East Wing Gallery

The Mount Wachusett Community College East Wing Gallery will open two new art exhibitions by local artists Jesse Connor and Tracie Pouliot on October 17. An opening reception will be held on Friday, November 4 from 4:30 to 7 PM and will feature talks by each artist as well as an opportunity to tour the gallery.

Artist Jesse Connor’s exhibition entitled “Far Reaches” includes large scale paintings that borrow from close observation of settings, houses or nature with unusual emotionally charged interpretations of color. Connor lives in western Massachusetts, teaches painting at MWCC and is an active, highly respected artist with many recent exhibitions across the state. He is a dedicated teacher and artist working in acrylic and oils.

Work from “Far Reaches” by Jesse Connor

Work from “Far Reaches” by Jesse Connor

Artist Tracie Pouliot’s exhibition entitled “Oral History Book Series: Chair City Community Workshop” is based on the lives of 14 workers in the last furniture manufacturer in Gardner. Pouliot is a local artist who opened a grant-funded community art center in Gardner to complete the book series project. She first took printmaking in the MWCC Teen Art summer program and fell in love with it. Pouliot then went on to get her bachelor’s degree in printmaking and a Master’s degree in Community Art /Public art before returning to the area as a new adjunct faculty member in the art department, teaching printmaking. Her exhibition was orchestrated in conjunction with a National Endowment for Humanities grant.

Work from “Oral History Book Series: Chair City Community Workshop” by Tracie Pouliot

Work from “Oral History Book Series: Chair City Community Workshop” by Tracie Pouliot

All are welcome to visit the gallery, attend the reception and participate in the free gallery talks. The East Wing Gallery, housed in the Raymond M. LaFontaine Fine Arts Center on the Gardner Campus, is open Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 5 pm. The Gallery will be closed on November 11 in observance of Veterans Day.

"Resurrection" Oil on linen painting by John Pacheco

“Resurrection,” oil on linen painting by John Pacheco is among the works on display in MWCC’s East Wing Gallery through Oct. 4.

An exhibition of recent abstract paintings by Mount Wachusett Community College Professor John Pacheco is on display in the college’s East Wing Gallery through October 4.

Pacheco’s work is influenced by abstract expressionists and artists that saw spiritualism in the process of painting and the contemplation of color and abstraction.

“Painting abstractly, I can compose using color in ways that my previous attachment to figuration wouldn’t permit. The paintings exist like a piece of music – evocative rather than specific,” Pacheco said about the collection. Titles, such as “Caveman,” “Day at the Beach,” “Resurrection” and “Koi Pond” compensate for the lack of narrative, he said.

Born in Cambridge in 1949, Pacheco earned his MFA in painting from Boston University and a BA from Yale College for studio art. He began his career at MWCC in 1980 and served as Director of the East Wing Gallery from 2004 to 2015. He retired from full-time teaching in 2015, and continues to teach at MWCC as an adjunct instructor.

MWCC’s art department offers art majors and non-majors a comprehensive program that includes painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics and printmaking. Faculty, all of whom are working professional artists, actively assist students with developing transfer portfolios, college applications and scholarships, and teach basic digital tools required for success. Small classes lead to a close-knit, active and inspired community.

The associate degree in art is a cost effective way to begin a college degree and prepares an art major for transfer to four-year programs at colleges and universities, said Department Chair Thomas Matsuda. Graduates have successfully transferred to Massachusetts College of Art and Design, University of Massachusetts, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Montserrat College of Art, Maine College of Art, Boston University, Pratt Institute, and others.

The associate degree in art includes the core general requirements for state programs giving the flexibility to transfer into other degrees, and by substituting designated courses it will align with MassTransfer. The college also offers a liberal arts degree with an art concentration that allows students to minor in art.

Comprehensive studios include large gas and electric kilns and an outdoor ceramic firing area, bronze casting, and printing presses. Just outside the studios is the East Wing Gallery. which hosts annual student exhibitions, alumni and professional art exhibitions and houses the permanent collection of student work purchased by the college.

A student organized art club raises funds or trips to local galleries, museums and an annual bus trip to New York City. Students gain practical experience in their field through service learning and volunteer opportunities.

MWCC’s art department is an integral part of the college and community, offering free gallery talks, an artist lectures series, open figure drawing sessions, art student lectures, high school art teacher workshops and a summer youth art program. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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Paintings by MWCC alumnus John Rosis (’77) will be on display in the East Wing Gallery through Dec. 7. Pictured is Rosis’ “Fresh Things,” a 2014 acrylic on canvas.

The artwork of Mount Wachusett Community College alumnus John Rosis (’77) has been presented in galleries throughout the Northeast. Currently, his paintings are on display in MWCC’s East Wing Gallery through Dec. 7, when a reception will take place from 1 to 3:30 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public.

Rosis works with several mediums concurrently, including large-scale paintings on canvas, small-scale reverse paintings on glass, and collages on paper. His paintings feature line, form, texture and color, as derived from nature.

With a penchant for creating complex relationships out of simple shapes, Rosis has developed a strong appreciation for the hands-on process that drives all of his painting projects.

Rosis’ work has previously been shown at Hopper House Art Center, Brooklyn Museum, Paul Sharpe Contemporary Art, and Rockland Center for the Arts in New York; Holter Museum in Montana, Southern Vermont Arts Center, Berkshire Art Museum, and Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Regular hours for the East Wing Gallery are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The gallery will be closed Nov. 27 and Nov. 28 for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Remillard art exhibit

“Don’t Steal the Show,” an exhibition of artwork by Mount Wachusett Community College alumnus Michael Remillard is on display through Oct. 31 in the East Wing Gallery. Regular gallery hours are Mondaythrough Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“Purification” Rubbing of charred wood from the burning of Purification sculptures at Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL. 2011 on handmade paper with flower petals. 24″x 30″ New Years Day 2012.

“Purification,” traditional Buddhist sculptures and contemporary work by Thomas Matsuda, will be on exhibition at Mount Wachusett Community College February 18 through March 15 in the East Wing Gallery of the Raymond M. LaFontaine Fine Arts Center.

An artist’s reception will take place Thursday Feb. 21 from 5 to 7 p.m., and an artist’s talk will take place Wednesday, Feb. 27 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., both in the gallery. The reception and talk are open to the public. Regular gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Born in Connecticut in 1956, Matsuda earned his BFA in drawing and painting from Pratt Institute, and his MFA in sculpture from the University of Massachusetts. He began his career as a lithographic printer in New York, creating abstract drawings, paintings, and prints influenced by Eastern philosophy. His interests led him to accompany a group of Japanese Buddhist monks on a peace pilgrimage that involved walking across America for six months. He then spent six months in Arizona with the Navajo.

Following these experiences, he traveled to Japan in 1983, where he apprenticed under the renowned sculptor Koukei Eri for two years, before moving to a remote mountain village for 10 years. There, he carved sculptures from wood he hauled out of the mountain forests and from stones he selected from riverbeds. While in Japan, he created more than 200 sculptures for temples, shrines, villages, businesses and individual patrons.

“Fire, air, water, earth and space are the five elements in eastern culture,” says Matsuda, an art professor at Mount Wachusett Community College. “I use these natural elements in my work, often burning wood. Each time, my work evolves with the situation, site, inspiration and materials. I have created large fire ritual/performances at many venues. I have collaborated with dance troupes, musicians, Buddhist monks, and Native Americans. I deal with the environment, natural and human, addressing environmental issues, cultural relationships, and the integration of art, culture, and spirituality.”

Matsuda has had solo exhibitions in major cities in Japan and throughout the United States. His outdoor sculptures are in sculpture parks, parks, and universities nationally and internationally including Pedvale Open-Air Museum, Latvia; Maria Howard Arts Center, North Carolina; Morton Arboretum, Illinois; Western Michigan University, Michigan; Fields Sculpture Park, New York; Abington Sculpture Park, Pennsylvania; Smith College, Massachusetts; University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Leverett Peace Pagoda, Massachusetts; Grafton Peace Pagoda, New York.

The Conway, Mass. resident has exhibited in group exhibitions in major galleries in New York City including Exit Art, as well as at galleries in Qatar, Egypt, Germany, London, Bejing, Hungary, Rumania, India, and Japan. He has been awarded many grants, including from the Adolph and Ester Gottlieb Foundation, U.S. Embassy, the Japan Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Blanche Colman Award.

In 2009, he created and curated the traveling exhibition ‘Prayer Flags Around the World,’ which has traveled through New York and Massachusetts to Boston, France, Romania, Netherlands, and Germany, and will proceed to Australia, Switzerland, Sudan and Vietnam.

Matsuda describes his work as a culmination of all of his experiences and ideas. “I am constantly striving to realize a synthesis of East and West. Koukei Eri said, ‘In the West, sculpture, like most forms of art, is viewed as a medium of artistic self-expression. By fixing his name to his works, the artist seeks to manifest his individuality – as well as to seek eternal recognition. With Buddhist sculpture, however, what is important is for the artist to devote himself wholeheartedly to his task in an attitude of benevolence. That’s why you will find no signature or seal on a Buddhist image.’ In this way, I approach my own art and the work that I pursue,” Matsuda says.

Matsuda teaches drawing, design and sculpture at Mount Wachusett and also teaches at the College of New Rochelle Graduate School, New York. He previously taught for many years at Pratt Institute. For more on the artist and his work, visit www.tmatsuda.com.