NORTH ADAMS -- Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts’ Berkshire Cultural Resource Center will welcome artist Michele Lauriat to the Branch Gallery, where she will present "Spot Pond" as part of the BCRC’s DownStreet Art initiative.
The public is invited to attend a free opening of this show at Branch Gallery on Thursday, July 25, at 18 Holden St., from 6 to 9 p.m.
Lauriat’s work presents a range of watercolor landscapes, which she creates through the use of water-soluble media, pencil and collage on paper. Her art provides viewers the opportunity to reflect on surrounding landscapes in North Adams and the Berkshires, and explores the idea of our sense of place. Her watercolor landscapes are inspired by Spot Pond in Melrose, a conservation area not far from where she lives. As a child, she picked blueberries there with her father while listening to stories about his childhood adventures in those very same woods. These days, it is her nephew who explores the area with her, and fishes as she draws.
"I am very excited to have this opportunity to show my watercolor drawings as part of DownStreet Art’s 2013 event, ‘Beyond Industry,’" Lauriat said. "I propose that my ‘Spot Pond’ drawings represent a return that often occurs with an attempt to move beyond."
As she creates her art, Lauriat focuses on the idea that one’s ability to see a place fully is limited by both the mechanics of their eyes and the intrusion of their mind. Rationally, we have expectations about what will be in a space, and memories of similar places that mingle with our real time perception, never really allowing an unbiased observation. The bias and memories associated with Spot Pond allow her to communicate her emotions through her artwork, she explained.
"It is exciting to have such an influx of talent at the Branch Gallery," said Cecilia Wright ‘16, associate gallery manager of the gallery. "I am sure the community will love Lauriat’s artwork and the story behind it."
Lauriat received her Master of Fine Arts degree in 2011 from the University of Massachusetts. In 2012, she held several positions: She taught painting and illustration at New Hampshire Institute in Manchester, N.H.; was an art instructor for Munroe Center for the Arts in Lexington; and was the gallery manager of SM&KK Studios in Chicago, Ill.
"Spot Pond" will be open from noon to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays; and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays. The exhibit will be on view until Aug. 25.