Exhibitions: Current | Upcoming | Past
Under the Influence:
Paintings of New England Mill Neighborhoods and their Rural Surroundings
Works by Stephen Remick and Randy Swann
We close the academic year with an exhibition of works by Stephen Remick and Randy Swann. Under the Influence: Paintings of New England Mill Neighborhoods and their Rural Surroundings is comprised of mostly panoramic paintings that celebrate the living and working environment of Southeastern New England urban and rural life.
Land where people settle is influenced by the needs of the moment, shaped and reshaped as needed. Mills are built to make things. Industry dies and the mills deteriorate. Sometimes they get torn down. Sometimes they get re-used. Those that survive become embedded in the community, along with the Churches, tenements and corner stores. Outside the urban interior, land is cleared to plant crops or let livestock graze. Fieldstone, the byproduct of agricultural progress, ends up forming miles of stonewalls between properties and various uses of the land. People die off or move on and nature reclaims the land, trapping the stalwart walls along with the deteriorated foundations of long-gone homes within a forest. New foundations are laid on that old land allowing for a re-birth.
Rather than approach this subject with heavy sentimentality, both of the artists are instead comforted by the remains of the past they find in their woods and in their city streets, and look to open the viewers eyes to that which is right in front of them. These paintings respectfully celebrate the passage of time and the artifacts that remain. The artists' intent is to share their respective views and let people find relationships and meaning within and between the subjects that may not have been obvious or intended when they were created.
Randy Swann and Stephen Remick attended Swain School of Design in New Bedford, MA in the late seventies and early eighties and have lived in southeastern Massachusetts for many years.
This group of paintings is a continuation of a lifelong attempt to see the forest for the trees.
I'm painting our front and back yards and the woods beyond. Familiar, everyday sights that may only get a peripheral, passing glimpse. In-the-moment scenes...a yard sale, a backyard tree house, or a new house foundation under construction and filled with potential. Signs of prior lives...a centuries old, crumbling foundation whose long gone builder held that same potential as today's builder, a cemetery reclaimed by the woods, a stone bridge on a once important, and now, abandoned thoroughfare. Isolating a subject immediately brings attention to it, guiding the viewer to think in a deeper way, to realize our connection to each other, our environment, our past, and our future.
The work in this show is the result of visual wandering throughout the smaller cities of southeastern New England. Though very familiar to me, having spent my entire life in their environs, I'm consistently surprised at their beauty. I'm especially drawn to the confluence of the natural and man-made elements, such as an iron bridge spanning a river, or a brick factory across from a field. Though we are relative newcomers to this land, our presence is softened as our buildings age. Brickwork fades, copper turns green, and neighborhoods settle into the topography. Time creates a palette and collection of forms that never cease to interest me.
1986 MA, Swain School of Design, New Bedford, MA
1981 AAS, Vermont Technical College, Randolph Center, VT
Selected Solo and Group Exhibitions
2015 Small Works, Deedee Shattuck Gallery, Westport, MA
2015 Fredrick Douglass Gallery at Gallery X, New Bedford, MA
2014 Small Works, Deedee Shattuck Gallery, Westport, MA
2014 Southern Vermont Art Center, Manchester, VT
2012 Small Works, Deedee Shattuck Gallery, Westport, MA
2012 Solo Exhibition, Alexey Von Schlippe Gallery, University of Connecticut at Avery Point, CT
1979 BFA, Swain School of Design, New Bedford, MA
Selected Solo and Group Exhibitions
2015 Along the Way, Newton Public Library, Newton, MA
2015 New Work, True Grit Art Gallery, Middleboro, MA
2014 Cityscapes, Gallery X, New Bedford, MA
2014 Along the Way, Great Ponds Gallery, Lakeville, MA
2013 Come Together, Union St. Studio, Plymouth, MA
2011 Local Haunts, Crowell's Fine Art, New Bedford, MA