Amazing Addison

Thump. Thump. Thump. The room seemed to pulse with a hidden heartbeat and a vibrant energy. As the wall’s bright orange and fluorescent green stripes squirm under a spectator’s steady eye she simply remarks, “Amazing.” “Amazing” was the general sentiment felt this Friday in the Addison at the joint opening of two art shows, On Paper- Masterworks from the Addison Collection, and Sol Lewitt-Recent Acquisitions, which included the bright orange and green wall painting. On Paper explores the extent of the Addison’s two-dimensional art collection, incorporating 150 of its most extraordinary artworks. One of the most prominent of these masterpieces is “Untitled” by John Newton. In this work, Newton created a startling blue tube that twists and turns, ending in a swirling red and orangeball. The shapes are surrounded by mathematics and physics equations perhaps denoting that life is only an “equation.” Another piece, “Site Lines” by Jason Middlebrook, shows a stream of items such as rocks, trees, people, and amoebas, disappearing into a black dot. Both of these works were made using a combination of pencils, pastels and charcoal to create interesting textures and effects. A more traditional piece, “Plums” by Charles Demuth, has also been incorporated into the On Paper display. A watercolor of rich purple plums cascading from a vine, its use of light and dark tones causes the eye to move from the top of the work to bottom in one sweeping glance. “Little Boy in Blue” by Mary Cassat is another more conventional work. It shows a young boy gazing of into the distance with an innocent expression. Soft pastels, lightly smudged, create the piece’s softness. A third notable piece in the exhibit is “Study for Saul Reproved by Samuel for not Obeying the Commandments of the Lord” by John Singleton Copley. This picture displays a horse in mid-stride with his head thrown back and torso fading away. Although this graphite and chalk drawing was created centuries ago, it still seems to captivate its viewers with its strength. Meanwhile, the Sol Lewitt exhibit only explores the work of one artist. The most captivating piece in the exhibit is “Wall Drawing #716.” Although designed by LeWitt, Phillips Academy students created the piece. It included a black grid of 12’ by 12’ squares with white chalk lines. Although primarily wall drawings, the LeWitt display included some works on paper. “Isometric Projection” is a pencil and black ink hexagonal prism. The simplicity of the piece makes it easy to miss, while the lines keep observers intrigued. The sharp “Nine-pointed Star with Color Bands” features stars that seem to be layered on top of one another causing an almost three-dimensional effect. In both pieces plain lines hold people’s attention and allow for a spectacular exhibit. The On Paper and Sol LeWitt exhibits will be at the Addison until April beckoning to anyone who wants to see works of genius.