The Hippo


Mar 26, 2019








“Chelsea View” by Reed Kay.

See “Architecture in New England”

Where: Southern New Hampshire University’s McIninch Art Gallery, Robert Frost Hall, 2500 N. River Road, Manchester
When: On view Nov. 19 through Dec. 19; reception Thursday, Nov. 19, from 5 to 7 p.m.
Admission: Free
Contact:, 629-4622


New England cityscapes
SNHU show explores regional architecture through art

By Kelly Sennott

Rome, Barcelona, Paris and Athens may be renowned for their architecture, but Professor Colin Root makes a strong case for New England’s gems in an upcoming art exhibition at Southern New Hampshire University, “Architecture in New England.”

“Certainly there are cities elsewhere in the world that have a more drawn-out history,” Root said. “But if you go to other parts of the country in the U.S., they don’t have the same depth. Even in Los Angeles, all you’ll see are 20th-century buildings. … They’re knocking down buildings to build the next new thing. We like to keep those things and build next to them and have them interrelate, rather than tossing them aside.”
The show, curated by Root, is on view Nov. 19 through Dec. 19 at the school’s McIninch Art Gallery and contains photos, paintings, drawings and physical objects that represent the region’s ever-changing architectural styles, with work by artists Ben Aronson, Reed Kay, Richard Raiselis, and Peter Vanderwarker. 
Root and McIninch Art Gallery Director Debbie Disston will be at an opening reception on Thursday, Nov. 19, from 5 to 7 p.m., to talk about the exhibition, which coincides with a course Root’s teaching about the history of architecture. Five oil paintings, five large-scale photographs and a few historic images will decorate the tiny gallery’s walls.
In Root’s opinion, New England has some of the most complicated and layered cityscapes in the country.
“The thing that makes architecture in New England is that you have multiple different periods and styles, which are all built adjacent to one another,” Root said via phone last week. “The 19th-century buildings, the modernist buildings — they all kind of inhabit a lot of the same space in New England, and they speak to one another in lots of different ways.”
That this happens is in partial thanks to the region’s old age. Some of its buildings are more than 400 years old. Root looked for artists who have juxtaposed new and old in their work, and the majority of the pieces he found reflected Boston structures — the Boston Public Library, Trinity Church, Boston City Hall, Quincy Market and Copley Square, for example. However, visitors will find a taste of New Hampshire, too, in an ink and watercolor of the Walter Aiken House in Franklin.
Lots of  pieces showcase different or obscure perspectives. Raiselis’ “Liberty Square” looks down at the streets from the modern 40-story Exchange Place skyscraper, and his “Financial Center” glimpses at the city from a modern building’s window reflections. Kay’s “Chelsea View” tackles the cityscape from a distance, and his “View from the Hill” displays from the vantage point a street sidewalk.
Root curated the show with his students in mind. The class is just entering the modernists’ era, having recently tackled the Middle Ages and 19th-century architecture, and their assignments have involved seeking out local buildings with classical architectural elements — columns, domes, tiny aesthetic details you can’t notice unless you’re looking for them.
But both Disston and Root think the show’s accessible and interesting for anyone outside the SNHU class. To relate, all you need to do is live here.
“I think that’s the thing that makes it approachable for audiences. The subject matter — this is something we all have immediate access to in our own daily experiences,” Disston said. 

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