Fall Northampton Special Exhibit

The Circle Game

Ever feel like you are going around in circles? Well, the fact of the matter is, you are! 

We live in a world of circles. From naturally formed circles like oranges, tree rings and the glowing sun overhead to coins jingling in our pockets and the rings we wear on our fingers, circles surround us.

And the seasons they
go round and round
And the painted ponies
go up and down
We’re captive on the
carousel of time
We can’t return we
can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and
round and round
In the circle game.

– Joni Mitchell

This is not a coincidence. Scientists believe that the profusion of circles in nature explains their abundance in manmade objects and art. Research shows that we are predisposed to love a circle from birth. One study found that at five months of age –before uttering a word or scribbling a drawing – babies show a clear visual preference for the contoured lines of a circle over straight lines. As the ultimate curvilinear shape, the circle embodies so many of the attributes that attract us: it is a safe, gentle, pleasant, graceful, dreamy, and even beautiful shape that evokes calmness, peacefulness, and relaxation. The Greek scholar Proclus called the circle “the first, simplest and most perfect form.”

For artists working in every media, the circle is often used to express deep feelings and personal philosophies. As a shape with no beginning and end, it becomes the perfect metaphor to symbolize the cycle of the seasons, the rhythm of the universe, or the enduring nature of love. But circles can make us smile and laugh just as much as they can provoke contemplation. Polka dots, bouncing balls, even smiley faces and pizzas – all of these little rounds can brighten our day.

Wherever you find yourself while making the rounds at the Paradise City Arts Festival, be sure to circle back to this fun and entertaining special exhibit. Whether your passion is for jewelry, paintings, photography, fiber arts, ceramics, metal or wood, you will find all sorts of unusual and unique artistic approaches to exploring the universal appeal of the not-so-simple circle in “The Circle Game” exhibitions in Exhibition Building #2. We know you’ll have a ball!


Images from top left to lower right: David Scherer, Big Time Clock •  Rob Greene, Circle Brooch • Allen Littlefield, Many Choices • James Guggina, Clay Basket • Becky Celuzza, Open Colors • Amelia Poole, Table Runner • Valerie Bunnell, Heads and Wheels