Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield, Mass. has on its 2011 schedule an exhibition of paintings by Susan Merrill, called “Black & White Barnyard,” which will April 16 through May 8, in conjunction with “Baby Animals on the Shaker Farm.” Merrill’s exhibition will feature paintings of animals with black and white markings from Hancock Shaker Village and surrounding local farms. Proceeds from the sale of these works will help to support programming at Hancock Shaker Village. An opening reception will be held on Sunday, April 10 from 4pm to 6pm. RSVP required. Please call 413.443.0188 x115.
Susan Merrill’s love of Hancock Shaker Village dates back to the 1970s when she frequently took her young daughter Daisy there to see the animals.
“We both loved the baby animals and drew many pictures of them,” said Merrill. “I loved all the other things that people love about the Village, too—the architecture, the Shaker point of view, both religious and practical—but I always especially appreciated the humane, respectful, and kindly attitude the Shakers seemed to have toward their animals.”
A graduate of Bennington College with a Master of Arts in Teaching degree from UMass Amherst, Merrill also studied art for two years at the l’Accademia delle Belle Arti in Rome. She taught art for several years at Berkshire Country Day School and has exhibited at various local galleries. She lives in Stockbridge with her husband, Carl Sprague, and their two children, Ruslan and Elena Sprague.
“Black & White Barnyard” will feature images of chickens, turkeys (both farm and wild varieties), guinea hens, pigs, sheep, and cows. “I’m focusing on black and white animals, and how while we read an animal as being black and white, it is often not that at all,” said Merrill. “Its color is in fact influenced by light, shade, season, time of day, and nearby environmental factors.”