On a cold winter night, Washington artists Tim Cole and Mark Devlin received a warm welcome at the opening of their show “Inside Out” in the Loft of The Smithy in New Preston. Guests strolled through the rustic loft, browsing through works that paired well – the daring drama of Devlin’s oil paintings against the crisp, calm loneliness of Cole’s introspective, sometimes dizzying photographs, with all the artistry of the show appears to take place in a time warp of the loft’s rough wooden walls.
Show host Susan Newbury named the contrast show “Inside Out” as a “natural pun – rippling valleys of light and shadow in Mark’s shirts and landscapes … and a shirt can be seen and used upside down “.
Newbury says she also discovered that Mark’s landscapes were views from inside her window of Bethlehem, Connecticut, the kitchen or living room.
“Mark’s shirts played well with Tim’s conceptual photography, which was also upside down – buildings, scenes, light, etc.
Indeed, a simple white shirt becomes a study of cream, aqua and soft gray, with one arm in chaos and the other calm and flat. A peaceful green meadow fills with mystery in the center, with a white building overshadowed by dark and perhaps ominous trees in the background. Devlin’s photos evoke the feeling that two stories are playing out on the web.
Born in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1961, Devlin began to paint in earnest at the age of 10, studying with watercolorist Helene (EH) Pierce in Amherst, New Hampshire, where he grew up. His mother was an oil painter and has been a continuing artistic influence to this day. Mark won first prize at the Amherst Art Fair in 1972, cementing his passion for painting.
At Columbia University in New York and Paris, his passion for art diversified into architecture. He studied and worked for Robert AM Stern, Rafael Viñoly and James Stewart Polshek. Devlin has worked in New York, San Francisco, Paris and Bangkok, returning to New York to open his own residential architecture / interior firm in 1995.
After moving to Washington, Connecticut, in 2002, Devlin began taking classes with the Washington Art Association and has studied primarily with Patty Keville Fogle for the past five years. Devlin lives, practices, and paints in Bethlehem, where he finds expansive views and bright, clear light that are his inspiration, he says.
Cole’s works, although they use a different medium and color palette than Devlin’s, also take on familiar scenes and draw the viewer to wonder where the real story lies … in the brick building or beyond. beyond the glass? Is sunlight intended to obscure or illuminate? Another photo of Cole, a cacophony of trees, brush, rocks and sky is disorienting… much like walking down a rabbit hole into another world.
“I often think of the most fascinating of my photographs as visual poems,” Cole says of his work. “When they work, they pick up on the stuff of ordinary life seen in ordinary light, while presenting it in an extraordinary way. They become reminders of the magical moments that fill our lives even when we are not paying attention.
He started writing poetry as a teenager, but didn’t start taking “serious” photographs until his late twenties, he says.
“Over the years, I have continued to write and take photos sporadically, sometimes with long interruptions separating the periods of greatest creative productivity,” he says. “During a career that has taken me to work in a wide range of disciplines, I spent 18 years as a framer, an activity that sharpened my sense of focus and my attention to composition and dynamics. pictorial when creating images. Over time, as my photographic acuity evolved, I began to realize that there was a “poetic” quality in many of my favorite images.
Images often implicitly depend on culturally charged contexts: architecture, shaped landscapes, built environments, sometimes even the bits of text that we encounter in the form of signage and the like in urban settings, he says.
“Of course, images don’t become linear and progressive like written texts are, but they sometimes draw upon a body of pre-existing images and cultural memories resembling a language,” Cole explains.
Many of Cole’s photographs in the exhibit were taken last year. Inspired by the concept “Inside Out”, Cole selected a wide range of images intended to evoke this idea in a playful light.
“I hope visitors to this exhibit will experience the photographs shown here with that perspective in mind,” Cole said. “This is my first show. I am honored to be offered this opportunity. “
“Inside Out” runs through February 21 at the Smithy’s Loft Gallery, 10 Main St. in New Preston. Hours of operation are Wednesday to Monday from 10 am to 5:30 pm For more information, visit thesmithystore.com or dial 860-868-9003.