Friday, April 24, 2009
The last round of exhibitions will begin on Monday April 27, 2009 and run through to Sunday May 3. The opening reception will be held from 7 to 9pm in Wadleigh Gallery at Chester College of New England and feature work by Nicole Gynn, Michelle Morin, Eryn Murphy and Patrick Tobin. A reading by Ryan Hoarty will be held in the Wadleigh Conference Room at 8pm.
Come out and help end this semester's senior shows on as good a note as they began.
For more information about National Poetry Month and Poem In Your Pocket Day, visit poets.org.
Jessica Alford's work consists of eight oil self-portraits created with different artistic styles. Presented in a non-linear progression, these images capture and record time according to moods and space. With influences of Cubism, Surrealism, and many other movements, Alford successfully illustrated her personality and how each person sees themselves differently over time.
Adjacent, Desirae Hudson's paintings, while similar in medium, nicely juxtaposed Alford's self-portraits. Hudson's portraits of her closest friends and family utilized the juxtaposition of bright colors and bland neutral tones to illustrate personality. Her goal to immortalize friends' personalities through the use of color and lack thereof also turned out to be exceptionally well executed.
To the right of Alford's work and across from Hudson, sat the physically present but non-existent work of Zack Shields. Multiple blocks of wood of all sizes were painted white and hung at various positions on the wall. A diagram nearby the artist statement revealed the titles of each wood block according to location. The titles match what the blocks used to picture: various painted images regarding burial grounds. Through layering and reconstructing former paintings until they once again become a clean slate, Shields proves that oftentimes art can be found within the absence of art.
While art does come in many forms, Ken Huntley dared to ask the question: When does the art or creation overpower the creator? Occupying his own alcove across from all the other exhibits, Huntley utilized the space with posters, action figures, and other memorabilia from the created comic Wraith. The wide expanse of objects and images of Wraith the super hero and David the super villain contribute to the idea that characters do indeed overpower the creator and continue to define their own identity.
As for the readings, Alyssa Marsh and Beth Ann Miller both gave amazing performances while reading for their senior projects. Alyssa Marsh presented a hilariously witty outlook on children and what it means to grow up and become an adult. Read with the perfect tone of sarcasm and truthfulness, her non-fiction piece kept the audience laughing while also reflecting on the seriousness of the thoughts and decisions presented in the piece.
Beth Ann Miller read as promised from her fictional piece Cashmere. The audience remained enraptured as together they witnessed the development of elemental characters as they ran into all of life's little quirks and problems. A master at crafting uncomfortably human scenes, Miller's story addressed the awkward truths of human interaction and those moments that remain embedded in the back of peoples' minds.
Needless to say, this round of senior exhibits certainly showcased a wide range of work and artist talent. The work remains up until Sunday, April 26th. Be sure to check it out while there is still time!
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
SO Good: Your newest work, Lugar de Origen/ Place of Origin was written with your mother. What was it like working with her?
Melina Draper: I think the nature of collaboration with another artist means two creative processes coming together in messy ways to create something unexpected. This was a very intense project that required attention, energy, and follow-through. It was great to work with my mom. I learned a lot from her in the process. I think we both learned from each other. It was probably an excuse to spend time with each other, and exhilarating to do it via our creative personas. It required a lot of trust, but we had that already.
SG: What inspires and/or informs your poetry? What is your best cure for ‘writer’s block’?
MD: My obsessions inform my poetry and those range from deeply personal issues to engagement in the world around me as well as other poets' work. The "best cure" for writer's block for me is to start at the beginning: keep a journal about whatever. Make up a writing exercise. When I'm really busy, this is often the way I keep my practice active, so that at least I'm generating messy notes that might be useful later.
SG: As an artist currently pursuing an MFA in Poetry, what advice do you have for students who are thinking about entering a graduate program?
MD: I love being a student: another one of my obsessions is learning. Advice: apply for TAships (Teaching Assistantships). These provide a tuition waiver, living stipend, and teaching experience and training. No need to go into debt for a degree in creative writing, right? Apply to a lot of schools. Think of it as an adventure. I love grad school because you get to focus completely on the discipline you love, deepen your practice, read widely and deeply in your field, and pal around with others who are as dedicated as you are.
SG: Lastly, what is your favorite poem or novel? What author has had the most influence on you as a person? As a writer?
MD: Ah, the difficult question. I don't have a single favorite. I could even say what I like is the diversity of voices in poetry and fiction, the different ways of looking at the world, at human behavior, at form and language. Some favorite poets: Li Young Lee, Luise Gluck, Anne Carson, Charles Simic, Elizabeth Bisop, Sylvia Plath, Homer, Emily Dickinson, Rainer Maria Rilke, Wislawa Szymborzka, Victor Hernandez Cruz, and Pablo Neruda. Some favorite novelists and short story writers: David Crouse, James Joyce, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Jorge Luis Borges, Bohumil Hrabal, Cormac McCarthy, Pat Barker, Virginia Woolf, and Jim Crace.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Poem and a Cookie Day
Come out to the picnic tables at noon on Tuesday April 21st, read a poem and get a cookie. It's as simple as that.
Poem in Your Pocket Day
Thursday April 30th is National Poem in Your Pocket Day. You can use your own poem or get one from anyone on the street team (see flyer). On Thursday, pick up a Ask Me About My Poem sticker from the library, Lane or any of the street team members. Then just read your poem aloud to someone.
Friday, April 17, 2009
“I sat beside Johnny on the couch when our relatives started to arrive. Women with tears and snot smudged on their faces ran to the kitchen. I stood up and shook their hands and gave them hugs when they came in, and Johnny raised his beer bottle from the couch.” – Excerpt from
Image by Ken Huntley
These are just two great examples of what you will encounter this coming week in the Wadleigh Gallery at Chester College of New England. Running Monday, April 20 through Sunday, April 26, this fourth week of senior exhibitions contains the visual work of Jessica Alford, Desirae Hudson, Ken Huntley and Zack Shields, with readings by Alyssa Marsh and Beth Ann Miller.
Of course each artist is bringing something new and interesting to the table. Jessica Alford will be presenting a series of self-portraits, while Desirae Hudson displays portraits of friends. Ken Huntley questions the control of comic entities while Zach Shields reveals his experimental mixed-media pieces on wood. As for the writers, it will be equally intriguing. Alyssa Marsh will be reading from her creative non-fiction work that includes memoir and opinion essays, while Beth Ann Miller will be reading from
Promising to be thought provoking in every artistic aspect, this show is a must see! Make sure to visit the gallery opening on Wednesday, April 22 at 7 p.m. to show your support for the artists and hear the great readings to follow at 8 p.m.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Guided by duct taped X’s, people gathered in line to view Holly Mahon’s layers of ink jet transparencies. Mahon’s project titled “Earth, Wind, Fire & Water” is not mounted like traditional pieces, but instead hangs inches from the wall, suspended from the ceiling by fishing wire. Many viewers were impressed with Mahon’s use of gallery space. “She uses the space between her images to her advantage,” Jessica Eastman, Mahon’s fellow senior noted.
Pink duct taped boxes mark the areas where small anchors attached to the fishing wire weigh the pieces down, giving them a solid, floating look. Although the bright pink slightly clashes with the earth tones of the collection, it adds a distinct personality. Mahon was relieved that the night went so smoothly, and at the end, led a little boy to her collection and allowed him to play with some of the tiny anchors on the floor. With the night over, she didn’t her mind project becoming a bit interactive. Under her supervision, of course.
Cassandra Korbey’s show “Battle of the Bands – Drowning in Reverse vs. Patchwork Lemon” had the crowd laughing and hollering all night. Korbey’s alcove is painted black and the band’s logos are painted on the walls. Opening night, both bands sat under their logos, selling merchandise, signing autographs, and having pictures taken. A ballot box stood on the merch table for all guests to cast a vote for their favorite band. “It’s just like a real battle of bands – without the music,” Kelsey McCarthy, posing as a member of Drowning in Reverse, said. “We’ve got everything: the energy, the merchandise, the clothes. I’ve been signing pictures for people, even their arms and cleavage.”
“Cassandra’s show is very multi-layered,” Krystle Belanger, another Chester College senior, observed. Belanger noted the quality of each facet of Korbey’s project: the t-shirts, the stickers, the posters, the logos. Every detail has been covered and Korbey not only utilizes her graphic design skills professionally, but also adds a uniquely creative element.
Korbey and Mahon's work will remain up until Sunday, April 19th, but the battle is over: Patchwork Lemon won after the votes were counted at the end of the night.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Draper’s poems have appeared in Borderlands: A Texas Review, PALABRA: A Magazine of Chicano & Latino Literary Art, Salamander, Antietam Review, Elixir and other journals. Pudding House published her chapbook What Better Place than This? in 2003. She is pursuing an MFA in Poetry at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and has lived in Fairbanks for three winters. Her newest work is Place of Origin~Lugar de Origen (Oyster River Press 2008), a bilingual book of poetry co-authored by Draper and Argentine writer Elena Lafert. The book, divided into two sections, “The Butterfly Effect” and “Naval Gazing” explores family ties across time and distance.
Draper's visit is hosted by the Chester College of New England's Visiting Writers Series and is part of the college's celebration of National Poetry Month. Admission is free.
Friday, April 10, 2009
The next show will feature visual work by Cassandra Korbey and Holly Mahon. An opening reception will be held from 7-9 p.m. Wednesday, April 15.
“The Certificate in Creative Writing program gives students the opportunity to create a significant body of work that can help them enter a Master of Fine Arts program,” said Monica O’Brien, chair of the college’s Department of Writing and Literature. “Graduates of the certificate program will be prepared to enter graduate school, pursue writing full-time, or work at a literary journal or publishing house.”
Chester College of New England’s Certificate in Creative Writing will allow students to complete their certification online while balancing a full-time career and education. Since the certificate contains six, three-credit hour courses, students can earn their creative writing certification in a short time frame. While enrolled in program, online students will face rigorous and challenging coursework that will extensively improve their creative thinking and writing abilities. The online workshops are designed to give students extensive opportunities to receive feedback on their work from professionals as well as peers.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Cassandra Korbey's show "Battle of the Bands - Drowning in Reverse vs. Patchwork Lemon" will be set up in the alcove of the gallery. Korbey says that her "show will consist of merchandise for her two fictitious bad-ass bands. I have made all kinds of merchandise for them, such as t-shirts, stickers, and wristbands. I will also have people posing as members of each band, and they will be giving out autographs and photo opportunities to anyone who wants them." Korbey's work has been created digitally on her computer. It promises to be a rockin' evening with Chester College students and alumni Kara Schulze, Leah Guilmette, Kelsey McCarthy and Davyn Walsh acting as band members.
Holly Mahon claims the space beside Korbey with her "Earth, Wind, Fire & Water" show. As a Graphic Designer, Mahon's show is a 36-sheet, 3-section and 3-D layered project. It will be an Inkjet transparency installation.
The gallery opens at 7:00 pm on April 15th in the Wadleigh Gallery.
Piece by Holly Mahon
Piece by Cassandra Korbey
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Make sure to check back here for more information, including interviews with the artists and writers.
Prints, Painting, & Photography, the first exhibition in Chester College of New England's new Witherill Gallery at The Coffee Factory, will open on Thursday, April 16, with a reception from 5-7 p.m. Students from the creative writing program will be reading poetry as part of the event.
The Witherill Gallery is a student-run gallery designed to exhibit work by Chester College students inside The Coffee Factory in Derry. A gallery committee is working with owners Kevin and Gladys Yorke to plan exhibitions. The relationship between the business and the college started when a Chester College student started to attend weekly poetry open mics. From there, the Yorkes expressed an interest in giving Chester College students the opportunity to exhibit and sell their artwork.
Prints, Painting, & Photography continues through May 5. The Witherill Gallery at The Coffee Factory is located at 55 Crystal Ave. in Derry, NH. Hours are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 8 .m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. For more information, email the gallery committee.
The conference begins with registration and a continental breakfast at 8:30 a.m. and the morning session will recognize the winners in the SWA 2009 Writers’ Contest. First place winners will read their winning entries. Former NH State Poetry Laureate Marie Harris will present the keynote address, "In Service to Language, A Writer's Trust."
Following a buffet lunch, the afternoon session offers a choice of one of four two-hour workshops.
Children’s book author and former librarian Michael Sullivan offers motivational techniques for story telling in “Writing for Kids Who Won’t Read.” He writes the Escapade Johnson series and the Bard series of books for school-age children.
Poet and teacher Kimberly Cloutier Green introduces participants to the four-word-line poem in “Contents Under Pressure.” She is author of the chapbook What Becomes of Words.
Mystery and non-fiction writer Vicki Stiefel shows techniques for writing a compelling narrative in “How Disastrous is Your Adventure?” Co-director with her husband, novelist William Tapply, of the Writers Studio at Chickadee Farm, she is author of four novels of suspense featuring homicide counselor Tally Whyte.
Award-winning film author and director Alfred Thomas Catalfo will show his latest short film, “Ear Whacks,” and take participants through the steps of writing and producing the short film. All conference participants are invited to view “The Norman Rockwell Code,” his award-winning spoof of “The DaVinci Code,” which was selected for the Library of Congress film collection.
Registrations postmarked by May 1 are $40 for first-time conference participants; $45 Early Registration (SWA member); and $60 Early Registration (nonmember). Registrations postmarked after May 1 are $55 for SWA members and $70 for non-members. Fees include a continental breakfast and the buffet lunch. Participants needing assistance may bring an aide for the cost of lunch, $18.
For further information and a registration form, go to www.seacoastwritersassociation.org or contact registrar, Michael Wade by email or by phone, 603-778-8182.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Tattoo by Amanda Prue.
Prue will be presenting “The Art of Tattoo,” an exhibition of tattoo “flash” art and art on skin, including designs and photographs of some of her work. Also attending will be recipients of Prue’s tattoos, showing off the work live.
by Jeff Traynor
Traynor’s show, “Four Years of Design,” is a collection of his graphic design work, specifically consisting of “three re-branded identities ... from local businesses.” The work includes business cards, letterheads, t-shirts, and vehicle signage.
by Emily Brochu
Brochu’s exhibition, “Character + Creativity,” is presented as a summary collection of graphic design work illustrating the four years of education she has received.
by Joe Brown.
“Hardcore Thanatos,” Brown’s exhibition, will consist of artistic photographs of roadkill.
The senior project gallery opening on April 8 will feature readings by graduating students Jeff Metcho, Laura Spencer and Maggie Hatfield.
Metcho will be reading from Like Gravity Falling Up, his novella. “I’ve been told that it reminds people of Nan Goldin’s photography,” he says of the piece. “I don’t know if that’s founded or not.”
Excerpt from Like Gravity Falling Up by Jeff Metcho:
“The walls were chipped and the bar was soaked and if the lights were any brighter you’d see some really suspect stains everywhere. The music was so loud that it seemed like it was trying to compensate for it being so bad. I could tell that Jade loved it here. It got her all goofed-up inside. Jade was the kind of girl that felt most at home in a place that would make most people feel dirty. It was a filthy and skeezy disco and she would not have wanted it any other way. I’d only known her for a few days and I could tell that about her. I don’t know why, I just can. I can tell things about people. It’s in the way that they walk and talk. It’s in the way that they dance.”
The Other Son is a collection of poetry in sections, written through the eyes of the different characters presented. Spencer will be reading excerpts from the work. She has used the opportunity as a chance to explore a less personal, and more character driven style of writing.
“So Let it Go,” from The Other Son by Laura Spencer:
So Let it Go
I tried to call you last night
but my fingers were tasteless.
The numbers were full of falsehoods
my throat, unarmed.
I tried to call you but day
made me worry that you really
That my ready reading,
and ineffable indifferences
made me lose sight.
Plus, the phone booth
was taken by a man with black eyes.
His hands dirty, pulse unknown,
lips chapped and filled with words.
He reminded me of you.
Hatfield will be presenting work from her currently untitled manuscript. Her work can be described as an eclectic, weird slam-style of poetic word constructions. “Word salad,” she says, jokingly, “which would be good if you covered it in ranch dressing.” She also writes fiction.
From “reconciliation poem.” by Maggie Hatfield:
“I’ve got a book of yellow poetry under my pillow with a cannon on the front,
manned by a typewriter.
The cold’s seepin’ into my fingers while I sit up late with these words I will never have the pleasure of knowing personally.
They’re clutchin’ tight to my chest in lamp light,
sneakin’ in and inching past my ribs, screaming admittance loud like a flash bang,
and though I give it readily,
it ain’t never enough to keep me satisfied.”
The gallery opening begins at 7 pm on April 8 in Wadleigh Library at Chester College of New England. Readings will commence at 8 pm in the Wadleigh conference room, adjacent to the gallery.
Friday, April 3, 2009
The first Senior Show of 2009, featuring work by Krystle Belanger, Jesse Cloutier, Jessica Eastman, Sarah Izatt, is a whirlwind of experiences from the natural, fashion, travel, memoir and philosophic worlds. The pieces are very good examples of the art of the Chester College community, being both unique and skillfully constructed in their individual messages.
Krystle Belanger’s black and white manipulated photographs, cumulatively called “I’ll Remember You…,” are reminiscent of antique postcards yet with a modern twist; two images were spliced together to create ghostly apparitions of the places she visited while in Florence, Italy. These apparitions act as a focal point of each piece, drawing the viewer into the place and the narrative that is being told in the surroundings. The audio track which plays alongside the pieces syncs perfectly with the portrayal of the city and allows for the images to become three-dimensional in nature, enveloping the viewer in Belanger’s whirlwind of experiences while abroad. The audio, lighting, and composition of the pieces all adds to the achievement of the piece in transporting the viewer into a different time and place.
Jesse Cloutier’s natural found object pieces collectively entitled “Silent and Very Slowly Growing” also employ a muted color palette of grays, blacks, and whites, but also have bursts of color in the form of preserved insects and tinted glass within a number of pieces. When looking at the work one can’t help but remember their younger days of exploring the woods and realizing everything natural was a treasure. Cloutier has translated this most astutely in his work by using the dried husks of dead grasshoppers and bees as well as the unraveled paper of abandoned wasps' nests, in essence creating a wonderland of childhood delights. Some of the most impressive pieces of the installation are the photopolymer intaglio prints on wasp nest paper, considering how fragile the nests are and the demand it must have taken to achieve the best end results. The other piece which caught many viewers’ attentions is the found sculpture centered on the floor of the installation area, a mixed media piece reminiscent of sea glass in the light yet blended with mechanical and constructional elements of gears and cement; alas nature meets industry but still lives in harmony.
Jessica Eastman’s digitally manipulated photographs, entitled “Raw,” show a darker side of her life, not often seen in her positive, energetic personality. The pieces consist of a mélange of images, which in turn each tell a part of the larger narrative summarized in one sentence below each piece. The sentences are left for interpretation through the viewer’s emotional response to the accompanying images. Many of the images are quite visceral and gut wrenching, realizing the tremendous impact upon the artist’s life and how she can tragically sum it up in one sentence while the images speak volumes and could write a book. The most riveting piece of the installation is the final image in the series, consisting of only a blurred, almost warped, face pressed up against glass and the simple statement of her pleading for protection from her ex-boyfriend. The image elicits great emotion in that it is almost inhuman in form, showing the intensity of the memory and its impact upon her life to the extent that she still can’t see it clearly.
Sarah Izatt’s model-based photography creates a very interesting dynamic with its hanging installation. Each photo-prism, when viewed at a certain angle, forms a triptych with the other photo-prisms, creating a larger image of the same model in varying positions and lighting. The positioning and use of color on and surrounding the models helped to create a seductive allure to the pieces, which makes them much more than just fashion photography. The emphasis on the models rather than the clothing makes the pieces much more relatable and enjoyable instead of the usually stiff fashion photography which is the standard in the fashion world.
Steph Libby and Blake Lagasse read work from their senior projects at the opening on April 1.
Steph Libby's manuscript, She Is There, is a collection of fiction and poetry. She read from one of the fiction sections of the manuscript, concerning a young woman meeting up with a couple of wanderers and their adventures together. Her main character, the young woman, remains an enigma to the reader, never saying who she is but is willing to share her life experiences and philosophies. Her syntax and diction have a poetic flow, crafting very tangible imagery and the characters’ internal thoughts. The wanderers she meets up with soon become very three-dimensional and relatable to the reader while the main character remains somewhat two-dimensional because she does not yet know who she is herself. Libby paints a striking portrait of a girl lost and trying to find herself in the lives of other people.
Blake Lagasse read a short story entitled “The Caretaker” which portrays the all too tragic situation of grown children abandoning their elderly parents because they are too wrapped up in their own lives of consumerism and capitalism. The main character, a young caretaker, is an exception to this conformity in that he is stuck in his life and feels he must take care of others to have some feeling of fulfillment. The secondary character, Harold, the caretaker’s patient, is painted as a miserable old man at first but the reader soon comes to love him for his comical quips and pity him for his tragic view of life after his wife’s death. Lagasse does a stellar job of portraying the many types of love in this story and the degrees to which they are life changing to every person connected.
The night was an utter success for everyone presenting their final works. There are still more receptions to come, so be sure to check back here at the SO Good blog or the Chester College of New England website for dates and times of upcoming senior shows and who will be exhibiting and reading.
Keep checking back for more information as the senior shows continue, including interviews with the artists and writers.