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  • ‘Book of Sorrows’ up at NH Art Association through Nov. 1

    PORTSMOUTH – The New Hampshire Art Association will be showing the work of multimedia artist Judith Heller Cassell from Sept. 30 through Nov.1 at its Robert Lincoln Levy Gallery.
    “This is an accumulation of several years of work and I am using each wall of the (back gallery) as a different chapter of the ‘book’,” Heller Cassell said. “I have several sculptures in different media as well as monoprints and collages of photo images.” 
    Heller Cassell was born in a log cabin in rural Virginia and those days spent musing in the shadows of the Blue Ridge Mountains shaped her life just as the damp, moody hollows she wandered through as a child would influence the creative spirit behind most of her work.
    “Book of Sorrows” is an accumulation of a lifetime of memories and many years of work.  
    “While some are drawn from current events, all are based on the pathos and angst of the human experience and the harm and violence we inflict on one another,” she said.
    “During World War II, my father moved his family temporarily to Norfolk (Virginia) so he could work at the Naval Ship Yard,” she continued. “Though very young, I have vivid memories of the terror I felt as sirens screamed at night, shades were pulled tight during civil air patrols and hushed voices as adults discussed ‘war,’ not knowing what it meant other than something that was very bad. I remember the day horns and whistles were blasting, people were outside singing and my mother telling us the war was over and we could now go back to our mountain home.”
    Heller Cassell recalled the Saturday her father came home from work and told her mother that the country was at war with Korea. 
    “I recall the fear I felt as I now knew what ‘war’ was,” she said.
    “I remember that same fear and anxiety as all the young boys waited for the call-up for Viet Nam.  The confusion we felt as we didn’t understand the whys. That same confusion and fear surfaced again when Iraq became our nation’s focus and this time it was our sons and daughters who would carry the banner.”
    And so it goes, again and again, Heller Cassell said. Plato’s statement, “only the dead have seen the end of war” is the first chapter of “Book of Sorrows.” 
    The gallery is following the CDC and state’s recommendations for safety while visiting during the COVID-19 pandemic. Call 603-431-4320 if you have any questions or would like to make a private appointment to visit the gallery due to any concerns.
    The New Hampshire Art Association is celebrating its 80th year and is the oldest art association in the state.
    GO & DO
    “Book of Sorrow” – multimedia art by Judith Heller Cassell
    Where: New Hampshire Art Association’s Robert Lincoln Levy Gallery, 136 State Street, Portsmouth NH.
    When: Sept. 30 – Nov 1. 
    Gallery Hours: Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sundays from 12 to 5 p.m.: closed Mondays and Tuesdays. (Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, please call the gallery regarding hours before traveling a distance at 603-431-4230.)