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Thursday, April 02, 2009

"Home" opens at Westport Arts Center on Friday, April 3

Westport Arts Center
51 Riverside Ave., Westport, (203) 222-7070
Apr. 3—June 1, 2009
Opening Reception: Fri., Apr. 3, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Press release

The Westport Arts Center will launch the start of its 40th anniversary year with an exhibition entitled Home, curated by Eric Aho. The show is on view from Fri., Apr. 3—Mon., June 1. Home will open with a public reception on Fri., Apr. 3, from 6:30—8:30 p.m.

Westport Arts Center's exhibition Home features more than one-dozen paintings and drawings that touch on the mental, physical and emotional connections to home. According to Aho, "These artists point out that the range of our associations with 'home' is as wide and varied as our own unique circumstances. Through their work we are reminded that the notion of home is seldom a fixed idea. Instead, it is as conditional as our memory and vulnerable to change without notice."

The drawings and paintings Aho selected for the exhibition range from the 1920s to the present, highlighting artists' perennial interest in and the shifting attitudes toward the topic of home.

The imagery and aesthetic attitudes of the works in Home range from traditional to confrontational, comforting to disquieting. Themes include the familiarity and alienation of the suburbs, domestic interactions of family, and the psychological (even dreamlike) symbolism of domestic interiors. Many of these artists can be found in major collections around the world, including the Tate (London), The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (Washington, DC), The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), The Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of Art (New York), and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Works include a watercolor by American art icon Charles Burchfield (1893-1967); the keenly observed work of Edwin Dickinson (1891-1978) seen in the exquisite rendering Provincetown studio; the spare, symbolic houses and windows painted by Lois Dodd (b.1927); the remembered landscapes of Icelandic native Lousia Matthíasdóttir (1917-2000); George Nick's (b.1927) effulgent renderings of domestic interiors; and the simplified and searching line of a Fairfield Porter (1907-1975) drawing.

Emerging and mid-career contemporary artists are in the mix as well, including a dreamlike interior by Debra Bermingham (b.1953); Quentin Curry's (b. 1972) abstracted psychological landscapes; the chunky oils, spray paint, and hard-edge surface of Kim Dorland's (b.1974) suburban-scapes; landscape architects Soren (b. 1975) and Rayna deNiord's (b.1978) drawings; a pre-World War II England themed painting by Duncan Hannah (b.1952); Kristine Moran's (b.1974) expressionistic renderings of psychic spaces; the hazy, black-and-white suburban drawings of Charles Ritchie (b.1954); Shane Neufeld's (b.1982) take on home, which stylistically reflects his twentieth-century predecessors; and the inventive architectural constructions of Devin O'Neill (b.1971).

Exhibition programming includes a curator talk by Eric Aho on Thurs., Apr. 9 at 7:00 p.m., Art in Context talk by WAC's Director of Visual Arts Terri C. Smith on Thurs., May 7 at 7:00 p.m. and a book discussion of "The House on Mango Street" led by Professor on May 19 at 7:00 p.m. There will also be a literary program titled "Writing Home" opening with a reception on Apr. 5 from 4—6, and an exhibition event that will take place at 54 Bayberry Lane during the weekend of Apr. 25. According to Westport Arts Center's Executive Director Kathy KnappNancy Heller, "WAC has had multiple 'homes' during its forty-year history. So the theme of this exhibition is timely as we celebrate an important milestone and pave the way for the next 40 years."


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