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  • ‘We are Wanderers and Sojourners in Curious Landscapes’ — New works by N.H. Art Association artist Joe Flaherty

    PORTSMOUTH – Joe Flaherty, an artist with the New Hampshire Art Association, will hold an exhibit of new work during the month of August at the Association’s gallery on State Street.
    It is titled “We are Wanderers and Sojourners in Curious Landscapes.” There are 17 pieces in the exhibit, most of them done in the large-scale Flaherty is known for in his work. There will also be a bin of small works on paper and greeting cards that use images of the larger paintings. 
    “We are all wanderers and sojourners in curious landscapes that we sometimes cannot see clearly,” Flaherty said. “Often, when we believe we see things clearly, we are not accounting for the physical, psychological, cultural, intellectual and spiritual screens, lenses, and obstructions that interfere with our perception.”
    Flaherty feels people are biased to make order out of chaos and often choose to ignore a curious complexity in order to more quickly and efficiently arrive at order.  
    “I think there may be joy, adventure and power in that complexity, so I try to imagine it all,” he said.
    In this exhibit are paintings that Flaherty simply started with a scene that he saw before him, remembered from some past experience, or imagined. 
    He created the works during the last year, and though not all done during the current COVID-19 pandemic, he said the pieces “seem to address these times we’re in.”
    “I paint over the scene several times to remind me of those screens, lenses, and obstructions that subconsciously blur my view, and, in so doing, I strive to present a truer picture of my perception of the world,” he said.
    His hope is that these paintings, when viewed from a room length distance, gladden the eye with bold colors, intricate lines and pleasant shapes that invite the viewer to look closer.  
    “If one of my paintings succeeds in inviting closer inspection, I would like viewers to get close enough so that their peripheral vision is swallowed up, to stick their noses right up to a painting to find patterns of texture and some vestiges of the many under paintings lurking in islands of revelation,” he added.  
    “I don’t pretend to know what the layers of obstructing complexity look like for any observer of the world, including me, but I want to somehow acknowledge those layers by exaggerating at least the idea that they exist,” Flaherty said.
    Flaherty also hopes that viewers’ contemplation of observed patterns,
    relationships, and revelations in some way “lift the spirit” by conveying
    different ways of looking at the world with its many complex layers. 
    Stop by and help celebrate the N.H. Art Association’s 80th year as the oldest art association in the state.
    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.
    GO & DO
    ‘We are Wanderers and Sojourners in Curious Landscapes’ – an exhibit by Joe Flaherty
    Where: New Hampshire Art Association’s Robert Lincoln Levy Gallery, 136 State Street, Portsmouth
    When: Aug. 5 to Aug. 30 
    Gallery Hours: Tuesdays, 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.