Thursday, October 13, 2011

REVIEW: Jim Richmond at The Chelsea Public Library

by Dian Parker

In the tiny village that I call home there is a unique building made of red brick: the Chelsea Public Library. It shares its Romanesque Revival building with the town hall. The library building features two round turrets with finials, an arched entrance, and marble steps.

Alden Speare, born in Chelsea, helped pay for this building in 1892. Inside the library is a plaque honoring Speare and stating his goal for a perpetual free library, installed over an elaborate fireplace. It is a gem of a building and thanks to its new librarian, Nick Clemens, it has become a gem of a library.

The Chelsea library has now added art to its walls, which makes it even more lively and rich. The current exhibition is by Jim Richmond, an artist who has been painting for nearly 60 years, with a number of his paintings included in collections around the world. His work has been shown in numerous New York City galleries as well as the Dartmouth Regional Show. Most recently he taught at the Mountain School in Vershire, VT.

Richmond’s compositions, that span many years, are striking and often unexpected. A woman leaping up in the air next to a jumping horse. A duck next to a vase of geraniums. In Jackie and Legs, a boxer dog stares at the viewer from a sandy beach with a woman’s sandaled feet following behind. Dash is an oil painting of a greyhound dog in full run, careening along a field with a large unusual house in the distance. The dog is magnificent; muscular and sleek; obviously a creature built for speed. The house is partially hidden; mysterious.

A pair of small paintings, Truckers, portray a large woman driver getting out of her large truck. Only the door of the truck is shown but Richmond still manages to convey the huge size of the truck. In all of his paintings his use of color is intriguing; dark purple mugs on a stark white tablecloth; shocks of orange , green and blue in Rory and the Jumping woman.

Even though I normally do not write of sales figures in my articles, I must mention that of the 15 paintings for sale in the library 10 have already sold. What a wonderful surprise in a climate where art sales are supposedly declining.

We need art to enrich our lives. And the need for public libraries is absolute. Thank you Alden Speare for your foresight. Thank you Nick Clemens for making our library flourish. May the Chelsea Public Library continue to display wonderful art.

The current art exhibit is on display until mid-November. The library is open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, as well as Saturday morning.

This review first appeared in the Herald, Randolph, on Oct. 13, 2011

Jackie and Legs, Dash