• Constanze Kirmse, Von der Höh, acrylic on canvas, 27 1/2” x 19 3/4”, 2011
  • Mary O’Malley, Altar #3, metallic ink on paper, 19”x25.5”, 2010
  • Brenda Star, Doe: Arctic Break II, mixed media, 2002

Nature Vive and Nature Morte

Mary Dondero, Constanze Kirmse, Mary O'Malley, Brenda Star

Using the natural world as their inspiration with very different results, the art is sensually tactile, colorful and intricate.

October 9 - November 8

Reception: Reception: October 11, 5-7 p.m.

Art New England Review

Simmons College presents Nature Vive and Nature Morte from October 9 – November 8 at the Trustman Art Gallery, located on the fourth floor, Main College Building, 300 the Fenway in Boston. A reception from 5–7 p.m. will be held on Thursday, October 11. The exhibit and reception are free and open to the public.

Inspiration from the natural world manifests itself very differently in the works of Mary Dondero, Constanze Kirmse, Mary O'Malley and Brenda Star. The art by turns is sensually tactile, colorful and intricate, prompting rumination on the cycle of life. The artists generate a frisson, a realization that life is fleeting, allowing us to pause within the moment.

Mary Dondero presents two bodies of work, flower photographs and ink paintings. Flowers are a traditional symbol of the term Vanitas, or the transience of existence. Our throat catches as we look at these intimately delicate blooms that are sewn, bound or pulled to pieces. Her larger-scale ink drawings are masterfully chaotic, while controlling and releasing energy. Their deft touch and spontaneity call to mind the Zen painting masters of Japan.

Munich artist Constanze Kirmse evokes landscape with her bravura color and abstracted forms. We feel the seasons' moods and light as though we are tramping the ground with her. Her oil and acrylic paintings and works on paper function as lively visual haiku, seizing the moment.

Mary O'Malley's ethereal drawings on paper are conflations of crystal patterns, plants, and insects in an all-over style that draws us into a surreal world. Like Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, we grow and shrink, and delight in the improbable.

Brenda Star's three-dimensional works beckon and repel. Her site-specific installation of dried banana peels writhing their twisted selves across the surface are piteous, yet appear to be some type of ancient hieroglyphics with a message from the beyond. Her En Pointe series of taxidermied deer legs reference our fragile environment but also embed feminist questions.

The Trustman Art Gallery Lunchtime Lecture series continues on October 23 at noon in the Gallery with Simmons College Associate Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures Eduardo Febles.  The title of his talk is “The Art of the Living Dead; Baudelaire, Still Lifes and the Flowers of Evil.” The lecture is free and open to the public.

Trustman Gallery hours are 10 a.m.- 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The gallery is free, open to the public and wheelchair accessible. For more information, contact Marcia Lomedico at 617-521-2268.