GALLERIES

A moving mix of the concrete and suggestive
By Cate McQuaid, Globe Correspondent, 1/24/2003
Art that rocks
Years ago, I traveled in Ireland with my mother and we stopped by Newgrange, an excavated burial mound thousands of years old; it's Ireland's tourist equivalent of Stonehenge. Circling the mound, my mother put her hand on one of the stones and felt it throb beneath her touch.

Mom would appreciate Jane Hudson's ''Trilogy,'' a loop of videos and digital prints from those videos on view at Gallery 28 at the New England School of Art and Design at Suffolk University. Hudson visited Avebury, a British site 5,000 years old, where standing stones set to mark solstices were probably a site for rituals. Avebury doesn't have the cachet of Stonehenge, in part because Christians erected a town in the middle of the circle of megaliths, blocking sightlines and destroying some of the stones.

''Stones,'' the first of the three videos, is intended to be projected at a scale as large as the monuments themselves; here, unfortunately, it's on a 15-inch monitor. It's a shame, but at least we can imagine the impact the show would have at its proper size.

In ''Stones,'' Hudson alters the video to make it look like old, grainy black-and-white film. One image grows to fill the screen, then disappears, creating a rhythm of walking from rock to rock. The soundtrack offers up a howling wind and the occasional bird song. Then, amid the gray, Hudson introduces surprising color: blue bolts of electricity buzz across a stone. The sky eerily reddens. In this way, she imbues these old monuments with an elemental life and power that inspire reverence - perhaps the same reverence that accompanied their erection millennia ago.

But Hudson isn't merely being reverent; she's mourning. Her subject is the stones, but it's also that urge to put the stones up, and the later urge to destroy them. ''Tale,'' the second video, made after the scourge of hoof and mouth disease in England brought on the burning of herds of cattle, poetically examines the bent toward destruction: a human mask flashes through pastures and brooks; sheep light on fire; a goose takes on a radioactive glow. But the third video, ''Cycle,'' concludes that death and life always come around again.

This is hardly a new theme, but Hudson plumbs it with haunting eloquence, tying ancient and natural imagery with unnerving colors to create a visual pageantry of grief and hope.

Jane Hudson: Trilogy: Digital Prints and Video
At: New England School of Art and Design at Suffolk University, 75 Arlington St., Jan.17 through Feb. 6. 617-573-8785. http://www.suffolk.edu/nesad/whtml/wgallery.html

JANE'S PAGES

JEFF AND JANE