Huguette Despault May took four years to complete The Howser Series after receiving a python-sized object by the last master rope maker in New Bedford, John E. Ruggles, in 2006. Using charcoal on heavy weight Stonehenge paper of 50 x 38 inches, May’s vision can be described as sweepingly dramatic and virtuosic.
The Howser Series, consisting of twelve drawings, is a conceptual and perceptual tour-de-force that experientially takes the viewer through richly layered intellectual, emotional, and psychic currents that almost have Shakespearean dimensions, so cunningly interwoven and layered. Textures in May’s charcoal renderings of rope range from strong, thick braiding to wispy tendrils of frayed ends. May also infuses the drawings with surprising drama and magic.
The Howser Series and May’s archival prints along with its inspiration, Ruggles’ original rope, will be on display in the Sarratt Gallery through May 15. Free and open to the public, the exhibit is on view in the Sarratt Student Center on weekdays, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; and weekends, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
Left to right: Snag, 2011, archival ink jet print mounted on brushed aluminum, 16 x 22 inches • Tumult, 2009, charcoal on paper, 50 x 38 inches • Core to Core, 2010, charcoal on paper, 75 x 38 inches