The figures are depicted as pensive rather than passive, creating a tone of moodiness.
By Katrina Margolis
Hometown Weekly Reporter
The walls of North Hill are lined with some of the greatest art in the world. Picasso, Klimt, and Hopper greet your eyes as you stroll through both of the community’s large buildings. However, something that sets North Hill apart from many other senior living communities is its Art Gallery. Currently housing an exhibit entitled “Figuration in American Art,” the gallery hosts a number of different artists, including those from the area, displaying their work for the members of the community and beyond to enjoy.
This particular exhibit displayed selections from the permanent collection at Danforth Art at North Hill. There were works by a wide range of artists including William Morris Hunt, Marie Danforth Page, and Mabel Woodward. The works exemplify representations of the figure, which can be laden with symbolic meaning. “In the late nineteenth century, a distinctive academic style emerged in New England which evoked a sense of nostalgia and domestic comfort,” the accompanying plaque explained. “While the artist’s work may appear decorative, there is deeper meaning in these images that separates them from a sentiment of placid domesticity.” Most notably, each figure is depicted lost in pensive though, creating a tone of moodiness instead of passivity.
As the times changed within the first decades of the twentieth century, figural representations began to shift towards social realism. “Artists who had studied with painters who prized impressionistic and atmospheric qualities began to depict figures as less idealized, and more stoic,” explains the exhibit. While these works are not purely decorative, they are certainly pleasing to the eye, and create a creative setting unmatched by many similar facilities.