Art Notes: See this exhibit, even though I haven’t

  • Kim Souza enters Revolution through the back door on Wednesday, May 10, 2006. At the time, she was working two other jobs to help support the vintage clothing store. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to Valley News file photograph — James M. Patterson

  • Louise Hamlin, 'Break of Day at Long Wind,' 2019, oil on canvas. Courtesy Hood Museum of Art

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 6/2/2022 1:14:13 AM
Modified: 6/2/2022 1:14:20 AM

To borrow a sentence from the irresistible cookbook and children’s book author Ann Hodgman, I’m embarrassed to write something about a catalog for an art show I haven’t gone to see, but not so embarrassed that I’m not going to write it anyway.

Hodgman was writing about a recipe for beef stew that deploys canned soup. I am writing about Louise Hamlin, or more precisely the catalog for an exhibition of her recent work now on view at the Hood Museum of Art.

The Hood regularly mounts shows of work by Dartmouth College’s studio art faculty members. I had thought many of these shows were valedictory, a late-career reward for a job well done. Indeed, this show, “In the Moment: Recent work by Louise Hamlin,” went up just after Hamlin retired.

The lead essay in the catalog, by the longtime Hood curator Kathy Hart, who also is now retired, is illuminating on this subject. Hamlin, who came to the Upper Valley in 1990 to work at Dartmouth, exhibited work in the Hopkins Center’s Jaffe-Friede and Strauss galleries in 1996, “in support of her advancement to tenured associate professor.”

As interesting as Hart’s essay is on the subject of how the academic wheels turn, she’s a clear-eyed observer of Hamlin’s work, which she’s been in communion with for over three decades.

“Hamlin chooses to work in series,” Hart writes. “She has said that a subject is like a person. The more you know that person, the ‘more variable they become and the more variations you find.’ ”

As a painter, Hamlin has worked primarily en plein-air, setting up her portable easel and painting on location. She was a student of Rackstraw Downes as an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania. Downes was more of a realist, while Hamlin’s work “privileges painterly abstraction over hard edges and strict renderings of form,” Hart writes.

Lately, it’s occurred to me that some exhibitions might be experienced more fully in book or catalog form. That’s especially true for photography.

I don’t think it’s true of Hamlin’s work, though. She has spent a generous chunk of her time in northern New England out in the landscape, making paintings. She painted paper mills when she first moved here, a transition from the urban scenes she depicted while living in New York City.

And she’s painted the Upper Valley, including the greenhouses at Long Wind Farm, the Connecticut River and some of its landmarks, fog sitting down in the valley, cows lining up for milking. All this, like the landscape itself, deserves to be seen in person and up close, not only for the subjects of the paintings, but for the paint itself.

“In the Moment: Recent Work by Louise Hamlin” is on view through Sept. 3. For more information, go to

Two decades of Revolution

It’s hard to believe Revolution, the vintage and sustainable clothing store, has been the straw stirring White River Junction’s hazy drink for 20 years now.

Kim Souza left a job with good pay and benefits — she was VP of a small travel company — to start the store. Since then, the big lesson Souza has absorbed is that everything is a group effort.

Her sister, Robin Martin, loaned her the money to get Revolution off the ground. And clothing designer Marion Settle, among others, worked at the store while Souza worked other jobs, including tending bar at Carpenter & Main in Hanover.

Even then, the store struggled and nearly went under in 2006.

“The store was literally failing,” Souza said in a phone interview. “I had put it up for sale on Ebay as a publicity stunt.”

Ann and Simi Johnston, a mother and daughter from South Woodstock, stepped and became co-owners. Their investment reopened the store in February 2007 after it was closed for a few months. Revolution 2.0 “has been sustainable since that initial injection of support,” Souza said.

Her pitch to the Johnstons was that if they were looking for a big financial return, they probably should back away, but that if they were interested in investing in a sense of community, this was the place.

This mirrors Souza’s own plan in opening Revolution in the first place.

“That was a conscious decision to kind of go from financial security to a more creative lifestyle, I guess,” she said.

Since then, many other business owners have taken the plunge in White River Junction, and many of them are women. She theorized that many of those business owners prioritize care and community over profit.

She described Revolution as “a clubhouse where everyone is welcome and we sell some stuff” to pay the bills. Sounds like a more humane version of capitalism than, say, Elon Musk’s.

Souza and her merry band of White River Junction regulars are planning to celebrate the anniversary from 5 to 8 on Friday with a parking lot party, with food and music behind the building’s loading dock. She’s keeping an eye on the forecast, and if it looks terrible, she plans to reschedule.

If it goes off as planned, DJ Skar will spin funk and soul music, Fulla Flava will furnish Jamaican food, Nancy the Girl will hold a pop-up vintage boutique and the Bread and Puppet Parking Lot Dance Co. will make an appearance at 7. And the rest of First Friday will be going on around the village.

Another anniversary

The choral ensemble Cantabile Women’s Voices celebrates its 20th anniversary with concerts this weekend featuring a world premiere of Philip Silvey’s Three Essential Prayers, a piece commissioned by Cantabile.

The two 4 p.m. performances, on Saturday in Norwich Congregational Church and Sunday in Lebanon Congregational Church, also include Vivaldi’s Gloria, and pieces Francesco Durante, Hyun Kook, Dale Trumbore and R.F.M. Mann. Tickets and more information are available online at

Tickets will also be available at the door (cash or check only). Adults $15; seniors $10; students $5; children 12 and under accompanied by an adult are free.

Radio Free Vermont

WFVR, Royalton’s low-power FM station, is teaming up with Randolph’s Playhouse Theater and documentary filmmaker Bill Lichtenstein to host a screening of WBCN and the American Revolution at 7 p.m. Sunday. The film documents the pioneering Boston rock station’s influence on the wider culture.

Tickets are $10 and are available at and at the door.

Alex Hanson can be reached at or 603-727-3207.

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