“It’s Smaller Than I Thought.”
If you’ve ever come face to face with the actual Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris, chances are you (or someone crowded against you in the viewing space) uttered the title of this post. It’s also the name of an exhibition at Safe and Sound Gallery in Burlington VT, on view until August 31.
According to a review in Seven Days by Pamela Polston, “Gallery owner Marin Horikawa said he ‘cold emailed’ 60 artists — from as near as Vermont and as far as Tokyo — of whom 15 came through. The result was an impressive variety of interpretations” of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Kevin Foote’s exquisite work, “No More Smile,” for example, has done away with the original Mona’s most enigmatic feature. Janice Wu drew on a staple of coping during the isolation of the pandemic —the jigsaw puzzle—in “2020 Mona.”
Among the artists with Upper Valley or near-local connections are Vermont’s Nori Pepe, born in West Lebanon NH, who offers a somewhat worn and beleaguered “Mona,” and Ken Rush, who divides his time between Brooklyn NY and Danby VT. (An exhibition of Rush’s work, “Summer Days,” just opened at the 3 Pears Gallery in Dorset, VT.) Of “Mona’s Pool,” (above) Rush stated, “During this Covid period, I have been obsessively painting swimming pools. It just made sense to make the swimming pool a Mona Lisa pool—-after all, Leonardo professed an enormous interest in the visual mystery and the physical capability of water.”
Not going to Burlington anytime soon? Click here (and then click “learn more” if needed) to see how these 15 artists reinterpreted the most famous painting in the world. It’s an exhibition to ponder over your morning coffee.
Artists (click on the name to take you to the artist’s website) include Katie Benn, Christopher Delorenzo, Kevin Foote, Naomi Gallay,Tait Hawes, Robin Hextrum, Cassandre Montoriol,Kevin Moore, Naijelgraph, Nori Pepe, Robert Pokorney, Ken Rush, Jake Scharbach, Ty Williams, Janice Wu, and Yoshi 47.
Safe and Sound Gallery is located at 2 Church Street, Burlington, VT. Current hours are THU,FRI,SAT,11AM - 4PM
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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