October 18, 2016
Michelle Adams O'Regan
Communications and Marketing
| Photo: Anne Connell, A Favourable Reply, 2013.
Collage, gold leaf, gouache, and oil on paper
mounted on panel. 6.25 x 10.25 inches.
Courtesy of Stephen Ongpin Fine Art
The Alva de Mars Megan Chapel Art Center has announced its upcoming fall exhibition, The Silent Heart: Modern Illuminations by Anne Connell, which will feature 24 paintings and works on paper by the artist. It will open to the public on October 21.
A native of Portland, Oregon, Connell is recognized widely for her remarkable body of work. Throughout her career, she has presented several solo and group exhibitions in America and the United Kingdom and has received many grants, fellowships, and residencies. Notably, she was a fellow at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, N.H. from 1998 to 2000, and received a Senior Research Fellowship to Italy in 2002-2003 as a Fulbright Scholar.
Connell is described as a "consummate contemporary master." Her paintings are layered with allusions inspired by traditions from the Italian Renaissance, blended delicately with her own thought and life experience. To create her artwork, Connell uses a variety of media and techniques, such as finely-wrought silverpoint and the application of gold leaf.
Connell employs these techniques in A Favourable Reply (2013), in which she combines painting and gouache with collaged found objects and applied gold leaf to create a work resembling a postcard. The viewer is first drawn to the single eye on the left side, carefully painted to resemble an ivory "lovers eye," popular among European aristocrats of the late eighteenth century. The monochromatic floral details from a sixteenth-century woodcut of a rose bush are paired with the painted landscape in the lower left corner. The landscape is from the background of the reverse of Piero della Francesca's diptych of Federico da Montefeltro and Battista Sforza (1465-1472).
Connell's surreal, illuminated compositions "capture the mind and still the heart," according to Maggie Dimock, assistant curator of the Chapel Art Center. The title of the exhibition, The Silent Heart is deeply embedded in our Benedictine heritage; The Rule of Saint Benedict urges readers to "listen carefully, my child, to the master's instruction, and attend to them with the ear of your heart." The title refers to the quiet interiority one must both adopt and embrace to contemplate meaning.
The curators of the Chapel Art Center, Fr. Iain MacLellan, O.S.B. and Maggie Dimock, were introduced to Connell's work by Stephen Ongpin Fine Art of London, who also collaborated with the center on the exhibition. This will not only be the first major exhibition since the Chapel Art Center's reopening last April, but it also is their first international loan exhibit. Many of the paintings featured are from private collections in the United Kingdom and the United States.
The Silent Heart: Modern Illuminations by Anne Connell will be on view October 21 through December 10, 2016 with an opening reception to be held on Thursday, October 20 at 6 p.m., with the artist in attendance. Information regarding programs, events, and gallery hours may be found on the Chapel Art Center Web site.
Story by Jasmine Blais '17