Tuesday, August 17, 2010

REVIEW: Linda Hogan at Kellogg-Hubbard Library in Montpelier

By Theodore A. Hoppe

As an artist, Linda Hogan has, in her own quiet way, become a creative force in the local community of Montpelier. Her photography is often on display around town at places like the State House, Montpelier City Hall and Artisans Hand. She documented the community's response to the potential of a late winter flood in 2008, and some of her images were used for the banners in front of City Hall.

In her current exhibition of photographs in the second floor Kitzmiller Room at Montpelier’s Kellogg-Hubbard Library, Nature's Six Basic Shapes: A Visual Exploration, Linda Hogan has accomplished two things that artists rarely do anymore – return to an exercise in academic discipline, and pay homage to an inspiring teacher and mentor of her life. The work is on exhibit through August 30.

Reserving a place to exhibit art is usually done months in advance, and while exploring a theme for the work she might hang, Hogan recalled a time back in the 90's when she had the chance to work closely with poet Deborah Digges. Both woman had a great love and respect for the wonders of nature. "Like it was yesterday, I recalled the day that she, in her signature soft, mesmerizing, and animated authority revealed to me, as she often did, yet another of her many favorite interests – The Six Basic Shapes in Nature. I decided it would be the perfect theme for the exhibit."

Over the years student and teacher fell out of touch with each other, as so often happens. Hogan attempted to reconnect with her mentor about the exhibit, and maybe encourage Digges to return to Vermont to give a "nature talk." Hogan says her heart sank when she discovered that the poet had passed on. Still the inspiration remains: "I dedicate this show to Deborah Digges, and her scholarly and immense voice and heart, and soft spirit," says Hogan.

Shape is a basic element of art. "The Six Basic Shapes in Nature" includes the star, sphere, spiral, helix and two others, poetically defined as "branching" and "meander". Each of the images carries a predominant shape, and in many one can also find a subtext of secondary shapes. Hogan's photographs capture these shapes repeating themselves in numerous ways: slices of fruit, asters and petunias, and a sleeping cat curled up in a ball.

Viewers of the show are asked to vote for their favorite image and it, in turn, will be donated to the Kellogg-Hubbard Library for their Silent Auction later this year.

Images: Citrus, Cat as Wooly Bear