How the Morning Itself Appears
Recent Works By Gregory Deddo
Exhibit Dates: November 6- December 16
Opening reception and talk with the artists:
November 11, 2023 4:30-6:30 PM
"When Greg Deddo joined the faculty at Gordon College a little over two years ago, he inherited an art program in transition with all senior art faculty retirig or leaving for another institution. He was also just starting out his vocation as a professor and his calling as an artist, having recently completed his MFA degree at Rhode Island School of Design. Yet there is a maturity in both his pedagogy and his art that could easily be associated with a more experienced person—a depth and nuance one associates with someone more settled and certain.
But Greg’s art is all about unsettling our certainties: notions of self and other, location and memory, action and interpretation, appearance and reality. And his work interrogates our notions of time and place and the sense of self that flows from the stories we tell (or fail to tell truly). The artist seems to ask, “What is real?” and points, in his multi-layered collage-like imagery, toward the ambiguities involved in how we remember and script our past to form an identity and chart a future for which we long. Family, geography, socio-economic status—the facts of our situatedness—this is the realm of discourse he questions with great insight via the layering effect of his images. He deconstructs our past and present even as he articulates that “inconsolable longing” that C. S. Lewis discusses in The Weight of Glory—a famous sermon delivered by the Oxford don only months after the Blitz destroyed so much of London and its people. This is longing for a better way—a world in which the fragments are rejoined and reveal the once and future harmony for which everyone yearns.
Deddo has not only physically blurred his fragmentary images but has also attempted to evoke the blurring of time and place and narrative—allowing his viewers to “cut and paste” their own stories and memories—something (he suggests) we are always doing consciously or unconsciously. All memory is constructed; layered, collaged. And our unfinished/ongoing stories are reflected in Deddo’s choice to leave areas of his paintings unpainted, scraped, or partially wiped-out. In each piece he seems to ask the questions that the French master painter Paul Gaugin poses in the famous (and monumental) masterpiece, Que sommes-nous? Où allons-nous? (Who are we? Where do we come from? Where are we going?). These first-level questions haunt all of Deddo’s work here and encourage us to become more aware of our constant reconfiguring, re-interpreting of events and relationships.
To drive this home forcibly, in one project Deddo invites other people to write stories to accompany snapshots of the artist’s own family—effectively fictionalizing the persons and events in those images through imaginative outreach. The artist then appends those imaginary scenarios to the photos and presents them as possible “histories”. The “morning” in the exhibition title is both a literal dawning—a certain light––but it is also the sunrise of insight, a morning that comes after the long night of doubt.
Encouraging his viewers to bypass predictable storylines and embrace the ambiguity of our lives, Greggory Deddo enables us to encounter afresh the wild open-endedness of life itself. In my view this is a profoundly life-affirming body of artwork—and for that I am grateful. Grateful to have a younger colleague who is looking hard and long at how we orient ourselves in an uncertain world—and bearing witness to a golden thread of faith that all these fragments will one day cohere and form a brilliant tapestry of reality, beauty, and truth in the coming kingdom of God."
Bruce Herman, Gallery Director
Barrington Center for the Arts, Gordon College
Gregory Deddo is an interdisciplinary artist working primarily in painting, photography, and video. He graduated with a BA in studio art from Judson University and holds an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. His work explores the nature of images and media as they relate to history, memory, and identity. Deddo has exhibited in group and solo exhibitions across the county. He has also received several grants and scholarships in support of his work and is a Harvey Fellow. Gregory is currently an Assistant Professor of Arts at Gordon College. He lives in South Hamilton with his wife, two sons and daughter.
Artists: Robert and Patricia Hanlon
Reception Date: August 31, 2023 4-6 PM
Exhibit Dates: August 23- October 7
Location: The Gallery at Barrington Center for the Arts
Material Evidence is a selection of multimedia artworks by Robert Hanlon and Patricia Hanlon from the past 30 years. Though none of the individual works were collaborative, the exhibit springs from the common ground of a 46-year marriage, and from the Hanlons’ long-term involvement in their family business, Walker Creek Furniture.
The materials include byproducts of the furniture-building process; old tools and other human artifacts collected from flea markets; and all sorts of stuff retrieved from the trash, from roadsides, beaches and woodlands. The resulting artworks include furniture, collage, assemblage, paintings. Some stay still; some rotate and bounce and dance.
Robert: “‘Material’ implies stuff, but also, in the legal sense, relevance. Most of these materials are highly irrelevant, mostly pulled from, or moving toward, the rubbish bin. But when they take on the form of a creature, a person, or a turtle, they transcend their physical limitations and embody creation (and imply a Creator).”
Patricia: “This exhibit can be seen as a nudge not to ignore our discarded stuff, especially as it continues to pile up in our landfills and oceans. But we also hope to bear witness to the glorious variety of the Earth’s substances and processes—including, of course, the additional complexity of human making and unmaking.”
About Patricia Hanlon: Patricia Hanlon is a science-oriented nonfiction writer and self-taught visual artist who finds both inspiration and challenges in the places she has lived and worked. Born in Los Angeles in 1954, she moved to Massachusetts in 1976 and has lived, ever since, near the woods and wetlands of Cape Ann. Subject matter for her paintings has ranged from the spillways and intake towers of the Hoover Dam to the waterways and islands of the Essex River Basin. The common theme is a fascination with ecotones—the liminal edges between land and sea, between nature and technology.
A very different body of assemblage work has emerged alongside traditional painting. It began with doing furniture-finishing work in the Hanlons’ family business, Walker Creek Furniture.
She spent a lot of time sanding painted surfaces with progressively finer grits of sandpaper. “I loved the resulting marble-smooth textures, the rich colors and the subtle pentimenti. I also loved the look and feel of the sandpaper itself, and began making collages with it.” She has adorned these sandpaper grids with shattered windshield glass, iridescent beach coal, wristwatch movements, marbles, and so on—items found at flea markets or by the side of the road or deep in the woods.
“A friend once said that artists are people with hyperactive eyeballs. I’m happy to report that it only intensifies with age—an unexpected gift as I close in on my seventieth year.”
About Robert Hanlon: Robert Hanlon makes furniture, paintings and assemblage from used, discarded fragments of quite various materials: architectural salvage, broken chairs, rusted iron tools, old door panels, tree stumps, rocks.
“I started trash picking as a child with my parents at the town dump. Mom stayed in the car because of rats and sent me to fetch old furniture and mirrors to fill our rambling 19th-century farmhouse.”
Later in life, when the landfills all closed, he found the stuff in dumpsters and on roadsides. The appeal was largely economy, but it was the beauty and the stories that kept him stockpiling his entire life. “I don’t think it’s the same thing as hoarding,” he says, “but some might disagree.” Old walls became tabletops, columns became bedposts, door panels layered with paint suggested paintings, but the little bits of wood and metal that accumulated in boxes took on a life of their own. Pareidolia, the inclination to see faces and figures where they are not, is the animating force.
“I’m mostly trying to throw stuff away,” he says. “But it seems to come alive in order to stop me. I don’t come with any ideas. I find them in the objects and their interactions. The assemblage that results is minimal, involving little or no cutting, joining or finishing. I want people to encounter these pieces as I found them.
“They dance on springs, twirl on fishing line, or just stare back at you. They all make me laugh. If they don’t, they go back in the box.”
The Gallery at Barrington Center for the Arts hosts four major contemporary art exhibitions each year and two spring thesis exhibits of work by senior art majors. The art gallery is situated in the Barrington Center for the Arts at Gordon College and directed by Prof. Bruce Herman, Lothlórien Distinguished Chair in the Fine Arts.