Art Notes: A painter of spiritual vision

  • Ben Frank Moss talks about his work in his studio in Hanover, N.H., on Oct. 14, 2008. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 8/14/2019 10:00:26 PM

Back in 2008, the Hood Museum of Art held a retrospective show of work by Dartmouth College studio art professor Ben Frank Moss.

Moss, who was then a couple of years away from retirement (he taught at Dartmouth from 1988 to 2010), painted vast landscapes on a small scale, creating lyrical works that played with how we shrink the world down in order to perceive and remember it. He often deployed formal, almost square canvases, some as small as 4-by-5 cards, and then gave his imagination free rein to fill them with sky, sea, stone, sand or whatever other natural forms rose up.

His process was an organic mix of memory, current perception and technique that emerged from a place he wasn’t always certain he could locate.

“Most of what I’m telling you I’m not sure about,” he told me in an interview at the time, “because I work from doubt.”

Like many people who search for the spiritual through material means, Moss may have begun in doubt, but he maintained through his work a tenuous kind of faith that shone and occasionally glowered from the surface of his paintings.

Moss died on Friday, Aug. 9 according to an obituary in the Valley News. We’ll have his work to remember him by. The Hood Museum put out a catalog along with the 2008 exhibition, and it holds several of his paintings. And he is represented by several galleries, including BigTown Gallery in Rochester, Vt.

Of note

The Springfield, N.H., Historical Society is hosting an art show and sale on Friday and Saturday as part of the town’s 250th birthday celebrations. The show opens Friday with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Town Meeting House and continues from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Proceeds from sales will benefit an effort to add a lift to the town’s historic Meeting House to improve access to the building’s second floor.

Openings and receptions

Matt Brown Fine Art, in Lyme, opens an exhibition of paintings by Marcie Maynard and handmade furniture by Peter Maynard with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday. The Maynards are a husband and wife duo from South Acworth, N.H. Through Oct. 12.

BigTown Gallery opens “East to West: A Ceramic Dialogue,” a show of ceramics by Mark Pharis, Liz Quackenbush, and Cappy Thompson, with a reception from 3 to 5 p.m. on Saturday. The show is on view now and runs through Sept. 28. Also at BigTown: Works on paper by Tunbridge artist Lisa Kippen, through Aug. 25.


AVA Gallery and Art Center, Lebanon. Summer Juried Exhibition. Through Wednesday.


Aidron Duckworth Art Museum, Meriden. “Exhibition XXXIV — The Multitudes Contained,” the museum’s final exhibition of Aidron Duckworth paintings and drawings, is on view through Sept. 27. “Lush Surface,” new paintings and works on paper by Boston-area artist Anne Johnstone; “Sharp Focus,” new sculptures by New York City artist Dan Waller are on view through Sept. 8. “Tactics/Being Close” a site-specific, interactive sculptural collaboration by Lucy Pullen and Tom Butter; and “Bugs About/Diagonal Science,” recent sculptures in a variety of media by Langdon Graves, are on the grounds through Sept. 8.

Betty Grant Gallery, Converse Free Library, Lyme. “How’s it gonna end?” drawing and paintings by Lyme artist Carl Mehrbach. Through Sept. 28.

Center for Art + Design, Colby-Sawyer College, New London. “Coming Home: The Ceramics of Vivika and Otto Heino.” Through Oct. 15.

Center for the Arts, New London. Tatewell Micro Gallery shows oil paintings by Charlotte Thibault and photographs by Garrett Evens.

Chelsea Public Library. “Sadie’s Fancy Work,” embroidery by Sadie Kennedy, of Chelsea. Through August.

Cider Hill Gardens and Gallery, Windsor. Outdoor sculpture by William Ballantyne and paintings in egg tempera and gold leaf by gallery co-owner Gary Milek.

Collective — the Art of Craft, Woodstock. Ceramics by Andrea Trzaskos, as well as works by jeweler T. Breeze Verdant, glass sculptor Alissa Faber and fiber artist Jennifer Johnson. Through September.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon. The shows feature Elliot Burg, Jane Masters and Mark Washburn, photographs; Bruce Conklin, oil paintings; Sherry Saint-Germaine, botanical drawings; Sara Goodman, textiles; Hartford High School Art Students and the Cardigan Mountain Arts Association.

Hall Art Foundation, in Reading, Vt. Shows include “Made in Vermont,” works by Vermont artists; exhibitions by Richard Artschwager and the super-realist artist Malcolm Morley. On the grounds: “English Sculptors in New England.” Admission is $10, except on the first Friday of the month, when it’s free.

Kilton Public Library, West Lebanon. Lebanon native Sam Wiebkin is the current artist-in-residence at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. An exhibition of her work is on view through September.

Ledyard Gallery, Howe Library, Hanover. Recent work by members of the Cardigan Mountain Art Association. Through Oct. 2.

Library Arts Center, Newport. The “Selections Exhibit,” work by Debbie Campbell, Rod Keller, Susan Lirakis, Gillian Martlew, Meg McLean, Susan Parmenter, Adele Sanborn and Ann Saunderson. Through Sept. 19.

Local Buzz Cafe, Bradford, Vt. “Feathers, Fur & Flowers,” photographs by M.L. Gitchel. Through Sept. 5.

Long River Gallery, White River Junction. “Landscape Meditations: Pattern, Texture, and Line,” ceramics by Sheilagh Flynn, through Sept. 2, as well as paintings by Kathy Detzer.

North Common Arts, Chelsea. Abstract encaustic collages by Barre, Vt., resident and mixed-media artist Athena Petra Tasiopoulos.

Norwich Public Library. “Catching the Eye,” photographs by Rosamond Orford. Through August.

The Roth Center for Jewish Life at Dartmouth College, Hanover. “Antigua Revisited,” photographs by Mort Wise. Through Sept. 6.

Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park, Cornish. Works by Augustus Saint-Gaudens. In the Picture Gallery: “Augusta Homer Saint-Gaudens: Stepping Out of the Shadows,” a show of paintings and personal artifacts that illuminate the life of the woman who created the Saint-Gaudens Memorial, the forerunner of the national park. Through Sept. 2. Admission to the park is $10 per person age 16 and above.

Sculpture Fest, Woodstock. Outdoor sculpture at the Prosper Road home of Charlet and Peter Davenport. Stefania Urist and Roger Goldenberg are the featured artists. This show is open dusk to dawn. “Vermont Carvers & Sculptors Exhibition,” work by 15 Vermont sculptors, at the Woodstock History Center.

Steven Thomas Inc. Fine Arts & Antiques, White River Junction. Work by Upper Valley “vintage” artists, such as Alice Standish Buell, John Semple, Horace Brown, Neil Drevitson and Robert Caulfield.

Tunbridge Public Library. “The Tunbrige Fair,” paintings by Bridgewater Corners artist Rae Newell. Through Sept. 5.

Two Rivers Printmaking Studio hosts “Land on Paper,” a group show of landscape prints, through Aug. 31.

White River Gallery, South Royalton. “Scattered Geometry,” ceramics by Jenny Swanson and Holly Walker. Through Sept. 6.

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

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