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Ashby artist’s work placed on display in library gallery

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ASHBY — “It’s the job of the artist to change and react,” Mariana Furtney Fyfe said.

Furtney Fyfe is presenting a one-woman show at the Ashby Free Public Library, in the Carol H. Steele Gallery. The show is titled “les Fleurs et les Paysages” or “Flowers and Landscapes.”

She is best known for her murals in public places. This exhibit features smaller works in mixed media done over the last 2.5 years.

“I went to chalk when I broke my leg and was horizontally challenged,” she said. However, a broken leg is not all that challenges this artist.

Furtney Fyfe said she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis five or six years ago. “Before I was diagnosed, I had all kinds of symptoms,” she said.

Furtney Fyfe’s last major mural project was done inside the Ashby Town Hall. The work is on the walls inside the two front entryways.

“I had a great time doing that,” she said. “It’s a 16-foot-tall ceiling. I had to stand on a ladder.”

The mural features important buildings and items around town. She said that when she was trying to paint the town plow, she just couldn’t get it right and needed a picture of it.

“I heard (Highway Department Superintendent) Billy Davis outside. I said, ‘Do you have a picture of the town plow? Oh, it’s on your shirt!'”

She said that Davis went outside and got a sweatshirt, then left his T-shirt with her so that she could draw the truck.

Furtney Fyfe said she enjoys drawing, noting a series of sketches she did of Paul McCartney while watching a Great Performances show. “I like to draw people doing things,” she said.

Once she said that she was complimented by a student of the great Spanish artist, Pablo Picasso. “She said that I could really draw,” Furtney Fyfe said.

Furtney Fyfe said she gets tired more easily and lacks the authoritative hand-eye connection that she had when drawing in the past. She regards that as part of the process of growing older as an artist, so this technique change may have happened even without MS.

Furtney Fyfe teaches a few students privately but no longer teaches at the Groton Center for the Arts. “It’s very draining, teaching,” she said. She has an A.S. degree from Endicott College.

She currently has two works on display at the Fitchburg Art Museum in the Central Massachusetts Women’s Caucus for Arts show.

“Les Fleurs et les Paysages” will be on display at the Ashby Free Public Library in July and August.

The library is located at 812 Main Street in Ashby. It is open Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Wednesday and Thursday, 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. The show is free and open to the public.

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