DERRYFIELD GOES FOR THE GOLD
“MEDLEY,” a group exhibition at the Lyceum Gallery at Derryfield School in Manchester, N.H., brings together four talented artists from four decades of Derryfield graduates. To celebrate the school’s 50th anniversary, Derryfield art teacher Andy Moerlein (artscope magazine, September/October 2011) has developed a series of exhibitions featuring alumni artists that will extend through the entire academic year.
To enter the gallery, a visitor first rings the doorbell at the front entrance to the school and is buzzed in. After checking in with the receptionist, you are directed to follow the corridors to the gallery, composed of two hallways adjoining at right angles. Each body of work is accompanied by information about the artist and their reflections about their education as artists at Derryfield. Wall signs with titles, media and comments for each work would have been appreciated.
The first body of work you encounter will be luminous landscapes and townscapes in oil by painter M.J. Blanchette of Kittery Point, Maine, a 1982 graduate of Derryfield who continued her education at the Rhode Island School of Design. Her paintings combine a textural, painterly quality with delicate and precise lines. A group of tree trunks appear as simple scratches through thickly applied paint. But they are perfect scratches. Her imagery is the world around her, a landscape with the roof of a house peeking over a clump of bushes, clouds over the ocean, a dark and reflective river winding between overhanging trees. Particularly striking was a view of old buildings seen from across a parking lot and behind a roadside guardrail — Hopper-esque but with looser brushwork and brilliantly layered color.