The Department of Fine Arts hosts exhibitions on the Hilltop every year in the Dana Center Alcove Galleries, the LLC Galleries in the Living Learning Commons and the Comiskey Art Center. These exhibition spaces feature Saint Anselm students, alumni and professional artists. Visiting artist exhibitions allow students the opportunity to view high-caliber artwork in person and access to learning beyond the classroom. At events, students are able to speak to visiting artists about the process and techniques behind the artwork shown, and also help set up the gallery to gain experience. 

According to Prof. Kimberly Kersey-Asbury, the invited visiting artists come from all sorts of backgrounds, but their artworks bring them together. The guest artists are selected for a number of reasons, for example whether their artwork fits in with a specific class or has similar themes to other artists coming to campus.

This semester, there were several exciting exhibitions on campus from these visiting artists, and here are the highlights: 

Rania Matar’s “A Girl and Her Room” 

Raina Mater
A piece from Rania Matar's "A Girl and Her Room." PC: Rania Matar

On February 22nd, the Office for Diversity and Inclusion partnered with the Department of Fine Arts & Office of Residential Life and Education to reveal a beautiful gallery in the Dana Center. Rania Matar is a Lebanese/ Palestinian/ American photographer and is currently an Associate Professor of photography at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. The opening day included a lunchtime question and answer, talk, and reception with Matar to help raise funds for the Diversity & Inclusion Innovation Fund (DIIF). She creates images of women and girls, while focusing on speaking to individuals and their identities, but also towards gendered and ethnic prejudices. Matar’s work has been widely published and exhibited in museums worldwide which include: the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Carnegie Museum of Art, National Museum of Women in the Arts, and many more. 

“The Role of Arts in Education”

Living Learning Commons
Viewers in the Living Learning Commons hear about a piece of artwork. PC: Kimberly Kersey-Asbury.

On April 14th, the Department of Fine Arts & Office of Residential Life and Education presented visiting artists: Ben Putnam, Chris Archer, and Rachel Montroy in the LLC Galleries. This exhibition, entitled “A NH Artist/Educator Exhibition”, included a gallery talk, panel discussion, and reception from the listed artists/educators. These three artists were chosen to be featured on the Hilltop due to “their use of clay in a non-traditional manner and the role of composition in their works” says the curator of the exhibition, Prof. Kersey-Asbury.

Rachel Montroy is a Lecturer at Saint Anselm College that teaches ceramics and works with the New Hampshire League of Craftsmen. Montroy’s mixed media sculptures are physical and metaphorical meditations on the beauty of natural forms and their growth, and her work embodies a quiet presence that requires a closer observation. Her abstract forms open the viewers to use their own imagination and build their own connections to the natural world with her use of found objects and ceramic sculptures composed through branches or twists of wire. Her work reflects on the births, deaths, and other moments she has experienced in her own life and can be viewed on the 3rd floor of LLC.

Chris Archer is an Assistant Professor at New England College that teaches ceramics and he also leads workshops up and down the East Coast. He delivers his art in functional pottery, sculptural forms, arrangements, site-specific installations, and events that puts an emphasis on the significance of material engagement as a means of critical thinking. He is able to use the gallery as a canvas of its own as he places and arranges his work in a pleasing composition. His works include functional objects, tactility of the hand, and architecture to heighten and create a creative tension between sensory and cerebral awareness. Archer’s works can be viewed on the 2nd floor of LLC.

Ben Putnam is an art teacher at Conval High School in Peterborough, New Hampshire and is “a gifted educator, speaker, and outside-the-box ceramic/mixed media artist”, according to Kersey-Asbury. Putnam’s body of work consists of him playing with words and images while using materials such as: cardboard, raw clay, stone, and paint in composed ways. Putnam plays with the themes of fragility, impermanence, use of resources, and value/preciousness. He also targets themes of absurdity, quiet, the body and breath. His art work is inspired by his mindset that all things change and nothing is permanent. Putnam’s art works can be viewed on the 1st floor of LLC.

Kim Cunningham’s “Linocut Relief Prints and Ceramic Vessels”

Kim Cunningham
Kim Cunningham presents her collection to Anselmians. PC: Kimberly Kersey-Asbury.

On April 26th, the Department of Fine Arts featured the NH artist in an artist talk and exhibition in the Comiskey Art Center Gallery which focused on printmaking, illustration, and ceramic vessels. In the early years of her career, she worked as a graphic designer and illustrator for companies such as Brookstone, Eastern Mountain Sports, and Cobblestone Magazine where she expressed her art through calendars, posters, and logos. Cunningham features her art works in books such as: The American Walk Book by Jean Craighead George (Dutton), Rubber Stamp Carving by Luann Udell (Lark), and Absolutely Wild by Dennis Webster (Godine).