Sculptures, photos, paintings, and lamps are part of Thorne-Sagendorph gallery


Ryan Loredo

A&E Editor


A new year at Keene State College is greeted with snow, students, and a new art exhibit on display in the Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery.

The exhibit, titled “The Biennial Keene State College Art Faculty Exhibition,” displayed works by old and new faculty of the college in the graphic design, art, and other departments.

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The main focus of the exhibit was also on works by two new faculty members, Jonathan Gitelson and Rebecca Davis-Kelly.

The exhibit opened Friday, Jan. 20, with a reception to honor the two staff members along with other members of the exhibit.

As people entered the large white doors hiding the art, they were greeted with large photo pieces, sculptures, and fascinating pieces of artwork.

A piece titled “What Does It All Mean” by Gitelson displayed two shoes hanging by their strings on telephone wires.

The piece was surrounded by interviews with the question of what did the shoes mean to them.

The responses were varied.

Other pieces by Gitelson include several photos of a car covered in fliers and posters while parked in various locations.

Pictures of clothing by him were also on display with some descriptions of the clothing’s condition.

A video was shown alongside his work displaying a piece titled “The Quitter,” which shows a man smoking a cigarette in two different time frames.

The screen also displayed his process in creating “What Does It All Mean.”

Davis-Kelly’s work is displayed in various ways.

Her work mostly comprises of a wooden person with stanzas near the artwork telling the subject’s story.

One segment reads, “His fingers are feeling less so are his feet, his head is a putrefied slab of raw meat, he’s covered in scar tissue yellow and thick, and just touching his flesh would make normal folks sick.”

The poem, separated into seven parts, is also accompanied by a book titled “Scooped: The Forgotten Tale of the First Pumpkin Carving” which was on display both with pages spread out in full view and in book form for visitors to pick up and read.

Davis-Kelly said her inspiration for her artwork is, “Be Tim Burton, just any kind of found objects we like a little dark and grungy, we like to antique it and find different uses for materials.” She also commented on “Scooped.” “Before we moved to Keene I read about Keene a long time ago, we’re from the south where they don’t really love Halloween and so we decided that we would do an homage to Pumpkin Fest.”

One of the largest and brightest pieces on display was the sculpture “Arctic Garden” by Lynn Richardson.

The piece displays white and green light up shapes arranged like a royal garden with shapes on the walls mirroring the floor model.

On the sides of “Arctic Garden” were vases and ceramic works by Paul McMullan.

The various works showed ceramic animals and people conjoined into a menagerie of disorder.

McMullan said, “A couple years ago on eBay I bought 800 molds that were commercial molds from the ‘60s and ‘70s. So what I do is I go around and I cast those and get a whole bunch of them out. I cut them all up, and then I re-piece them all together, and I turn them into these little narratives you see around here now.”

Another sculpture is on display and is surrounded with paintings of the various parts of the piece.

Titled “Alchemy” by Rosemarie Bernardi, the work is an alchemy lab with test tubes, beakers, and flasks simulating a working lab. The piece has felt to represent chemical reactions.

The accompanying series, “Alchemy Studies 1-5,” shows various parts of the sculpture.

Some sculptures had more of an application than just for display’s sake.

Stephanie Nichols displayed her works of art which double as lamps. The various lamps work with rods and spheres and are priced between $700 and $1,700.

“Right now in this show I have some home design pieces, some lamps which were inspired by sculptures I have done in the past which have to do with multiples and units, light, texture, space,” Nichols said commenting on her pieces.

Amidst the sculptures were acrylic pieces by John E. Roberts displaying industrial complexes in a series titled “Nazareth.”

Each piece had Roman numerals allowing for some order in viewing.

Roberts said, “I work primarily with industrial subject matter, so my inspiration comes from a lot of experiences in my life in terms of living both in the Northeast and the Mid-West where there were tremendous amounts of industry within the areas.”

Richard Carlson displayed his oil-on-linen pieces in the exhibit; one such piece titled “Little Sunapee-Prelude to Dusk” is a tapestry of warm colors decorating a vast landscape.

Carlson said, “They’re not portraits of specific landscapes. They are places that I have been to. The paintings on display are of the Sunapee region, Lake Sunapee.”

He went on to say, “You just stare at a blank canvas for awhile and dive in. You just attack the canvas, and I don’t really want to see any image materializing too soon. I want to just paint away until something happens.”

The exhibit will be in the Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery from Jan. 21 to Feb.  26.


Ryan Loredo can be contacted at

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