'100 Hours'


With the third biennial "100 Hours in the Woodshed" event concluded on Monday, the work of the 30 artists who participated now is on display and available for purchase in MCLA Gallery 51 through Feb. 20.  

The 100-hour art marathon was masterminded in 2007 by collage artists Daniel O'Connor and Scot Zeiher. Since then, it has brought artists every two years from throughout the country to MCLA for five days of collage-making as the College's gallery is transformed into temporary artist workshops for assemblage and experimentation.

The exhibition celebrates the communal efforts of a disparate group of artists, O'Connor said. The concept and the content, he explained, are uniquely designed to delight those who view the collages that were created by this eclectic and engaging group of artists.

According to Jonathan Secor, director of special programs at MCLA, "Seventy percent of the artists have participated before. For about half of them, it was their third time.

"What's great is there's a great sense of camaraderie and, at this point, people know the ropes. They hit the ground running," Secor continued. "It's always interesting to see what kind of art comes out of a short, very intense period of time. Usually artists will work for months on something. There's no option to do that for this. The option is to create something in real time, in this space, with 29 other people two feet away from you. What kind of work gets created?"

This year, two of MCLA's art majors - Kristen Parker '11 and Pamela Buchanan '12 - as well as art professor Melanie Mowinski, were among the artists who worked to create collages for the exhibit.

While Parker created a piece with photographs and printed images that explores how society deals with mortality and death, Buchanan crafted a series of four miniature books using collage and rubber stamps.

"I was so honored to be chosen for this project," Buchanan said as she worked in the gallery last weekend. "I'll be graduating next year, so I'm creating this for my cohesive body of work."

Mowinski created two large, very different art projects - thread drawings and floor to ceiling ladders. For the first, she drilled holes in wood and used red thread to create the drawing. "It's all about loss," she explained. "This is a huge experiment for me. I feel my work needs to go in a different direction. It's something I needed to make."

The ladders are constructed with recycled paper from art projects Mowinski made in the past. "There's a lot of symbolism. It's about mixing religious ideologies and struggle," she said.

At the resulting exhibition, "People will see a wide variety of work," Mowinski said. "One woman used fabric, and there's a whole group of guys who have been collecting magazines for years and years. Then there are people who built more sculpturally."

According to MCLA Gallery 51 Manager Ven Voisey, another artist who participated in the event, something wonderful happens when a group of people get together to create art. "There's an atmosphere of momentum and resonance in which everyone serves as input for everyone else whether they're aware of it or not.

"In such a compressed space and time you just have to put aside an all-too-often overbearing inner-censor and run with whatever's whirling in your skull and at your fingertips, and if you're lucky, something beautiful is revealed," Voisey said.

"100 Hours in the Woodshed III" is free and open to the public. MCLA Gallery 51, at 51 Main Street in North Adams, is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  For more information, call (413) 664-8718 or go to gallery51.  MCLA Gallery 51 is a program of MCLA's
Berkshire Cultural Resource Center.