Thorne-Sagendorph: Gallery Of The People
by Greg Morell
As I traveled out to the quiet south- western corner of New Hampshire for my first visit to the Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery (aka “The Thorne”) at Keene State College, I never expected to encounter the fourth dimension, but that is exactly what transpired through my viewing of the works of Hans Schepker, part of its current “Passionate Pursuits” exhibition.
Always seeking new ways to creatively involve the university and regional community, gallery director Maureen Ahern came up with the idea of enticing Keene State alumni, faculty and students, along with members of the regional community, to bring to the gallery objects that illustrated their personal passions.
In theory this was an interesting challenge. The field was wide open. I expected an eclectic collection of mementos, artifacts and precious cultural treasures from exotic parts of the globe. However, of the 40-plus participants, only a tiny handful considered contributing an object other than their own artwork. Even Ahern herself, an artist and avid body surfer, chose not to hang her wet suit, but included her delicately constructed collage of pigment and feathers.
A brief capsule of the passionate pursuits that were not projections of artistic ego consisted of a trove of target weapons, a colorful collection of Guatemalan textiles and a very curious set of photographs that documented a Caribbean smoke ritual. The regional wood-turning society that contributed a collection of finely fashioned contrivances celebrating the glory of elegant woodworking is well represented.
The imaginative Michael B. Forrest, a passionate woodworker and fan of ice hockey, rescued a stave of broken hockey sticks from the local landfill and fashioned a whimsical chair and side table, a perfect seat for viewing the Stanley Cup playoffs. Greeting the patrons at the portal of passion, however, is the enigma of the fourth dimension — the mixed-media sculptural works of Hans Schepker.