Chapel Art Center Presents: Works on Paper

March 24, 2021

By Alex Fischer '21

In February, the Chapel Art Center proudly opened their newest exhibition, Works on Paper, Including Recent Acquisitions, Selections from the Permanent Collection. This exhibition focuses on the many beautiful works the Chapel Art Center has accumulated over the years that have been strictly done on paper, with a mix of works previously on display as well as some that are being shown for the first time.

There are 41 total works in the exhibition, and 10 are recent acquisitions. Speaking with Fr. Iain MacLellan, O.S.B., director of the Chapel Art Center, a work is considered to be a new acquisition if it was acquired in the past 5 -10 years and has either never been shown or has not been shown much. In the exhibition, there is a goal to showcase the variety of works that are possible on paper, both in genre and style. At home, outdoors, figures, historic, and domestic scenes are all present in the selections being showcased.

“Going through the collection, you are creating a dialogue within the works,” Fr. Iain said when discussing the exhibition. Works on Paper is intentionally set up to place contrasting works next to each other in order to both complement each other and highlight the variety that is being presented. For example, Eduard Fechner’s The Head of a Young Boy Wearing a Fur Hat is a completely linear work that focuses on a figure and is drawn with precise lines, while next to it is John Whorf’s Winter Birches, a watercolor painting using broad strokes to show a figure in the woods. The contrasting art styles bring attention to how uniquely different the two works are, yet they both share the similarity of depicting a solitary figure in their content.

There were many works in the Chapel Arts collection, according to Fr. Iain, that didn’t make the cut because they were being saved for a future exhibition, or the work was not prepared for presentation just yet. In preparation for the exhibition, Fr. Iain went through a process of “installing the show,” where the works were photographed and placed around the Chapel Art Center before they were officially installed. This process allowed for everything to be organized into the complementary pairings described above, as well as determined where in the Chapel Art Center they should be placed, before the works themselves were even pulled from the collection.

Selecting the works was just the beginning of the process, as 12 works in the exhibition needed work done, either in the form of reframing or more intensive care, before they were ready to be exhibited.

Some notable works being presented in Works on Paper include:

  • Anne Connel’s The Goose-Girl at the Well, acquired in 2018
  • Henri Matisse’s L2, from the series “Themes and Variations,” acquired in 2010
  • James Abbott McNeil Whistler’s Limehouse, acquired in 2015
  • Phoebe Beasley’s Sunrise is Coming After While, acquired in 2020

The Chapel Art Center also hosts weekly turn the page events for Sunrise is Coming After While, as Phoebe’s silkscreen images accompany Langston Hughes’ poetry.

The Works on Paper exhibition is on view until May 7, 2021. The Chapel Art Center gallery is open from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. on Thursdays, and closed Sundays and Mondays. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Chapel Art Center is only open to the Saint Anselm College community. Programming will be held throughout the exhibition, and for upcoming events, please visit the Chapel Arts Center site.

Image credit
Artist: Eduard Fechner, Paris (1799-1861)
Title: The Head of a Young Boy Wearing a Fur Hat
Medium: Pencil on Paper

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