The BRT Art Gallery is an ongoing initiative to have the work of local visual artists combine with BRT's performing arts programming to enhance the audience's total experience and expose them to the many talented artists that live and work nearby. Exhibits generally change every 5 or 6 weeks between mid-September and May. Artwork is viewable two hours before scheduled theater events and is often for sale. We are now scheduling additional gallery shows for Fall 2023 and beyond.
Serene Lincoln – The Old Monastery
I started this project because spiritual communities have always fascinated me. I grew up in a religious household and went to a Catholic school, both of these experiences were rich with imagery and art. Now I run a non-denominational retreat for young adults, and I ﬁnd that my relationship to spirituality is intrinsic to my security in my communities. I started learning about the Trappist (or Cistercian) monastery that operated down the street from my house. It was operational from the late 1800s until 1950 when a ﬁre burned the monastery down, then the town turned it into hiking trails and the public library. From the time I could walk to the present day I spend many hours hiking and appreciating nature in the old monastery. I found the monk’s day-to-day life calm and measured, ﬁlled with group work and intentional silence. Many of their writings explain that they found a connection to God through this slow manual labor, that holiness was in the moments of word-free silence. They were incredibly interested in linking themselves to the natural world and had an extensively written history of appreciating the land they worked.
In my prints, I depict the monks in their day-to-day activities and entering moments of rest. The schedule Cistercian monasteries conduct is the same as they had almost a thousand years ago; that innate timelessness is something I am interested in imbuing in my art. I use moments of high contrast with meticulously carved greys and I enjoy the challenge of trying to make these two different ways of mark-making puzzle together into spaces and fabrics. I look to Durer’s early woodcuts for framing and his curved carving methods. I draw inspiration in my narrative scenes from Czech printmaker Zdeněk Mézl, as he often draws the viewer's eye across the page in a ﬂuid and sequential way. Kathleen Needly guides me in making art inspired by medieval sources without getting too campy. I carve my prints with great detail, and I want them to act as a sort of documentation of both the monks’ lives and also the continued, living interest in their space and history. In short, I want to add to my local narrative.
In my paintings, I seek to capture the exact awe I have always felt every time I walk those grounds. The moment when you step out into an open space and are enthralled by it. I work on-site, the trails of the old monastery, and from photos I’ve taken. I look for a trail that leads from the top of the painting, and either horizontally or diagonally, through the entire work. I use inspired or invented organic shapes to describe the space, then draw the eye up and back. The blobs of color are puzzled together to make a natural scene, but if one were to take a shape out of its context, it would hold up on its own as a shifting and interesting form. For this, I am inspired by painters Charles Burchﬁeld, Neil Welliver, Lois Dodd, and Philip Koch. I look to their imaginative shape language, the success of their yawning spaces, and all these artists' inventive use of color.