Two white chairs sit on opposite sides of a pair of moving mirrors, equidistant from it and squarely facing each other, in Anne Lilly’s installation “To See.” Sitting in either chair facing someone sitting in the other, a viewer is drawn into unexpected experience. Lilly’s tall vertical mirrors glide silently on a track, slowly separating and then coming back together. The reflections and opening and closing space between them bring viewer and viewed into a single changing form as eyes, shoulders, torso align. Startling and also soothing with the repetitive motion, the installation leads viewers to consideration of boundaries. “Ordinary Time,” a two-person exhibition featuring the kinetic sculpture of Boston artist Lilly and artwork by Maine painter Grace DeGennaro, opened last month at the Helen Day Art Center in Stowe. Lilly’s three-dimensional moving sculptures and installation and DeGennaro’s paintings build on both patterns and shape in revealing structure at work. The exhibition is curated by Stephanie Walker of Walker Contemporary of Waitsfield. “Ordinary Time” is accompanied by “The Infinite Shapes of Water,” a solo show of large abstract photographs by Philip Herbison of Stowe. Both exhibits will be up until April 14. “Both artists have real beauty in their work, simple elements that create these complex forms,” explained Rachel Moore, executive director of Helen Day Art Center, about Lilly and DeGennaro. “There is a quietness in both of their works, there’s a meditative stillness. Both of these artists ask you to be still and thoughtful and reflective,” Moore said. The title of the show, “Ordinary Time,” refers to ordering of nature and time. The two artists build on patterns of geometry and mathematics. Four kinetic sculptures by Lilly draw viewers into the space created by motion of steel rods. With the touch of a finger, the elements of the almost frictionless structures revolve around pivot points, defining space with their movement, patterns that change as the artworks gradually slow. In “Sisamne’s Thongs,” two elongated horizontal racks, somewhat resembling old television antennae slowly spin as they revolve around a central point. There are moments where collision seems inevitable, yet the parts seamlessly intersect and glide past each other. Lilly “uses carefully engineered motion to shift and manipulate our perceptions of time, space and energy,” she explains in her artist’s statement. “Employing opposing modalities – analytical and intuitive, rational and emotional – Lilly's sculptures elicit new connections between the physical space outside ourselves and our own private, psychological domain. They are usually fabricated in machined stainless steel, but require the viewer's touch to initiate movement: pressing clinical qualities against the sensuous response of each piece,” her statement notes. Grace Degennaro’s paintings delve into perception of space, time, and order. Her use of pattern and ordering shapes draws viewers into the layers of her work. In “Sunwheels,” 15 multi-layered identical shapes seem to float on a field of indigo. Translucent white layers with the delicacy of gauze are overlaid with concentric squares of dots. While all have the same overall shape, the colors and pattern of the dots and shading of the white layers vary. The viewer’s focus is drawn into the individual elements but also to the overall order and patterns between the shapes that emerge with time. “Archetypal images and their ability to communicate ideas that transcend religion and culture is the subject of my work. My watercolor drawings and oil paintings are rooted in geometric abstraction but reference non-Western traditions such as Byzantine mosaics, Tibetan Buddhist mandalas, Indian tantra drawings and Navaho weavings. Recurrent themes are ritual, growth and the passage of time,” explains DeGennaro in her artist’s statement. “Each of my paintings starts from a central axis that divides the support into equal ‘golden’ sections. Initially an inviolable ground of one or two colors is painted on the support. Using the points of the Fibonacci sequence, transparent forms and beads of color are applied in recurring accretions. The resulting patterns depict a gnomonic expansion, much like the symmetric growth of a tree or the shell of a nautilus,” DeGennaro says. Herbison’s large abstract photographs in “The Infinite Shapes of Water” consider movement and surfaces of flowing and lake water. “This series began in 2010 with a video study of water spilling over a dam near to where I live. The rhythmic beats of the splash had a frequency that reminded me of the shutter movement of a movie camera and so I began experimenting with it and the strobascopic effect that relates to that cycle,” Herbison says. “The hidden beauty of nature is, for me, a source of continuous discovery and thanks to digital media, we can find it in a wealth of aesthetic treasures,” Herbison says.   Helen Day Art Center Helen Day Art Center presents “Ordinary Time,” paintings by Grace DeGennaro and kinetic sculpture by Anne Lilly, and “The Infinite Shapes of Water,” photographs by Philip Herbison, through April 14, at 90 Pond St. in Stowe. Hours are: noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday; call 802-253-8358, or go online to www.helenday.com.

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