Springfield Library and Museums Association

Springfield, MA




Bill Rohan: Mindscapes


Paintings, sculptures and collages made with bits of eggshell will be on display from July 5 through August 27, 2000 at the Springfield Museum of Fine Arts in the first public showing of the exhibition "Bill Rohan: Mindscapes." The public is invited to view the exhibit and meet the artist during a free reception at the museum on Thursday, July 13, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. (left: Eggyptian, 1997, eggshell, 6 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches)

Bill Rohan, from Williamsburg, Mass., uses the egg as a metaphor in his work. With acrylics, eggs of different sizes and colors, and pieces of eggshell, he playfully manipulates images, words, and ideas related to the egg.

Rohan is a retired psychologist and has painted all his life. He has studied with the realist artist Robin Freedenfeld and has taken art classes at the University of Massachusetts. The first piece he exhibited, a realistic painting of the Miss Florence Diner, won a Merit Award in the 66th Springfield Art League National Exhibition. Although he no longer paints hyper-realistic cityscapes, he still considers himself a realist. His Mindscapes evolved from questioning how much of what we think of as reality is based on our individual perceptions and experiences, and how much is actually real. "My kind of realism is more complete because it includes both outer realism and inner realism - not just what your eyes are in touch with," he said. (right: Eggsect Colleggtion, 1997, acrylic and eggshell, 11 x 7 1/2 x 3 inches)

The titles of his Mindscapes almost always incorporate the word "egg." For example, there is an "Eggsect Colleggtion" of six insects, an "Eggyptian" sphinx, and a snowy landscape during a "Nor'eggster." When asked the age-old question "Which came first?", he explained that sometimes he thinks of an image and the title follows, and other times a title or egg-word will occur to him first. (left: Shell-fish, 1997, acrylic, eggshell, mirror, 7 1/2 x 9 1/2 x 3 inches)

One of the most remarkable works in the exhibition is his "Aeggsopped Fable," a 2,500-word story written in eggshell on two large egg-shaped boards. It tells the tale of a farmer who becomes so upset when his eggs are stolen that he needs to visit his "pseggchieggtrist,'' Seggmund Fried. The story is laced with 712 egg words and puns, some of which, Rohan said, are "so bad, they're good." The piece took him nine months to complete. (right: Lepeggdoptera, 1997, acrylic and eggshell, 9 1/2 x 7 1/2 inches)

Rohan grinds the eggshells with a mortar and pestle, and uses a variety of strainers and shakers to get whatever size bits of shell he needs for a particular work. He attaches the pieces of shell with glue.

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This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 2/28/11

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