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Work Of James Fissel in Gallery 51

Show opens on Thursday, May 28


05/19/2009

NORTH ADAMS, MASS. - Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts' Gallery 51 will present "Orbital Journey: The Paintings of James Fissel," May 28 through June 21.

An opening reception will be held on Thursday, March 28, from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Main Street gallery. The event is free and open to the public.

James Fissel is a self-taught artist who moved to the Berkshires from Western Michigan. Fourteen years ago, he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. Since that time, his painting and art-making practice has grown increasingly prolific.

Working in several different media - including acrylic, watercolor and paper collage over the past decade - Fissel has created a significant body of work centered around his lifelong fascination with the orb:

"As I reflect on the influence and inspiration for my art I am brought back to a significant memory," Fissel said. "It was quite an event, in 1953, for a young boy from central Pennsylvania to watch on a black and white, 13-inch television, one of the most colorful and important events of the 20th century - the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

"I keenly remember during the ceremony in Westminster Abbey. The Queen held a blue sapphire orb with a diamond studded cross on top - this being the symbol of the Queen's sovereignty over the land. The orb/sphere during the middle ages was used as the symbol of God's sovereignty over the world. This event and the orb left an indelible impression and caused me to wonder about the symbols and icons used to represent the mysteries of life."

MCLA Gallery 51, at 51 Main St. in North Adams, is open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call 413-664-8718, or go to www.mcla.edu/Gallery51 .