MARJORY REID AT HOTCHKISS
By Kristin Nord
At a time when many of the region’s weekenders have headed off to warmer climates and much of Northwestern Connecticut can feel a bit buttoned up, the Tremaine Gallery at The Hotchkiss School is offering strong bursts of color through February 5. The current show focuses on work by longtime teacher Marjory Reid and two close friends — Warner Friedman and Janet Rickus, professional artists from Sheffield, MA — all with significant studio practices. “Our work probably couldn’t be more different,” said Reid, who was delighted to be asked to curate the show with the Tremaine’s education driven mission in mind.
Reid retired from Hotchkiss in 2000, a time when arts courses were still “red-lined” at an institution created to steer its graduates to the Ivy League. In the ensuing years, with the presence of the gallery in the main academic building and funds designated for six quality exhibitions a year, the Tremaine has come to function as a working arm of the school’s arts curriculum and as a vibrant cultural center for the region.
A strong interdisciplinary humanities program thrusts ninth and tenth graders into the arts through hands-on studio classes and forays into the countryside, and turns to the gallery as a place to develop cultural and aesthetic literacy and sharpen critical thinking skills. While most Hotchkiss graduates do not choose to further their studies at art and architectural schools, a number are finding this interdisciplinary work continues to influence them as adults. One graduate credited Reid’s teaching with helping him not to look “but to see,” a distinction, he notes, that is crucial in his work as a physician.
Longtime Connecticut residents Emily Hall Tremaine and Burton G. Tremaine Sr. were influential American collectors for much of the 20th century, acquiring significant abstract expressionist, pop and minimalist works until their deaths in the 1970s. Although their collection was gradually dispersed, proceeds have helped create living legacies, both at Hotchkiss and Salisbury schools as well as at the Wadsworth Atheneum.