Kean exhibition: The Hawser Series


May’s artwork, “Core to Core”, 2010 charcoal on paper, 75×38”

By Vera Boateng

“The Hawser Series” by Huguette Despault May, in the Karl and Helen Burger Gallery in CAS, illustrates May’s personal memory of Massachusetts, the talisman she received from New Bedford rope maker John E. Ruggles, and Massachusetts’ state history.

Ruggles, gave May a start on her four-year project, “The Hawser Series” after handcrafting a rope for her in 2006.

After earning her Bachelor’s and Masters degree in Fine Arts at Tufts University in Massachusetts, May became a curator at The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

In 2005, she began to present her own works at the museum during the New Bedford Open Studios.

“The art shown here in the gallery, are charcoal drawings and pictures of May’s boat tie or hawser that was given to her,” said Neil Tedkowski, Director of University galleries.

The hawser or rope at the start of the 19th century was used for whaling in many parts of the United States. At the start of the 19th century Massachusetts, was the whaling capitol of the world.

American Novelist and poet Herman Melville, known for famous novel “Moby Dick,” journeyed beyond his New York community on his whale ship in 1841. In the novel “Moby Dick” the main character, Ishmael, was a sailor that traveled to New Bedford, Massachusetts in hopes of becoming a successful whaler.

According to the exhibit information, the different drawings of the hawser are meant to take the viewers through different emotional currents and to help display the difficulties and intricate situations that are present in life.

The exhibit features 12 drawings and photographs along with the rope that started it all.

Past exhibitions featured in this gallery include: “Beyond the Image: Millstreet Salon,” “Watercolor Masters of New Jersey,” “Fifty Years of Latin American Art: Selections from the Neuberger Museum of Art,” and “Modern Twist Contemporary Japanese Bamboo Art.”

The next upcoming exhibit to look for in the Karl and Helen Burger Gallery is “Librartis: Artists books you can touch.” This exhibit will be shown Oct. 2015 through Jan. 2016.

For more information on Kean University’s various Art Galleries visit:

Comments - review our comment policy