Aerial Views: Visions and Landscapes ON DISPLAY APRIL 3 - May 2 AT UMASS MEDICAL SCHOOL

March 20, 2001

WORCESTER, Mass. - Created by three artists who are fascinated by flight, Aerial Views: Visions and Landscapes will be on display in the Medical School lobby from April 3 - May 2. The exhibition, which strives to capture the experience of flying through photo collages, canvas paintings and pastel works, was created by Terri Priest of Worcester, Susan Wadsworth of Rindge, N. H., and Amy Ragus of Walpole.

Terri Priest is inspired in her work by the atmospheric changes that occur during flight. "I am fascinated by the fact that the clearest, most beautiful days often have the greatest turbulence, thus causing planes to shake and rumble," she explained. "It's these invisible forces that have fascinated, puzzled and challenged me to create images that reflect this phenomenon." Priest also incorporates collages of angels in her artwork, using them as visual "intermediaries between storm and calm, good and evil and other contrasts/conflicts we experience in daily life." Priest is a well-known local artist who has taught for more than 30 years in museums and colleges across the region. With her master's degree in fine arts from the University of Massachusetts/Amherst, Priest most recently served as a visiting lecturer at the Worcester Art Museum. Prior to this experience, she worked for 15 years as an associate professor of visual arts at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester.

Priest is currently a corporator of the Worcester Art Museum, acting overseer of the Chamberlayne School of Design and Merchandising at Newton's Mount Ida College and director and partner of Fletcher/Priest Gallery of Worcester. She displays her work in local, national and international public collections including the Worcester Art Museum, the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, Calif., and the Banque de la Societe Europeane in Paris.

Susan Wadsworth draws her creations from videos made when flying throughout New England with her pilot husband. Looking earthward, her work "simplifies the shapes and colors of an ever-changing landscape in their most spiritual and abstract forms." She adds, "Often a wing slants to one side, but more important are the simplified forms of the landscape below: the reflection of sun from the water and the shifting views of field and hill as the plane turns through space." Wadsworth will also exhibit several very large canvas murals that depict aerial views of Woods Hole, Warwick, R.I., and the White Mountains of New Hampshire in fall and winter.

With her master's degree in art history from Tufts University and master's in fine arts from Michigan's Cranbrook Academy of Art, Wadsworth is currently a tenured associate professor in the Department of Humanities at Fitchburg State College. Prior to this position, she worked as a lecturer at the University of Connecticut, Lyme Academy of Fine Arts and Greater Hartford Community College.

In addition to her role teaching painting, drawing and art history, Wadsworth has exhibited her works in schools, museums and galleries throughout New England and New York over the last two decades. She is also currently an art critic for Art New England magazine.

Amy Ragus' collages, made up of multiple photographs of aerial views that seemingly float above the landscape, strive to give the viewer a feeling of being suspended in space. She states, "In these digitally constructed prints, wing shots are repeated in mirror images that create surreal and sometimes threatening structures. These prints evoke thoughts of imagined spacecraft, paper airplanes or UFO fantasies, communicating the primal and magical feelings that can be produced while flying."

Ragus received her master's degree in fine arts from the Columbia University School of the Arts. She is currently an assistant professor in the art department at Regis College, and has taught courses at Brown University and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

In addition to her teaching experience, Ragus was founder and vice president from 1978 until 1994 of Fine Arts Express, Inc., an interstate transportation company that provides shipping, insurance, packing, storage, installation and customs brokerage services to museums, artists, corporations and private collections throughout the U.S.

Ragus has recently exhibited her artwork at Boston's Federal Reserve Bank Gallery, The Horn Gallery at Babson College, the Winfisky Gallery at Salem State College and the Fire House Center of Newburyport.

Aerial Views: Visions and Landscapes will be on display through May 2 and is open for viewing 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. An opening reception will be held Tuesday, April 4 from 5 - 7 p.m. Three additional exhibits on display throughout the month include: photographs by Sue Sedgewick in Clinic III, Level I of the University hospital; paintings by Michael Stevens in Level I of the Benedict Building; and paintings and drawings by Carrie Crane in Levels II and III of Two Biotech. These exhibits are open for viewing during regular business hours.

"What's on View at UMMS Galleries" is sponsored by the University of Massachusetts Medical School Committee for Arts & Humanities. Exhibits featured in the Benedict Building, Clinic II and Biotech II are also made possible in collaboration with ARTSWorcester.