Works by Brenda Garand At the Big Town Gallery

The Herald at Randolph

April 9, 2009

In today’s celebrity obsessed world, taste is often dictated by fame. Even the art world can be as full of hype as the entertainment industry. Rock stars of the art world garner big bucks while other deserving artists struggle to survive.

So it is with immense relief and joy that one finds an art gallery right here in our backyard that is not only professional and up to date with the art world of today, but also seeks to promote new and innovative work by artists who have worked for many decades and yet may not be well known to the general public.

Just 15 miles from downtown Randolph in the charming village of Rochester is nestled the Big Town Gallery, owned and curated by the visionary Anni MacKay. She has consistently presented professional, elegant art shows while promoting her artists with fierce passion and dedication. Her recently renovated gallery offers more wall space and excellent lighting to view her always unique and interesting selections.

The current solo show of Brenda Garand’s sculptures and ink drawings, Dartmouth Professor of Studio Art, is no exception.

Garand’s wall sculptures are built with a variety of materials; thin wire, roofing material (often painted), catkins, colored silk or thread. They hang free-floating from pitchforks or metal rods she forged herself. Others hang by large porcupine quills. This innovative method of presentation allows the sculptures to move if coaxed, making their shadows on the wall dance.

Garand also offers ink drawings made with various inks, including walnut ink she makes herself. There are also gouaches and ink drawings in abstract washes of brown and black or deep blue. On one wall nine small paintings in white frames are arranged in a tight grid – another lovely display of Garand’s art world. My least favorite sculpture of the show was the favorite of a stranger I met in the gallery that day. Yet another reminder that art is subjective.

It was on a recent summer’s afternoon that I walked up Big Town’s inviting garden path to the entrance of the gallery. The wide glass doors were fully open and there were Garand’s delicate sculptures hanging from warm white walls, their shadows casting dark replicas. These two worlds, the material and the shadow world, seen through that yawning open breezy space, were captivating.

Go see for yourself. Even if individually you may not be attracted to some of the work, the Big Town shows are always themselves a work of art. Presenting unique and varied work by artists committed to their work, like Brenda Garand’s three decades, Anni Mackay’s elegant and beautiful space is a jewel. As the fall colors unfold, take a drive and become immersed in an artist’s imagination.

Read more about the artist

Brenda Garand