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  • Coming up in the Gallery at 3S Artspace: ''Phantasmagoria'' featuring works by Mia Rollins / ''Cluster'' featuring works by Craig Hill

    PORTSMOUTH — 3S Artspace announces two upcoming exhibits sharing the Gallery at 3S Artspace: Phantasmagoria, featuring Portsmouth-themed installation works of Mia Rollins, and Cluster, a vast display collage-based works of Craig Hill-- on exhibit Jan. 8 - Feb. 28, 2021. Exhibits at 3S are free and open to the public, and can also be viewed virtually at www.galleryat3s.org.

    “As we welcome the New Year, we welcome new exhibitions full of color, whimsy, reflection, and celebration- particularly of Portsmouth! The indelible marks of childhood live on in the work of each artist and we hope that all visitors and their children will enjoy exploring the work,” said Beth Falconer, Executive Director of 3S Artspace.

    As visitors move through the Gallery, they will travel between a compilation of miniature versions of some of artist Mia Rollins’ favorite Portsmouth locations and scenes: North Church, Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse, Strawbery Banke, plays in Prescott Park, and even 3S Artspace. 

    “These are all spaces that have special meaning to me because I have fond memories of them. The miniatures are not exact replicas- that’s not entirely how my mind works- but they are my own attempts to communicate through objects what each place holds for me. I didn’t grow up in Portsmouth, but I visited so frequently throughout my childhood and teenage years that I feel crucial parts of me did,” said Mia Rollins. 

    Phantasmagoria is about memories of Portsmouth-- not just those sentiments of the artist, but others’ as well-- and the murky divide between memory and imagination, and science and magic.

    Rollins’ most labor and time-intensive piece in the exhibit is the Strawbery Banke House, modeled after a merging of the exterior of the Jackson House, and the interior of the Shapley-Drisco House.

    “[The Shapley-Drisco House] was my favorite when we visited with my grandparents as a kid,” Rollins said. “I really liked that it was separated in the middle, and half was set in 1795 and half in 1955. It provides twice as much fodder for the imagination. I used to imagine what it would be like if the ghosts from both time periods ever crossed over and interacted with each other.”

    To build on the delight and playfulness of the work, videos on the Gallery walls will screen performance pieces that pair with the buildings, and some spaces are even inhabited by “Pepper’s Ghosts.” An audio track accompanies the visual experience.

    “It’s populated with voicemail responses to my ‘Phantastic Hotline’ that I ask visitors to contribute to,” Rollins said. “I hope visitors will share their own Portsmouth memories of love, happiness, peaceful moments, and triumphs so we can populate my little town with all manner of lovely memories.”

     “We all feel a lot lonelier in this strange new socially-distanced world and many of us have been left mining our memories to remember how it felt to do activities we can’t do anymore with people we can’t see anymore, so there may be many people who connect with the sensations I’m trying to communicate,” Rollins said.

    Rollins said, “Unable to be destroyed by the entropy of time, our memories lovingly haunt the alleyways and corridors of our minds, becoming a ray of light or echoing tune in the otherwise still quarters where we keep our histories tucked away.”



    Through painting, collage, and mixed media sculpture, Craig Hill creates visual mash-ups highlighting how iconography expresses American belief structures. His work is filled with visual contradictions and playful circumstances arranged in a single anxious moment.

    This impressive collection of approximately 140 multifaceted works are composed or constructed from appropriated childhood imagery, often using cut or torn fragments of paper media (like comic books and magazines) and grouped or “clustered” on the walls of the Gallery.


    “I start layering torn fragments of colored paper until I have an interesting composition and the whole surface is covered with several layers of paper,” Hill said. “Once I have a strong base to the piece, I add torn pieces of printed matter like comics, posters, wallpaper, and coloring books. I continue building up these materials...I sand back into the image with an orbital sander to give an aged look to the collage and to reveal hidden layers of the collage process.”
    The work often incorporates Disney characters and other recognizable cartoon icons. The Tin Man, Donald Duck, The Avengers, and Lisa Frank kittens all inhabit the layers of these works. Hill noted that the character of Superman has appeared repeatedly in the last 20 years.

    “When I was young, I was obsessed with the Superman movies with Christopher Reeve. I also had many Superman coloring books, comics, and toys growing up, and have many memories associated with those images and objects. He is also a character that many people are familiar with which makes him ideal for many situations I put him in.”

    Images that are normally considered innocent and harmless are placed by the artist in illogical juxtapositions, resulting in a hybrid image composed of multiple parts. Visitors to Cluster will see these tensions at play-- masculine vs. feminine, innocent vs. violent, conscious vs. subconscious, etc.

    “I'm interested in visual tension; whether this tension is created through chance, the use of humor, odd relationships, or the re-examining, re-hashing, and re-interpretation of close encounters with life,” Hill said. 

    He incorporates found materials and appropriated images in the creative process, saying it allows the images to become meaningful because of their symbolic association. 

    “Etsy, eBay, thrift stores are where I get a lot of my materials,” Hill said. “Honestly though, many of the materials and books I use in my work are things I’ve kept from my childhood. Even when I was young, I had an obsession with collecting. I collected toys, comics, baseball cards...like many kids did thinking they had some type of monetary value. Now after holding on to these items for so many years, much of this stuff is basically worthless. So, a few years back, I decided that I would use this material in my collage work. It is interesting using these materials from my childhood because I do have many memories associated with this stuff and use those memories as a catalyst in the creative process.”



    3S Artspace staff has implemented enhanced health and safety measures as advised by the state of New Hampshire and the CDC. For example, visitors will be limited to 10 people at a time in the Gallery and masks will be required. Visitors can learn more in the “Health & Safety” section of the 3S Artspace website.

    Coinciding with the Gallery exhibits, 3S Artspace has launched a virtual Gallery experience (at www.galleryat3S.org) for those who are not ready or able to visit 3S Artspace in person as a way to stay connected to 3S from home. The virtual exhibits will have a 3D virtual tour of the Gallery space, as well as as high-resolution images of works in the exhibit.




    Gallery exhibition dates: Jan. 8 - Feb. 28, 2021.
    Free and open to the public.

    More info on Cluster: https://www.3sarts.org/gallery/cluster 

    More info on Phantasmagoria: https://www.3sarts.org/gallery/phantasmagoria

    Visit 3S Artspace’s virtual Gallery:  www.galleryat3S.org


    Visit 3SARTS.ORG for more information. 

    3S Artspace
    319 Vaughan St. Portsmouth, NH

    About 3S Artspace:
    Curiosity.  Creativity.  Community.

    Through the unique lens of contemporary arts experiences, 3S Artspace invites divergent perspectives and encourages lively discourse centered around issues of today.

    The Gallery at 3S Artspace is an incubator of ideas, facilitator of original content, and is committed to presenting a diverse representation of contemporary visual artists. Each year the gallery presents exhibitions that highlight unprecedented innovation across disciplines, celebrate artistic excellence, encourage lively discourse, and foster an unwavering appreciation for the vital role that art plays in our community.