The George Marshall Store Gallery’s midsummer exhibitions present the work of four well-established New England artists. Brenda Garand and Gerald Auten are colleagues at Dartmouth College and are exhibiting their work together for the first time. Her suspended sculptures and his large graphite drawings are installed in the front room of the gallery. Seventeen small, oil on panel paintings by area artist Stuart Ober are displayed in the smaller gallery, which looks over the York River. A selection of paintings and drawings by University of New Hampshire professor Craig Hood are arranged in what is known as the “dock level gallery” space. The exhibitions continue through Sunday, August 23.
Garand’s sculpture selected for this exhibition combine wire, silk, threads and other found materials. The forms she creates by wiring these elements together are suspended away from the wall with steel armatures that resemble tines of a pitchfork. She makes these steel supports and although they are the mechanics to support the sculpture they are perfectly integrated into the overall design. “Suspension of Disbelief #1” and “#2” are mounted high up on the gallery walls. At the center of both are large wasp nests that are surrounded by a swirl of small pieces of silk and knotted threads. As with all of her pieces, the cascading shadows add to the sense of movement and grace.
Large graphite drawings by Gerald Auten share the same gallery space with Garand’s sculptures. The artist uses graphite pencils and powders on hot-pressed paper surfaces. By combining various geometric shapes he creates bold images that have multiple dimension. The graphite surfaces are polished to a dense gloss so that they resemble metal or worn leather. In other areas, the graphite is lightly smudged across white areas of the paper.
Stuart Ober’s small oil paintings depict personal spaces and places where he lives and works. There is a stillness and quiet to Ober’s work even when they are documenting the aftermath of a dramatic event. Four chairs tumble down a narrow staircase in “Blue Chairs Descending Staircase No. 2.” There is no sense of the clatter and violence of the event. The chairs are firmly wedged into their final resting place. In “Car Fire, Mile 34,” one can see smoke rising from the other side of the center guard rail, the view is taken from a car stuck in the ensuing traffic. These scene make one ask questions such as “What has happened, who did it, and now what happens.”
A totally different atmosphere attracts our attention in the paintings and drawings by Craig Hood as the scenes he paints are partially obscured by an atmospheric haze. An observer must mentally draw this ethereal curtain aside to make out the scene beyond. These are mysterious, desolate spaces with a mix of sorrow and humor. One can recognize the same small figure in several of the works. Hood describes these figures as his troop of character actors that he can try out in different narratives. Some are wounded while others are trying to ease the pain.
The Gallery is located at 140 Lindsay Road in York. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. For more information, call (207) 351-1083 or visit www.georgemarshallstoregallery.com.