Dedicated to covering the visual arts community in Connecticut.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Connecticut Collects Connecticut

The Lynn Tendler Bignell Gallery
286 Whisconier Rd (Route25), Brookfield, (203) 775-4526
Connecticut Collects Connecticut
Aug. 19—Sept. 30, 2007

Curated by Bernice Wollman, Connecticut Collects Connecticut contains work by Connecticut artists and artisans collected by Connecticut residents. Many of the displayed objects are pleasing (I particularly liked the whimsical thread paintings of Washington Connecticut-based Missy Stevens and the clay pears by Ann Mallory of Roxbury. Both Stevens and Mallory's works are displayed in the collection of Manny and Skippy Gerard.) What makes the exhibit most intriguing, though, are its insights into the artist/collector relationship.

Photographs of the interiors of the collector’s houses show how the art is used to create meaningful, welcoming spaces. Some of the pieces, such as those by studio furniture maker James Schriber of New Milford, were commissioned by collectors who fell in love of the artist’s work. Schriber, whose work is collected by Rick and Francoise Jaffe, is quoted as saying that

“Developing long-term relationships is the pleasurable part of what I do. Once the trust is there, and we’ve learned how to work together, I thrive on the creative pressure of a client’s input. Making a ‘spec’ piece to show in a gallery is almost lonely in comparison.”

These relationships can become some of the most satisfying things about the business. Newtown artist Joanne Conant, whose work in the exhibition includes the lovely “Twilight Stallion”—a rosewood box with a picture of a horse under a tree, created from silver granulation enamel—is now teacher to one her collectors, Carol Pascal. Some of Pascal’s work, including a pair of zodiac candlesticks, is also currently shown at the gallery. Conant says of Pascal that

“it is very satisfying to have a fan who really knows what has gone into a piece. Carol understands the metalsmithing, the design issues, the work of delineating cloisons, layering color—every step in the process.”

Brookfield offers many opportunities for fans and others to come to this sort of understanding, as the Center's workshops include classes in blacksmithing, photography, book arts, ceramics, glass, surface design, woodworking, drawing, and many other crafts and arts. The Center also contains a store that's especially worth checking out during the holiday season (November 3 through December 31), as they open up three floors of jewelry, pottery, glasswear, scarves, and other artful gifts.


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