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The Thomas H. & Mary K. Williams Art Gallery

The Thomas H. & Mary K. Williams Art Gallery is a beautiful setting dedicated to the exhibition of wonderful works of art for both Mount students and the surrounding community. The department of visual and performing arts is proud to host both local and nationally recognized exhibits throughout the year.

In addition to these touring exhibits the exceptional talents of our visual arts students are showcased in our alumni exhibition, the Simon Bruté Juried Student Exhibition, and our Senior Art Shows.

The gallery is free and open to the public, the hours may vary depending on the time of year, so please check the web site regularly for updates about the current exhibition.



Currently In the Gallery ...

Hilda Shapiro Thorpe

On Display: February 1- March 8. Opening reception February 1, 5-6:30. A retrospective of Hilda Shapiro Thorpe's expressive abstract paintings and handmade paper sculptures.

Hilda Shapiro Thorpe (1919 – 2000) was in her mid-thirties and raising three children when she began taking art classes at American University in Washington, D.C. She entered her expressive paintings in juried exhibitions and by 1959 had established her first studio in northern Virginia. By 1963, Thorpe’s work was featured in the 28th Biennial at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. She returned to American University in 1971 and taught sculpture there for over a decade. Thorpe, a versatile and prolific artist, continued to exhibit her work and garner major commissions until her death. She exhibited nationally and internationally and had over twenty-five one person shows. Her work is represented in many private and public collections, including the National Museum of American Art, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C.

One of the defining elements in Thorpe’s work is vibrant color. Her interest in color was shaped by the Washington Color School, a visual art movement of the late 1950’s–1960’s that was a response to Abstract Expressionism. The Washington Color School was originally a group of abstract painters, including Thorpe, who showed their work in the 1965 Washington Color Painters exhibit at the former Washington Gallery of Modern Art in Washington, DC. The exhibit traveled to other venues as well. Other prominent artists who participated in the exhibition were Sam Gilliam, Gene Davis, Morris Louis, Ken Noland, and Sam Francis. Anne Truitt and Alma Thomas are associated with the movement as well.

Thorpe, however, was never confined by the Washington Color School’s formalist aesthetic. Curiosity about the natural world, the potential of materials, and the outcome of processes led her to explore various media and techniques throughout her career. She also worked with wood, assemblage, clay, metal, and artist-made paper. Color, nature, and process—these were the three touchstones for Thorpe.

In her own words:

“The thread that has been a consistent element in my work has been nature. Not literally, but more in a feeling way, an intuitive response to nature. I live by the [Potomac] River, walk along the river, drive by it. Woods, trees, light, sun, clouds, mountains, and shorelines make up the landscapes of my mind. All of this seems to take shape in one way or another in my work: with color, line, shapes, and spaces. I am primarily a colorist.”“A revolution began in my studio in 1976 when I was first introduced to papermaking. This ancient craft was a radical departure from the conventions of canvas and I quickly developed a fascination with paper pulp. What comes from the hands, molding mounds of water-weighted pulp—dropping it, pulling it, shaping it, sponging it—seems literally to come from the heart.”

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