The Concussion Diaries Terri Riendeau

January 10 - June 8

“I suffered a serious concussion in April 2017. Alice fell down a rabbit hole; I just fell on the floor. The doctors forbade ‘reading, screens of any sort, and complex thinking.’ For the first four months I couldn’t even listen to music. I wondered if I might go bonkers – and then I wondered if that was complex thinking. Without the capacity for the usual distractions, I found myself in a quiet world of color and composition. In some ways my sensory experience was stripped down, but in other ways it was heightened. On the daily walks required for my recovery, I noticed every detail of spring in New Jersey – leaves unfurling, vines encircling, the patterns in moss – with a piercing intensity.

At the suggestion of a friend I started painting. I had spent a lifetime deeply engaged by twentieth-century American artists and poets. My icons were the two Helens of New York, Frankenthaler and Levitt, and the poets Robert Hass and John Ashbery. At various points my artistic energy went into making photography, writing poetry and weaving, but I had always considered painting off limits. The concussion eliminated my silly, self-imposed restraints, and painting turned the disaster into discovery.

My limited faculties when I started painting freed me from spending any time thinking about why I was painting and what I was trying to say with my work. Two of my paintings, Charlottesville and Categoría Cinco (Maria) are direct responses to current events, but the others are explorations of technique, color and form. Asking myself now about the why and the what, I am reminded of a talk I went to by the photographers Laura McPhee and Virginia Beahan. In response to a student who asked about pursuing a career in art, one of them said, ‘If you don’t need to make photographs, you won’t.’ I am still finding my way as a painter, but I can say for certain that I need to make paintings.”

-Terri Riendeau

More Exhibitions

STEEP: A National Teapot Exhibition

STEEP: A National Teapot Exhibition showcases ceramic work that explores the infinite possibilities of the idea of a teapot, juried by Adam Welch, ceramic artist and ACP Executive Director.    Exhibiting Artists:  Juliet Bacchas Sam Briegel Nolan Baumgartner Casey Beck  Marysia Bohrer Laurie Caffery Sue S. Chiu Rod Dugal Stuart Gair Rebecca Graham Tyler Gulden Eric Hoefer Samuel Johnson Jim Kearns Emma Kohn Cindy Laliwala Liz Lurie Mathew McConnell Mariah McLaughlin Yelena Mijares Peter Pincus Debbie Reichard Eric Rempe Josh Scott Yoko Sekino-Bove Sandra Daulton Shaughnessy

COMMUNICATION BETWEEN FORMS

My work has been evolving recently to include more layers, more color and more depth. I’ve been continuing the push to step away from the usual process, which was: draw a shape and fill in the shape. Instead, I’ve been creating organic forms, activating the negative spaces, layering and mixing paints all while continuing to think as if the forms were communicating with each other. For a long time I was compelled to create very crisp and clean lines in my work. The “graphic designer”

Nature Restores

When working in plein air I try to convey the sense of peace that I feel when working outside, surrounded by the light that I attempt to capture. Interacting with nature is an invigorating force and landscape painting is a timeless art form that reflects our past, and our future. The changing seasons of New Jersey echo the rhythms of our lives. The interplay between a tree and the sky or light and shadow represent the essence of our natural world that should be cherished.

Donor Wheel

More than 2,000 donors are acknowledged in this one-of-a-kind sculpture by Joshua Kirsch

Neighborhood Portrait

The Neighborhood Portrait Quilt is part of a permanent exhibition that tells a story of important leaders and residents.