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MCLA Gallery 51: Debi Pendell

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts' Gallery 51 presents a solo exhibition featuring the work of painter Debi Pendell.

An opening reception will be held Thursday, July 30, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Main Street gallery. The event is free and open to the public.

Pendell moved to North Adams five years ago from New Haven, CT, and is currently a resident of the Eclipse Mill Artist Lofts.

Her works are investigations of semiotics, language, and meaning based in the format of landscape painting. Her hazy natural landscapes are layered with a dusting of disembodied alphabet characters in a variety of fonts and scripts.

Concentrating on abstract elements of recognizable shapes and characters in combination with materials and processes, Pendell plays with symbols of both visual art and language and how people "read" them and make meaning from them.

"I've been playing with the combination of acrylics, collage and mixed media for about 15 years and several series of works have unfolded," she says. "The series focused on in this exhibition, the Landscape/Letters Series, began quite unexpectedly in 2005. An art school in New York asked me to teach a class in 'winter landscape-based abstraction.' Up until this time, I had never worked in landscape."

She went into the studio to toy around with the idea.

"Methods and materials from my other series-collage, text, image transfers, drawing, painting, and an acrylic faux encaustic process- joined with the abstract landscape imagery and the results simply 'spoke' to me," says Pendell. "When I exhibited them it quickly became apparent that other people also 'read' them and 'heard' them. My exploration of these communications continues to delight and surprise me."

She earned a bachelor's degree from Central Connecticut State University and a master of arts in liberal studies from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT.

Pendell's work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. Her show at Gallery 51 runs through August 23.

The opening July 30 is part of DownStreet Art Thursday, an evening of exhibition openings and performances celebrating the arts in North Adams.

DownStreet Art is a program of MCLA's Berkshire Cultural Resource Center.

MCLA Gallery 51, at 51 Main Street in North Adams, is open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call 413-664-8718.


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