AVA gallery focuses on local river and scenery

by Mac Emery | 10/27/14 6:36pm

The Connecticut River’s motion and splendor will wind its way through the Alliance for the Visual Arts gallery in Lebanon.

The gallery’s newest fall exhibit, which opened Oct. 17, features artists Case Hathaway-Zepeda ’09, former professor Coralea “Corky” Wennberg and Judith Vivell, A loose theme of water and rivers anchors the exhibit with broader New England as another general motif, exhibition coordinator Margaret Jacobs ’08 said.

Wennberg’s displayed work includes abstract river scene paintings. Vivell’s art features more realist paintings of fowl, and Hathaway-Zepeda’s pieces are metal jewelry.

Jacobs maintains that despite this variety, common elements unite the show.

Each artists contributes a distinct approach and perspective to the show. Wennberg, who taught law and ethics at the College, painted abstract river scenes with a carefully limited color palate and wide brush strokes.

Completing the work in the AVA show required Wennberg to explore new techniques like glazing, she said, in which she applied a transparent second layer of thin oil atop opaque paint.

Wennberg said the Connecticut River’s constant change inspired her work.

In some of her paintings, the river and its banks are clear and bright, contrasting with a subordinated background. In others, Wennberg further abstracts her scenes and captures views of the river from unorthodox vantage points.

When she painted, she would sit close to the river, from docks, mountains or hills.

“Sometimes I painted very near the river, but could barely see it at all,” she said.

Hathaway-Zepeda, an artist-in-residence at the Donald Claflin Jewelry Studio last winter, produced works of metal jewelry for the exhibit that took on the appearance of liquid. The works’ curves and bends emulate the motion and form of the water, Hathaway-Zepeda said.

“In all of my art forms, water is a very central theme that I don’t always fully acknowledge,” Hathaway-Zepeda said. “And I hadn’t fully acknowledged it in my metal work up to that point.”

Vivell contributed several large paintings to the gallery, most of which depict New England turkeys. Painted with vivid natural hues, she captures the intricate contours of the iconic birds with fine attention to detail.

Hathaway-Zepeda praised the value of artistic resources in the Upper Valley.

“Being able to interact with students on a day-to-day basis is generally exciting and interesting,” Hathaway-Zepeda said. “They come from so many different backgrounds and they have so many different interests — each person has a different view. Being able to work with them, I get to see how they think about materials. I kind of process a lot of people’s perspectives”

The exhibit will be on view through Nov. 14.