embellished by poems written and read by area poets — Deni Dickler, Kim Peavey, Jessica Purdy, Katharine Covino, and Joyce Ayadi Hinckley. Two poems by the late poet Edward Hyland will be read by his daughter, Emilee.
What is a “childscape”? These are works from the artist’s point of view, with nursing children cuddled closely, sometimes with siblings gathered on the bed or in a bathtub. Traditionally, most images of mothers were created from a distance, with the mother and child copied by an aloof artist. Wadsworth emphasizes the mother’s point of view. In her nursing images, you might spy a breast off to one side, clearly belonging to the artist herself, with the child extended in the opposite direction. In the past and nowadays, mothers as subjects in art have often been surrounded by their children, their lives determined by the chores and tasks necessary to raise their families — everything from baths to dinner to reading before bed. Wadsworth’s early works depict just such experiences. Sometimes the works appear to be completely abstract, but if you look carefully, little arms and legs emerge, and her large legs often tower like mountains.
After Wadsworth’s children grew up, she explored beyond her accustomed scope of vision. She returned to painting abstracted local and foreign landscapes, traveling extensively in Italy, Spain, France and England. Her views of Mt. Monadnock were included in the recent “Celebrating Monadnock” exhibition at the JCC in August. One might get the impression that her pastels were easy to execute, but in fact it takes many layers of differently colored pastels in simplified forms to capture the essence of these scenes. Influences from Milton Avery to Georgia O’Keeffe and Arthur Dove can be seen in these pictures.
After recent trips to Japan and China, Wadsworth began adding Asian lines and textures in ink to the pastels. Some of these “kanji landscapes” include Asian calligraphy within the New Hampshire landscape. Looking at the white pines that often stand above the local hills, one can see how these are almost akin to Asian figures in calligraphy. Wadsworth has developed that idea with specific kanji characters for our words “eternity,” “peace,” “mountain,” “transform,” “transcend,” and others interspersed within the works.
Wadsworth’s studio will also be open over Columbus Day weekend (Oct. 12 – 14), prior to the exhibition in Jaffrey. New England art lovers will want to check out http://www.fallfoliageartstudiotour.com/Home.html or look for the Fall Foliage Art Studio Tour (FFAST) brochures.
There will also be an illustrated catalog of Wadsworth’s work available for perusal, with all those works available for sale. The show will be up through Friday, Nov. 15. The Jaffrey Civic Center, 40 Main Street, Jaffrey, N.H., is open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed 12 – 1 p.m. for lunch).
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