Blockbuster Art Show Commemorates Gallery’s First Decade

Paul's Rocket at First Light #141 by Stephen Hannock

Paul's Rocket at First Light #141 by Stephen Hannock

(WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass.) – Harrison Gallery celebrates its tenth anniversary starting Saturday, July 2, with a retrospective exhibition featuring artists whose work has been shown in the gallery over the past ten years, including such prominent names as Stephen Hannock, John MacDonald, Hale Johnson, Nick Patten, Wayne Thiebaud and Susie Cronin.

All four rooms of the Gallery will be filled with paintings, sculpture, ceramics and photographs by these and other artists who have reached their greatest prominence during the past decade. They’re reunited for this show to celebrate the ten-year anniversary of the Harrison Gallery.

Jo Ellen Harrison, owner of the gallery and curator of the show, has collected the art from artists, private collectors, her own inventory, and museums throughout the country to stage this month-long exhibition.  The show is arranged chronologically, with each artist in a section that represents the year he or she first exhibited at the gallery.

Some of the works are for sale, while others are on loan for the duration of the show. The Williams College Museum of Art, for example, loaned Harrison one of Stephen Hannock’s renowned luminous paintings of the Ox Bow in the Connecticut River. (Another painting in this series is in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum in New York). Harrison herself contributed a strawberry red vase by Brother Thomas from her own collection, and Susie Cronin donated one of the twelve existing copies of her sculptural work, To The Rescue.

The exhibition is a free-for-all of styles and mediums, bringing together a wide variety of disparate artists who share one common trait – they’ve all been represented by Harrison Gallery..

Harrison claims this is an historic gathering of artists. Under one roof visitors can see ceramics by Brother Thomas, the Benedictine monk who created exquisite porcelain works rooted in spirituality, realist paintings by Hale Johnson whose views of worn out farms speak eloquently of rural life, classic landscapes of the Berkshire Hills by Williamstown resident John MacDonald and whimsical bronze sculptures by Susie Cronin that bring both smiles as well as looks of admiration for her skill as a sculptor. Her work in this show, To The Rescue, was the all -time favorite window display in the Gallery’s history.  It depicts a squirrel that had just stolen an acorn being chased by ten little acorns who are trying to rescue their comrade.

In one randomly picked section for the year 2003, one can see the works of pop artist Wayne Thiebaud, works by Peter Hussey showing his crisp architectural watercolor vignettes, Mark Davis, the Boston-based mobilist whose brightly colored works move gracefully with the slightest breath of air, and Mary Sipp-Green, whose atmospheric, misty paintings of early morning landscape led her to be the gallery’s biggest selling painter in 2009.

A Stephen Hannock landscape from 2002

A Stephen Hannock landscape from 2002

Nick Patten, the perennially popular artist who paints intriguing room interiors, is well represented in the show, as is Jane-Bloodgood Abrams whose radiant paintings of earth and skies light up the gallery. The far-reaching show includes Kim Denise and her intricate pastel still lifes, Tracey Helgeson with her magenta barns, Stanley Bielen and his impressionist flowers and Eng Tay, the native of Malaysia, whose figures reveal the tender feelings that pass between people in serene situations. Petria Mitchell’s freewheeling brushstrokes make high drama of landscape while Hideaki Miamura displays graceful, long- necked porcelains that seem to glow as they float on an air of tranquility.

The Harrison Gallery celebration – starting at 10 am on Saturday, July 2 — will spill out into the street as a community event with free balloons, curbside music and an artist working at his easel painting a scene of Spring Street. John MacDonald will give a demonstration on his art technique in making “digital woodcuts,” and Susie Cronin will show how to make a bronze sculpture.  There will be a raffle and, of course, a birthday cake.

Jo Ellen Harrison graduated from Williams College in 1979 with a degree in art history and studio art and then went on to get a graduate degree in art history at Harvard. She spent twenty years in the software business in Boston before deciding to open her own art gallery. Williamstown was her first choice for the Gallery because of its special place in the art world with The Clark, MASS MoCA and the Williams College Museum of Art all clustered around the small village. She also considered the area’s brisk tourist trade, the traffic generated by Williams College and the number of second-home owners who had the knowledge and the means to buy fine art. On May 31, 2001, she opened the doors to the new gallery on Spring Street and sold her first piece of art. “It’s been so long ago,” she says, “ I can’t remember if it was an Eng Tay etching or a Gracia Dayton watercolor – but either way, it was an artist who is still with the gallery today.”

The Harrison Gallery is located at 39 Spring Street in Williamstown, Mass.  Gallery hours are Monday – Saturday, 10 to 5:30, Sunday 11 to 4. For further information please contact The Harrison Gallery at 413.458.1700 or visit Harrison Gallery.








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