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

Annual Member Show 2021

Each year, the Arts Council welcomes our member artists to submit work to our Member Show. This year, our Taplin Gallery is filled with 114 pieces on view for our community to enjoy, including drawing, painting, photography, sculpture, ceramics, and more. Gallery Hours: Mon-Thurs: 11am-6pm Fri & Sat: 11am-4pm   Opening Reception: Saturday, December 4 | 3-5pm Free and open to the public!

Master Class Artists Exhibit

  The Arts Council of Princeton presents an an exhibition of new paintings and drawings by artists from the Painting and Drawing Master Class instructed by Charles David Viera. This exhibition will be offered in the Lower Gallery and the public is invited to an artists’ reception Saturday, December 4 from 3-5pm. Says Viera “These students are from a special class that the Arts Council is now adding to their regular schedule of classes and is for artists that still appreciate a structured class environment.

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.