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Field Visions exhibit closes, panel discussion draws attention to landscape, abstraction

Stone Art Gallery
​The Boston University Art Gallery on the first floor of the College of Fine Arts. The Field Visions exhibit, an exploration of the possibilities of landscapes, lasted from June 14 to Sept. 14. ELIZA NUESTRO/DFP STAFF​​

An exploration of the possibilities of landscapes came to a close on Wednesday at the Boston University Art Gallery located on the first floor of the College of Fine Arts.

The Field Visions exhibition which opened on June 14 in the gallery inside of the Faye G., Jo, and James Stone Gallery culminated in a panel discussion on Sept. 13 with the exhibition’s curator Matt Murphy and three Field Visions artists.

For Murphy, he said the title illuminates the meaning of the exhibition. The “Field” refers to both the artistic field of the picture plane and a “field” in the literal landscape sense.

“Visions” also holds multiple meanings. Beyond describing the sense of sight, Murphy said there is a hallucinatory implication of the word and also a sense of cohesion.

“This is an attempt to tie everything together,” Murphy said. “Maintain the kind of individual visions of each artist as they see their work, to contextualize, but also to respect the space that they’re trying to create.”

Managing Director of BU Art Galleries Lissa Cramer said the exhibition displayed an understanding of landscape that is “contemporary” and “abstract.”

“Our artists are thinking outside the box and really stretching their minds to really challenge the idea of landscape,” Cramer said.

For summertime exhibits, Cramer said she looks for exhibits with “lighter themes” that she can leave running longer than usual so more students will have the chance to stop by when they return to campus in the fall. When her friend and former colleague Murphy came to her with the project, it checked all the boxes.

“This painting show is absolutely beautiful,” Cramer said. “It was number one on my list for a summer exhibition.”

Rajita Menon, 2018 doctoral graduate from the College of Arts and Sciences, decided to stop into the gallery because she said she noticed some of the artwork was created by her former housemate Matt Hufford.

“[Hufford’s] work always is like a window into the wilderness,” Menon said.

Each of the artists in the exhibit, Menon said, had a unique perspective on landscape.

“It makes me want to look at the pavement and construct shapes and paintings that are all around me all the time,” Menon said.

Menon said her favorite work was “Bog/Promise” by Wilhelm Neusser, a painting which depicts a group of people wading through a cranberry bog.

Natalie Conway, a freshman in CFA, said she had been “peering into the space,” but Tuesday night was her first time walking through the gallery to see the paintings up close.

“I’m really enjoying the juxtaposition of such different approaches to observing outdoor spaces and translating that into a painting,” Conway said.

The panel discussion which marked the end of the exhibit took place in the gallery. Moderator Josephine Halvorson talked to panelists Murphy, another Field Vision artist Stephanie Pierce and artist Richard Ryan.

Conway said she attended the panel because Pierce is one of her professors, and she was excited to see the “unexpected places” the conversation between the artists, curator and moderator would go.

“Some of the people on the panel… I’ve heard them speak about their work before,” Conway said. “I think the part that’s most exciting to me is what emerges from the combination of the people.”

The panel discussion was part of the Tuesday Night Lecture Series hosted by the BU Art Galleries and the School of Visual Arts.

“I’m glad that there’s a program that is focused on painting the way that BU focuses on painting that can at least metabolize these kinds of conversations,” Murphy said.

Murphy said it was exciting to know there was an audience for the type of painting he had put on display.

“I honestly thought I was making a show that ten people and ten mothers would be really excited about,” Murphy said.

On the contrary, the audience for the panel was full, with many people pulling up additional chairs, standing or sitting on the gallery floor.

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