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Art Notes: White River Junction Artist Displays Daily Drawings

  • Sarah Smith, of White River Junction, will exhibit her drawings, one made each day for over a year, at the Main Street Museum through the month of November. "I've never really seen myself as a gallery person," said Smith in Hanover, N.H., Friday, October 28, 2016. "I'm more interested in normal people having my work." Smith has thought of selling her art on a subscription basis customers. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • In addition to her daily drawings, Sarah Smith, has included some of her drawings in her hand made books, like this one entitled Minutes: Dance Steps for the Beleaguered. Hanover, N.H. Friday, October 28, 2016. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Sarah Smith, of White River Junction, is the program manager of the Book Arts Workshop at Dartmouth College. Beginning in August 2014 Smith challenged herself to make one drawing every day and post it on social media. The results of her work will be on exhibition at the Main Street Museum beginning on November 4. Photographed at the Book Arts Workshop in Baker Library in Hanover, N.H. Friday, October 28, 2016. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Sarah Smith, of White River Junction, is the program manager of the Book Arts Workshop at Dartmouth College. Beginning in August 2014 Smith challenged herself to make one drawing every day and post it on social media. The results of her work will be on exhibition at the Main Street Museum beginning on November 4. Photographed at the Book Arts Workshop in Baker Library in Hanover, N.H. Friday, October 28, 2016. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • One of Sarah Smith's daily drawings that will be displayed at the Main Street Museum through November 2016. Courtesy of the Sarah Smith

  • One of Sarah Smith's daily drawings that will be displayed at the Main Street Museum through November 2016. Courtesy of the Sarah Smith



Valley News Staff Writer
Thursday, November 03, 2016

What if your daily scribblings, drawings or musings, the kinds of stray thoughts that chase across your brain, were exhibited for all to see? What if you posted them online daily? For many of us, the prospect would be horrifying. Who would want to look at or listen to the flotsam and jetsam that washes through our minds? (Oh wait, it’s called Twitter.)

But for Sarah Smith, an artist who is also the Book Arts’ Program Manager and Instructor at Dartmouth College, the idea of coming up with new work every day and putting it out there for everyone to see was a challenge she couldn’t resist.

An exhibit of 365 drawings she made from July 2015 to July 2016 opens Friday at the Main Street Museum in White River Junction as part of First Friday. There will be an opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m. The show, “Now, What Was I Doing?” is curated by Laura DiPiazza, who has organized previous shows at the museum and at other venues in the Upper Valley.

The project started casually, Smith said in an interview in her office at Dartmouth. She would post drawings on both Facebook and Instagram, and she began to notice that people responded enthusiastically. Soon, there were suggestions that she post work daily. (The entire scope of the project is now on Tumblr at http://olfactorypress.tumblr.com.)

At first Smith wasn’t sure she could follow through on the idea but the “fear of public shame” that might arise from not doing it kept her going, she said. And it relieved her of the idea that every drawing, every time out, had to be superb.

“One of the great things about doing it every day is that you can see patterns,” Smith said. “Some days are no good, but the next day will be great.”

While no one would relish having the public see work that seemed not up to a standard, there was freedom, Smith said, in just letting work fly and see where it went.

She realized that it’s possible to be too precious, too cautious about doing and showing work, and that the beneficial act of drawing and writing daily spilled over into her larger projects.

Smith, who lives in White River Junction, grew up in Massachusetts and got her M.F.A in Book Arts and Printmaking at University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Her work is in the collections of a number of institutions, including the Boston Public Library, the Harvard Art Museums, Yale University and at the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley.

She has also worked as a book conservator at the Northeast Document Conservation Center, in Andover, Mass., and the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts in Philadelphia. And in August and September of this year she was a printer in residence at the University of Otago in New Zealand. Next spring, she will teach at the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction.

The drawings themselves take the form of visual puns, and word play. A spatula talks to a spoon. Two saguaro cacti exclaim that they haven’t seen each other in ages, but that they “haven’t changed a bit!” A man and a woman are seen hurrying somewhere, panting, while one says to the other “Hurry up! We have relaxing by the fire to do!”

And, yes, there are cats.

Although Smith has stopped the daily posting for now, she may go back to it at a future date. The beauty of it was its speed and immediacy. Taking it up to another artistic level would defeat the original purpose.

“Anything that would make it more of a project would kill it,” Smith said.

“Now, What Was I Doing?” continues at the Main Street Museum through Nov. 28. Smith will give a gallery talk about the work Friday at 7 p.m.

Openings and Receptions

As part of First Friday, Two Rivers Printmaking Studio in White River Junction holds a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday for “It Takes Two,” a show of work by Sue Schiller and Nancy Wightman. Schller exhibits three-dimensional constructions from etchings and Wightman shows a series of etchings of cranes (i.e. the bird). The show runs through Nov. 30.

Down on South Main Street, Scavenger Gallery will host a First Friday wine-tasting and reception from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. for the show “Lost and Found” by Margaret Jacobs. The gallery will close temporarily from Nov. 10 through 20.

Of Note

The Norwich Historical Society will host an illustrated talk Sunday at 1:30 p.m. by Polly Forcier, a Norwich resident, and expert on 19th century decorative arts. Forcier will speak about the famous 19th century itinerant muralist Rufus Porter. Porter traveled throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states painting landscapes in people’s houses, in a style that would now be described as “folk art.”

Long River Studio and Galleries in Lyme plays host this weekend to the New Hampshire Open Doors artist’s studio tour (nhopendoors.com) this weekend. Stephen Silver, of West Lebanon; Robin Ascher, of Piermont; Case Hathaway-Zepeda, of Hanover; Jelena Milone, of Lyme, and Kathy Swift, of Lyme, will be on site with their work and/or doing demonstrations. And artists familiar to Upper Valley audiences also open their studios individually: among them, Long River artists Betsy Derrick in Hanover, Matthew Brown in Lyme, and Matthew Greenway in Lyme. Weekend hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.

Ongoing

Arabella, Windsor. The gallery exhibits works by local artists and artisans in a variety of media, including jewelry, oils, acrylics, photography, watercolors, pastels and textiles.

AVA Gallery and Art Center, Lebanon. “Take Home Geometry,” an exhibition of work by Gerald Auten, the director of the Studio Art exhibition program at Dartmouth College, and John Kemp Lee, also in the studio art exhibition program, continues through Thursday, Nov. 11. Both artists will give a gallery talk on Nov. 11 at 4 p.m.; a closing reception will follow at 5 p.m.

Also at AVA, the “Vermont Watercolor Society’s Fall Juried Exhibition,” which features the work of 40 Vermont artists, runs through Nov. 11.

Cider Hill Art Gallery and Gardens, Windsor. “All the Seasons,” a show of work by Gary Milek, runs through Nov. 20.

Claremont Opera House. Marilyn Ray, a radiologist who works at a number of hospitals in the Upper Valley, exhibits paintings inspired by the Baha’i faith in the John D. Bennett Atrium. The show runs through Nov. 17.

Converse Free Library, Lyme. “Paul Klee: The World Through My Lens” continues through Dec. 23.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon. The photography of Nicolas Doak; acrylics and pastels by Norman Rhodes; work by members of the Upper Valley Ship Modeler’s Guild; fiber art by Dianne Shullenberger; digital art by Gloria King Merritt and oils and acrylics by Prabhjot Kaur are on view throughout the hospital. The exhibitions close Dec. 31. For information call the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Arts program at 603-650-6187.

Hall Art Foundation, Reading, Vt. “Landscapes After Ruskin: Redefining the Sublime,” curated by photographer Joel Sternfeld, continues through Nov. 27.

Hanover League Fine Craft Gallery, Hanover. The autumn exhibition features work by ceramicists Robin Ascher and David Ernster, textile artists Rachel Kahn and Kathleen Litchfield, and photographer Rosamond Orford.

Hood Downtown, Hanover. The photographs of Laetitia Soulier are on view in the exhibition “The Fractal Architectures” through Dec. 11.

Hopkins Center, Hanover. The sculpture and paintings of artist-in-residence Diana Al-Hadid are on view in the Jaffe-Friede Gallery, and “Speak! Listen! CT! A Kaleidoscope of Architectural Elements for Public Space,” with work by Zenovia Toloudi of Studio Z, and students, is in the Strauss Gallery, both through Nov. 13.

Howe Library, Hanover. An exhibition of colorful abstract work by Amy Fortier, “Mandalascopes and Faux-zaics” is up through Nov. 29.

Kilton Public Library, West Lebanon. An exhibition of work by Enfield painter Penny Koburger continues through January.

OSHER at Dartmouth, Hanover. Photographer Thomas Urgo shows his work in the exhibition “World Views” at the OSHER offices at 7 Lebanon Street in Hanover through Dec. 20. Also showing photography are Anne Baird, Janice Fischel, Nora Gould, John Lehet and Lilian Shen. Hours are: Monday-Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Fridays, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, Cornish. The Saint-Gaudens NHS has closed its picture gallery for the season. The grounds are still open to visitors.

SculptureFest, Woodstock. The annual celebration of three-dimensional art continues through foliage season. “Grounding,” a show of site-specific work curated by sculptors Jay Mead and Edythe Wright, is on view at the King Farm, while the Prosper Road site also shows new work. For more information, go to sculpturefest.org.

Two Rivers Printmaking Studio, White River Junction. Sue Schiller and Nancy Wightman exhibit their prints through Nov. 30. A reception is planned for First Friday, Nov. 4, from 6 to 8 p.m. Two Rivers member-artists are also exhibiting work related to Northern Stage’s current and upcoming productions of Macbeth and A Christmas Carol in the lobby of the Barrette Center for the Arts, through December.

White River Gallery at BALE, South Royalton. “Touching at a Distance” continues through Dec. 11. Hours are Monday-Friday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Or by appointment: contact gallery director and curator, Dian Parker at dianparker9@gmail.com.

Nicola Smith can be reached at nsmith@vnews.com.