McMullen Museum of Art Boston College


Press Release: Two Exclusive Summer Exhibitions on Display:

Sarah Westlake: Drawings <-> Sculpture
June 14 through August 29, 2004

CHESTNUT HILL, MA (5-5-04) - The McMullen Museum of Art at Boston College will present two exclusive exhibitions this summer, which will showcase artists from Massachusetts. The exhibitions—Refigured and Sarah Westlake: Drawings <-> Sculpture—will be on display from June 14 through August 29, 2004. McMullen Museum Chief Curator Alston Conley is the principal curator for both exhibitions.

"The McMullen is pleased to examine the work of these outstanding local artists and to focus on their previously unexamined relationships to one another," said McMullen Museum Director and Professor of Art History Nancy Netzer.

[MEDIA NOTE: Images from the exhibitions are available upon request from the McMullen Museum: call Naomi Blumberg (617) 552-4676. Exhibition catalogues also are available.]

Opening Event: Monday, June 14

The public is invited to attend an opening reception at the McMullen Museum on Monday, June 14 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The artists whose work will be displayed in Refigured (see below) are expected to attend the event. For more information, or to arrange attendance, please call the McMullen Museum at (617) 552-8587.


This exhibition brings together for the first time works by six Massachusetts artists to examine nontraditional representation of the human. The artists-Todd McKie, Jo Sandman, Andrew Tavarelli (a faculty member in BC's Fine Arts Department), Joseph Wheelwright, Heidi Whitman and Leslie Wilcox-each invent a different visual language, employing various media, to "refigure" the complexity of the human condition.

Following in the footsteps of early Modern artists-like Pablo Picasso, Paul Klee and Jean Dubuffet, who were inspired by non-Western tribal art, children's art and the art of the insane-each uses the image of the human form as a springboard for exploration into human experience.

Tavarelli, Wilcox and Sandman portray themes of mortality and physical vulnerability; McKie, Wheelwright and Wilcox incorporate humor and word play into their titles and imagery; and Sandman, Wheelwright and McKie present correlations between human likeness and natural forms.

Refigured will comprise 54 works of art, including paintings, sculpture and photography. An illustrated catalogue, with essays by Conley and co-curators Naomi Blumberg (McMullen Museum exhibition coordinator) and Katherine Nahum (an adjunct assistant professor in BC's Fine Arts Department), accompanies the exhibition.

Sarah Westlake: Drawings <-> Sculpture

Sarah Westlake, who died last year, came of age as an artist during the 1940s and '50s, entering the cerebral male-dominated world of abstract art. She was one of a handful of female artists of her generation from the Boston area who had an accomplished professional career.

This exhibition of twenty-six drawings, sculptures and folding screens examines Westlake's mature work, from 1984-2002. Synthesizing the structural elements found in the minimal reductive work of Agnes Martin; the rich, decorative aspects of Henri Matisse, and the flat space of Japanese prints and painted screens, Westlake's oeuvre exudes a dynamic tension between unruly, natural forms and planar structures.

"Westlake moved between media with complexity and variation, graphically recording her creative thought process," writes Conley in an essay in the accompanying catalogue. "These works from the last eighteen years of her career show a searching, personal visual language that was strongly felt, yet steeped in restraint. They were exhibited, but perhaps not seen and appreciated widely enough. I, for one, would have been poorer without having viewed and known these works and the creative life they represent."

Between 1984 and 2002, Westlake alternated working in two and three dimensions which, when viewed together, approximate a graphic depiction of her creative process.

The accompanying illustrated catalogue also includes an essay by exhibition co-curator Mary Armstrong, who met Westlake in the mid-1980s and corresponded with the artist. Conley and Armstrong are both faculty members in BC's Fine Arts Department.

Organized by the McMullen Museum, the summer exhibitions have been underwritten by Boston College with major support from the Patrons of the McMullen Museum of Art.

McMullen Museum

The McMullen Museum is renowned for organizing interdisciplinary exhibitions that ask new questions and break new ground in the display and scholarship of the works on view. It serves as a dynamic educational resource for all of New England as well as the national and the international community. The Museum displays its notable permanent collection and mounts exhibitions of international scholarly importance from all periods and cultures of the history of art.

The Charles S. and Isabella V. McMullen Museum of Art was named in 1996 in honor of the late parents of Boston College benefactor, trustee and art collector John J. McMullen. In keeping with the University's central teaching mission, the Museum's exhibitions are accompanied by scholarly catalogues and related public programs.

The 2003-04 academic year marks the 10th anniversary of the formal reopening of the Museum.

McMullen Museum Hours

Admission to the McMullen Museum is free; it is handicapped accessible and open to the public. The Museum is located in Devlin Hall on the Chestnut Hill campus of Boston College, at 140 Commonwealth Avenue.

From June through August, the McMullen Museum hours are as follows: Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. The Museum will be closed on July 4 and 5.

For directions, parking and additional information, visit the web site at or call (617) 552-8100.