bastille day exhibit: after,
Works by Gisèle Mac harg.
Opening: Sunday, July 14, 2pm to 7pm.
Each year on Bastille Day we host an exhibition by an artist new to us that we think deserves a wider audience. Fate, it seems, puts them in our path. This year we feature Gisèle Mac Harg from South Royalton, Vermont. Gisèle was born in a small French village not far from Chartres. Her childhood was a world of expansive fields, skies, nature, farm animals, and a loving family in which women created beauty through knitting, tailoring, and embroidery. At the age of 13, her father, a grain farmer, took her to the Louvre to introduce her to artists he admired—Delacroix, Monet, and Millet, to name a few. “In this moment,” she writes, “was born my love for beauty.” Gisèle grew up to teach foreign languages in Vermont for 38 years. As she neared retirement, pondering what to do next, memories of family life and her love of art converged into a new interest, hooking. Possibilities for what she could accomplish evolved over time: “Hooking became another form of painting, expressing myself with shapes and colors, arranging them in pleasing or dramatic ways to capture a moment, record a feeling, immortalize an emotion, or ask a question.” Learning about color took her work to another level. “To boiling water with a bit of white vinegar, I added “giving” pieces to impart color and “receiving” pieces to absorb. Plant materials produced various effects—beet juice offered up a mustard hue; nettles resembled honey. Blacks were unpredictable, sometimes violet, blue, grey, or green. Some results exceeded my expectations. Others fell short. None could be duplicated. It is the mystery of each strand in each piece.” Color is at the heart of her work, and like all good artists she continues to grow: “I’m always learning. Each piece teaches me a new lesson.” We have entitled this exhibit After, a straightforward way of acknowledging that these works are inspired by familiar paintings of fields, children playing, people working, and mothers caring for children that have spoken to Gisèle in a spiritual, personal way. Having internalized a painting, Gisèle feels her way through a creative process, hoping to connect to dreams, memories, and ideas, like motherhood and love. Subjects are edited to suit her medium, then surrounded by patterns and colors unique to each piece. Her work is direct, without pretension. “Viewers will see what they see,” writes Gisèle. “Hopefully they will be moved by the harmony of color or be captivated by the borrowed idea, like a beautiful song. I certainly hope that each work takes them on a voyage to nourish a dream or invoke their own private memories, pleasures, and emotions.”
Below Gisèle’s work are available pieces from past Bastille Day artists: Maurice Morel, André-Marie Ricoux, and Paul Inglis.
Maurice Morel (1908-1991), an art critic and priest, moved to Paris in 1927, where he met the poet Max Jacob, who encouraged him in his creativity and introduced him to writers, artists, painters, and poets, including Braque, Picasso, Rouault, and Matisse. In 1933 he helped organize the first exhibition of modern religious art at the Lucy Krough Gallery. During the day Morel was a priest. At night, as a form of meditation, he created paintings. He experimented with mediums and papers. Morel once said, “I paint by a requirement as indispensable to my spiritual life as sleep and exercise are to my physical life.”
André-Marie Ricoux studied with Jean Bertholle at L’École des Beaux Arts in Paris. He approaches the landscape of Normandy informed by Daoist principles such as Empty Space and Qi, with a vision of the abstract, allowing open space to suggest reality. Olivier Rasimi, a novelist, sees an influence of Hercle Seghers, William Turner, or Zao Wou Ki, writing, “From which west, or which east, or which dawn or dusk are they drawn? In these desolate wild places human beings are absent. Out of chaos comes natural order, and we find ourselves in a place where light and color unify, leading us to a greater introspection and finally to a deeper state of satisfaction.”
About Paul Inglis’ paintings of Boston bridges, John O’Brien, a colleague and fellow artist, writes, “Reflected in the work is a resoluteness of inquiry that insists that this little corner of the world is worth seeing again and again. These paintings are about bridges as much as Morandi’s paintings are about bottles. The bridge is a point of entry into a world of seeing, a metaphor. The painter’s brush a conduit linking the act of looking with the culminating act of painting.”
“I grew up in a little village not far from Auvers, but mine was not a fairy-tale-looking hamlet as this one. The orange roofs and restless sky and grasses were fun to hook.” SOLD
“As I worked on this piece it was hard to set it down, so anxious was I to see the sky evolve into an explosion of blue and to preserve some of the floating feeling I saw in Monet’s work. And there was the wind.”
“My great grandfather was a contemporary of van Gogh and would have done his sowing in this manner. I wanted to honor his memory and his arduous work.”
“The young shepherdess appears saddened by her endless laborious days. I was drawn to her because of my mom telling me about having to do similar work in her youth. Not a fond memory for her. I wanted to give this shepherdess a pretty outfit and the comfort of a tree.”SOLD
“The field is now quiet, the work done, the people resting in rustic houses. The last rays of sun transform the haystacks. I enjoyed mixing colors and shapes.”
“White was a challenge. It is full of color.”
“Sometimes when the atmosphere is humid, the air is thick, the sunsets glow with vibrant colors.”
“The universality of this picture, where we do not see the individual faces and the perfect privacy of an intimate moment between mother and child are doubly moving to me. I tried to render these contrasting emotions. The rather large area of Japanese style wallpaper presented a challenge.”
“I remember my mom doing the same for me and me for my son. Such maternal love emanates from Cassatt’s painting. Hopefully, I’ve conveyed that love through this work, as well as preserving some of the Japanese influence. My wallpaper tone is obtained by a dye bath of nettles that invited themselves into my garden.”
“Here I was intrigued by the play of sun and shade in the foliage and by the carefree energy of the maiden. Woolens do not come in perfect white, so I used actual lingerie bits to form her underskirt and project a sense of purity.”SOLD
“Everyone remembers their first time of enjoying a sandy beach by the sea, especially if you live far inland. For me, growing up in the 50’s away from the coastline, I longed to fill my eyes with a full view of the sea. When my dad finally took my brothers and I there, it poured rain and we had to be content with watching from the car. Here, I am making up for that big disappointment long ago.” SOLD
“Some of us dream of a beautiful and tranquil spot where to spend our days. Immerse yourself in this peaceful sight for a moment and pretend it is yours.” SOLD
“The contrast between the tragedy and the grandeur of the scene is probably what pulled me to do this exotic piece. Also the arrangement of the various blues and greens to render force and the depth of the ocean intrigued me.” SOLD
“I was captivated by this painting long before I was aware of the tragic circumstances surrounding its creation. In the villages where I grew up and live now, away from cities, stars seem close to the earth. They are light in the darkness that changes color. I found the bright swirls over the sleepy town exciting to create.”
“I hope the pleasing shades of blue and the elegance of elongated lines, as well as the warm texture of the fibers, compensate for the profound sadness this woman feels.”SOLD
“The Lascaux cave was discovered just a few years before I was born. When I learned of it, I was fascinated and often thought of our ancestors’ courage and resilience. This scene is adapted from a section of the Chauvet cave, only recently found. These 30,000 year-old beasts are still so vivid today. Hopefully, I caught their energy.”
“Individual colors have such an array of possible shades. It was fun creating background foliage and depth using contrasting shades of green and suggesting a larger landscape with a close-up of a few flowers.”
“Here, I’m captivated by design.”
Oil on canvas, 9.5 x 7 in.
Oil on canvas, 7.12 x 9.37 in.
Oil on canvas, 9.5 x 7 in.
Watercolor, 6 x 9 in.
Watercolor, 10.25 x 7.50 in.
Oil on panel., 8.25 x 6 in.