Dedicated to covering the visual arts community in Connecticut.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Christopher Mir painting show opening at Wadsworth

Wadsworth Atheneum
600 Main St., Hartford, (860) 278-2670
Christopher Mir: Dreams, Memories, Reflections
Oct. 4, 2007—Jan. 6, 2008
Opening reception Thurs., Oct. 4, 5—8 p.m.

Hamden-based painter Christopher Mir has had a few solo gallery shows the past few years in New York. And he has had work included in group shows, including the 2001 Emerging Artists Exhibition at the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art in Ridgefield. Dreams, Memories, Reflections in MATRIX 157 at the Wadsworth Atheneum is Mir's first solo museum show.

I wrote about Mir last fall as part of a series of posts for City-Wide Open Studios. He told me that he is interested in "dreamscapes like a natural history diorama—but with a lot of room for play. It's the Garden of Eden or the Apocalypse."

Joanna Marsh's commentary for the Wadsworth show parses Mir's Method:

For his first solo museum exhibition, New Haven-based painter Christopher Mir presents a unique style of painting that emerges directly from his interest in collage and accumulative image making. Over the past five years, Mir has culled hundreds of pictures from random sources - magazines, coffee table books on national parks, calendars, and the Internet. These images, along with Mir's own photographs, form the basis for each painting - a compilation of unrelated scenes stitched together digitally and translated onto canvas. Each painting begins with a landscape, rendered in oil or acrylic, upon which the artist positions figures, animals, machines, and buildings. This careful orchestration of incongruous elements and highly distinct spatial relationships gives each painting a dream-like quality, which recalls the work of Surrealist painters, such as Salvador Dalí and René Magritte. Like the Surrealists, Mir is deeply influenced by psychoanalytic theory, particularly that of Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung.1 Jung's writings on spirituality, "synchronicity" (the recurrence of closely related coincidences), and dreams provide a rich intellectual framework for Mir's paintings, as do the artist's studies in anthropology. Through his interest in Native American traditions and primitive religions, Mir has developed a distinct visual language of archetypal figures and situations that appear in nearly every painting. His principal cast of characters includes the wanderer, the sorceress, the innocent child, and the spirit animal, all of whom play a critical role in the constructed dramas.
There will be an opening reception at the Wadsworth Atheneum this Thursday, Oct. 4, with a gallery talk at 6 p.m. Doors open at 5 p.m. for the Wadsworth's Phoenix Art After Hours, an evening of live music, complimentary food, cocktails, gallery talks, and films. Admission is only $5! (Free for Members.)

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