On display in the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts since Dec. 2 are various paintings by John Mendelsohn, adjunct professor in the studio art program at Fairfield.

The main exhibit in the Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery consists of 48 different paintings from Mendelsohn’s collection titled “Passing.”  These works were painted from 2010-2011.

For the past 15 years, Mendelsohn has worked with the idea of movement in his paintings. They are abstract works that show different kinds of movements and patterns in painting. The collection is made up of five series: ‘Turbulence,’ ‘Crosswalk,’ ‘Vanishing,’ ‘Flayed’ and ‘Paradise.’

“Each series has its own character,” wrote Mendelsohn in an essay describing his works, “but they are all involved with states of radical change. Instability and dissolution appear in many forms; absence and presence are in continual dialogue.”

Describing the physical look of the paintings, Mendelsohn wrote, “The paint itself is treated physically: combed, marbleized, wiped off and scraped away.”

The first series of the paintings on display in the Walsh Gallery, ‘Turbulence,’ use shades of orange, yellow and red that invoke the idea of a sunset. ‘Crosswalk’ uses white, black and, eventually, gray. ‘Vanishing’ is made up of rainbow colors fading into white. ‘Flayed’ is red, green and white. The three pieces of ‘Paradise’ are used to separate the other series and are rainbow-colored. With the exception of the ‘Paradise’ series, the paintings are displayed in the order they were painted in.

“The majority of the visitors to the Walsh Art Gallery are visitors to the Quick Center of the Arts. The gallery is open to the public before and during intermission of Quick Center performances, and is a feature that many Quick Center patrons take great advantage of.”

However, when asked how many University students take advantage of the opportunity, Wolk-Simon stated that, unless assigned by a professor not that many students attend.

However, she “wholeheartedly recommends” that both students and community members take advantage of the wonderful opportunity.

“Many of the exhibitions at the WAG include original works by living artists, which is an entirely new and unique experience for some of our visitors.”

Mendelsohn, one of these artists which students and community members have the opportunity to see, stated that he has loved art since he was a child and has made a profession of it since leaving college. He has done paintings, drawings, works on paper and more.

Speaking of his inspiration, Mendelsohn explained, “I’ve noticed that I find myself getting a glimpse of something – either out in the world or in my imagination. I want to see more of it, so I try to see it better. This involves both visual phenomena and feelings that I’ve gotten an introduction to and want to know more about.”

Speaking about his paintings at the Gallery on February 10, Mendelsohn spoke of his inspiration for one painting in particular, ‘Meeting.’

“I was walking along the Hudson River. I saw water meeting water and I wanted to capture that.” This inspired Mendelsohn to pain the ‘Meeting’ painting, a zigzagging mesh of blues, greens, and yellows, highly reminiscent of water.

A good turnout of students attended the talk at the Walsh Gallery. Many were brimming with questions, which they were given the opportunity to ask after the talk.

Mendelsohn, a professor, finds his students to be interested in his work. However, he would like to see “even more of a focus” on art in the Fairfield curriculum.

“One thing I want to emphasize about the paintings in the gallery is that they’re all abstract, but, for me, they’re also emotion. They have a kind of momentum and a kind of evocative feeling. I hope that people will give them a chance to affect them.”

Also on display in the Quick Center lobby are six other paintings by Mendelsohn, ‘Zigzag,’ ‘Shift,’ ‘Fall,’ ‘Crisscross,’ ‘Phase’ and ‘Meeting.’ These works also explore movement in painting, and are called “Six Movements.” Linda Wolk-Simon, director of the Walsh Gallery, spoke about how paintings are chosen.

Both “Passing” and “Six Movements” will remain on display in the Quick Center until February 27.

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