Dedicated to covering the visual arts community in Connecticut.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sunday opening at Kehler Liddell

Kehler Liddell Gallery
873 Whalley Ave., New Haven, (203) 389-9555
Occupational Spirit: Frank Bruckmann (paintings) & Steven Whinfield (sculptural ceramics)
Oct. 30—Nov. 30, 2008
Opening Reception: Sun., Nov. 2, 3—6 p.m.

Press release

Frank Bruckmann wants to praise the "small business owner, the working guy". In Westville Village where he lives, these are mechanics, chefs, massage therapists, hair stylists, gallery, pub and restaurant owners, and unique retailers. That he chose this subject for an extensive body of paintings doesn't surprise. Bruckmann has shown his appreciation for New Haven in the vertigo inducing series of New Haven Cityscapes (March 2005), and his homage to West Rock (November 2006). The wonder lies in the amount of detail and intimacy his paintbrush captures, drawing us into an ordinary beauty and timeless world that exists alongside us in these small shops. Bruckmann captures the essence of small town business people. Each painting is a slice of life or history offering a detailed interior view with an almost sociological study of his portrait subjects.

Steven Whinfield also captures the essential in his Raku and Wood-fired clay vessels. After creating a range of functional pottery, "the bowls, teapots and cups I made held feelings, as if they had souls". Whinfield moved on to objects, vaguely automotive—oil cans, spouted buckets—that would ordinarily contain chemical spirits such as oil or gasoline and then be thrown away. He recreates the forms in clay, and in the process and tension of Raku firing , gives these discarded still recognizable forms new meaning and great elegance. "They represent how we move though life, leaving childhood friends, co-workers and family ... emptied from us, but still having left a spirit. These spirits may be haunting as well as precious."

It is fascinating to move between object and portrait sensing the spirit, soul, and grace these artists see in their subjects. Frank Bruckmann and Steven Whinfield heighten what is ordinary and familiar so that we look again and again and wonder at the world on our doorstep.

There will be an Opening Reception Sun., Nov. 2, 3—6 p.m. Public is invited to join the artists and community in celebration. No admission fee for gallery or reception.


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