Art and Literature

McMullen Exhibit To Feature Three Parts

By Sean Smith
Staff Writer

Common themes found in writing, sculpture and other forms of expression will be the focus of the McMullen Museum of Art's next show, "Art and Literature: Three Exhibitions," which will run from June 23 to Sept. 20.

The exhibition consists of three parts: "Artists and Writers: Sculpture by Michael de Lisio"; "The Boydell Shakespeare Gallery"; and "Irish Delftware." Michael de Lisio will attend the exhibition's opening reception on Tuesday, June 23, from 6-8 p.m. at the museum, located in Devlin Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

"The exhibitions share a theme, the exploration of literature and art," said McMullen Museum Curator Alston Conley. "They offer a number of fascinating experiences and insights. With Michael de Lisio, we have a sculptor who brings a unique approach to his work, one that constitutes an anomaly among the dominant art movements in the last two decades. The historical aspects of 'Boydell,' meanwhile, will appeal to academic, as well as artistic, interests.

"The exhibition on Irish delftware explores its connection to Irish literature and culture," he added, "which draws upon Boston College's strong resources in the area of Irish studies."

"Artists and Writers" includes 16 bronze sculptures by de Lisio, a self-taught New York sculptor who began sculpting at the age of 55 and whose early work focused on the writers he admired, said Conley, who curated the exhibition.

This sculpture of Sarah Caldwell is included in the exhibit.

"He reinvented technique as he needed, developing an individual style that appears in a series of busts - which include Oscar Wilde, Henry James and Gertrude Stein - all completed within two years," Conley said. The artist's most ambitious sculpture - which includes 10 figures, among them a bust of Shakespeare - offers a link to the Boydell Shakespeare Gallery.

This exhibition includes 31 engravings made from original paintings - depicting scenes from Shakespeare's plays - commissioned by 19 prominent artists, as well as some preliminary sketches.

According to organizers, the exhibition provides unique documentation of the theatrical performances of Shakespeare's plays in the closing decade of the 18th century, and a record of the forces at work during the era which brought the changes from Neo-Classicism to Romanticism. The gallery was the first major effort in the commercialization of art, they note, via the entrepreneurial skills of John Boydell, who opened London's first commercial gallery to exhibit paintings and market engraved prints produced by his printing house.

The Irish Delftware exhibition - which includes works from the McMullen Museum's permanent collection, recently given by Elizabeth Cabot in memory of Elizabeth Josephine Harty - examines the development of porcelain ware in Ireland and the relationship of Ireland's delftware within the greater European development and distribution. The connection between Irish delftware and Irish literature also will be examined by co-curators Jeffery Jones and Tyler McDaniel, graduate students in the Boston College Irish Studies Program.

Accompanying the Boydell Shakespeare Gallery exhibition will be a two-part symposium organized by the Theater and English departments and featuring Burwick. The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place in Devlin 101 on Thursday, Sept. 17 from 4:30-6 p.m. Other speakers will include Assoc. Prof. Mary Crane (English) and Rattigan Professor of English John Mahoney. A performance will be coordinated by Assoc. Prof. Stuart Hecht (Theater).

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