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Isa Oehry: “Why I Often Exhibit in Hospitals . . .”
Also, D-H symposium on art and health
If you are fortunate/unfortunate enough (take your pick, or maybe both) to find yourself at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center too many days in a month, and the weather is unrelentingly cold and gray, you would find the exhibition “Barn Windows and Folk Art” by artist Isa Oehry a delight, a balm, a whimsy to put paid to any gathered gloom.
“My goal is to bring joy to people when they see my window paintings. That is also the reason why I often exhibit in hospitals,” Isa explained. Several years ago, she began to amass old windows—single, not double-paned—with the hope of constructing a home greenhouse, a project later abandoned because “It’s a really bad idea . . . What to do? That’s when I painted my first chicken.“
She calls her style “folk art, or to use a more Germanic term, “primitive Bauermalerei.”“Primitive” refers to a not necessarily refined technique, a style that suits Isa, who says she has never had any official training in painting. Isa adds, adding another word to my vocabulary: ““Bauermalerei” translates to “farmer’s painting” meaning again the untrained, simplistic style.” Not that painting on glass is easy. It’s an exercise in patience because it takes longer, as each layer of paint must completely dry before another is added.
The current exhibition consists of representations mostly of barnyard animals and some other, feathered ones. Bright colors, a smattering of birches, personality in the faces of cows and owls. Free from the constraints of more formal style, Oehry says “I can with good conscience give a pig a smile, or put a twinkle in the eye of the goat.”
Look for Isa Oehry’s work in the Faulkner Gallery on Level 3 through March 31, 2023. Her website (she is also an author) is here.
And if you are interested in learning more about the connections between art and health, you may want to register for the 4th Annual Dartmouth Health Arts and Humanities in Medicine Symposium on January 27, 2023. It’s an online day-long presentation on various topics, including a program that forged links among the University of Rochester’s school of music, the school of medicine, and its teaching hospital, and a keynote on Music and Epilepsy. Click here to learn more, to see the full agenda, and to sign up. (Designed for professionals and the public; you will need to create an account and if listed professions/positions do not apply, look for “other” in the lists.)
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And in case you are wondering . . . Susan B. Apel shuttered a lifelong career as a law professor to continue an interest (since kindergarten) in writing. Her freelance business, The Next Word, includes literary and feature writing; her work has appeared in a variety of lit mags and other publications including Art New England, The Woven Tale Press, The Arts Fuse, and Persimmon Tree. She connects with her neighbors through Artful, her blog about arts and culture in the Upper Valley. She’s in love with the written word.