The showstopper of Anna Hepler’s show “Intricate Universe” at Montserrat is her sculpture “Arrest, Array” (2009). From the side, it looks like some sort of digital model of a stomach and the parts – a web of black plastic joints and wiry aluminum and steel rods – seem commonplace. But head on it resembles a map of some galaxy, hovering in mid air, and all the fine metal lines and plastic dots array like a burst of energy. Three dioramas display models for larger wire sculptures.
Web, molecular chain, or ball-of-yarn motifs reappear in abstract woodcuts from her “Wolfecut” series. She says she’s inspired by insect swarms, electronic circuitry, tangles of thread. Hepler, who resides in Portland, Maine, makes much of woodcuts’ bold lines as well as they way inks softly overlap when woodblocks are printed one atop another. My favorite is a light blue oval, sort of like the silhouette of a rounded beach rock, pocked with lines of white dots. A rounded gray dotted cap-shape overlaps the blue at the top. There’s something charming about the large shapes, the layered colors, the dots, the grain of the wood. The effects are calm and modest, but satisfying.
Anna Hepler, “Intricate Universe,” Montserrat College of Art Gallery, 23 Essex St., Beverly, Aug. 22 to Oct. 17, 2009.
Pictured from top to bottom: Anna Hepler, “Arrest, Array” and woodcuts from her “Wolfecut” series.