Dedicated to covering the visual arts community in Connecticut.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Last ALL show currently up; Artist reception next week

ALL Arts & Literature Laboratory
Erector Square, 319 Peck St. Building 2, New Haven, (203) 671-5175
Black + White
Ends Feb. 9, 2008.
Artist reception: Sat. Feb. 9, 5—7 p.m.

Press release

(NOTE: This show, unfortunately the last at ALL Gallery's Erector Square space,, is currently on display. The reception is a closing reception. HH)

Arts + Literature Laboratory (ALL) is proud to present a juried exhibition of recent works by fifteen national and international contemporary photographers. Black + White aims to reveal the truth that exists between two extremes through the medium's unique ability to capture subtleties and nuances. The artists selected explore a range of themes, such as personal experiences, human relationships and conditions, political or social issues, the environment, abstraction or other interpretations of life.

The featured artists include: Roberta Alberding (Silver Spring, MD); George Bedell (Brandywine, MD); Lauren Chester (Athens, GA); Joan Fitzsimmons (Hamden, CT); Joshua Klein (Los Angeles, CA); Gabi Kotlarevsky (Ramat Gan, Israel); Isa Leshko (Salem, MA); Harry Longstreet (Bainbridge Island, WA); Sarah Lusto (Cheshire, CT); Inger Schoelkopf (Madison, CT); Jessica Somers (Bristol, CT); Patrick Toohey (Stratford, CT); Samantha Wolov (Berkeley, CA); Ryan Wong (Sammamish, WA); and Marjorie Wolfe (Cheshire, CT).

Highlights of the exhibition include:

• "Ephemera 1," 2007 by George Bedell, explores the relationship between the ephemeral nature of seemingly important historical events, and the vast timetable of the landscape in which these events occured. This image is part of a series of black-and-white photographs of the Civil War battlefields of northern Virginia and Maryland. In many ways, the series is meant to be a kind of meditation on impermanence—they contain a hope that the horror of
mistakes we make now can be tempered with time.

• "The Woods," 2007 by Joan Fitzsimmons, is a personal reflection on the meaning of landscape. Rather than a grand sense of romanticism, she relates to landscape with a sense of potential danger and fantasy. "The Woods" addresses issues of both fear & fantasy, while appropriating from both Polish and American cultures.

• "Verres, Paris," 2005 by Joshua Klein, frames what the artist has described as the extraordinary, or eternal essence, that which we so often miss in an increasingly hurried world. His methodology includes a medium format camera with a normal focal length lens, and the larger negative to effectively capture textures and luminous highlights.

• "Point Pleasant, NJ #1," 2006 by Isa Leshko, was photographed with a $20 plastic film camera called a Holga. Holga images defy conventional rules of photography, they are dark, blurry, and they fade around the edges. Rather than record exactly how the subject looked, Holga images depict how the artist felt when the shutter was clicked, and they are beautiful because of their very imperfections.

• "Bell Jar," 2006 by Inger Schoelkopf, was photographed the weekend before the artist was to have surgery. This image was taken inside a unique second-hand store where the dolls (to which the artist has always had an aversion) were arranged in curious and unsettling tableaus. With an impending surgery and a disturbed mindset focused on her mother and sister's breast cancer, the dolls struck a profoundly fearful cord, reflecting the fragility of life.

• "Bond," 2007 by Jessica Somers, is part of an ongoing series of Ziatype prints that explores the struggle and balance between the choices one makes and the uncontrollable circumstances that intervene with these choices. This portrait uses personal symbols to illustrate and question the way life can lead us, and the ability to allow oneself to be led.

• "Stony Man Mountain," Shenandoah National Park, VA, 2006 by Patrick Toohey, is part of a series focusing on the process of darkroom techniques to inform the abstract end result. It is the push and pull of black and white—of light and dark, life and death in the natural world, which ultimately finds a beautiful equilibrium that is at the core of Toohey's work.

Sad news: ALL Gallery in New Haven to close

ALL Arts & Literature Laboratory
Erector Square, 319 Peck St. Building 2, New Haven, (203) 671-5175
Closing event: Fri., Feb. 15, 7 p.m.

Press release

The Arts + Literature Laboratory (ALL) will close its gallery space at Erector Square in February 2008. Since June 2003 Arts & Literature Laboratory has organized fifty art exhibitions, as well as numerous educational and cultural programs. Though we are closing our Erector Square space, Arts + Literature Laboratory will continue to operate as a nonprofit organization, in collaboration with others to maintain several of our ongoing projects, and seek new ways to engage artists and writers to showcase and foster their work.

Some of our plans include organizing national juried shows to appear in other galleries in the Greater New Haven area and beyond. (Those who donated at the Artist Friend level during 2007 will be eligible for free submissions to these shows.) Our 8.5" x 11" show will be traveling to other venues around the country, the first of which will be the Lisa Coscino Gallery in Pacific Grove, CA. We will continue to accept drop off submissions for this show until February 9, 2008. The Word of Mouth Reading Series organizers are exploring options for continuing the series at another venue in the near future. We also plan to continue our Salon, which will become more of an informal gathering of artists and writers who would like to get together and talk about various topics of interest.

Join us at ALL, Erector Square on February 9, 2008 for:

* Black & White our current exhibition is on view until Saturday, February 9, Gallery hours: 1-4 p.m.

* Gallery Talk featuring selected artists from the show, followed by an Artists' Reception from 5-7 p.m.

Join us at ALL, Erector Square on February 15, 2008 for OUR CLOSING EVENT AT THE GALLERY:

* Word of Mouth, our monthly reading series will start at about 7:00 pm, and will feature New Haven poet Richard Deming and New York poet Michael Kelleher, and our usual fabulous open mic.

* Following the reading (at about 8:30 pm), there will be a book launch celebration for Richard Deming's newly released Let's Not Call It Consequence, in conjunction with a closing party to celebrate Arts + Literature Laboratory's 4+ years of successful exhibitions, arts programming, and literary readings.

* The painter Peter Carlson will be showing a selection of his recent paintings in the gallery space especially for this event.


We will post updates about events and programs on our website, so be sure to check there for the latest news. We will also maintain our electronic mailing list to keep everyone up to date.

We want to thank everyone who has supported us over the years: the artists, writers, and musicians who shared their work; the volunteers, friends, and business sponsors who donated time, money, products, and services; and the Greater New Haven community for helping us evolve and continue our mission. Please contact if you have any ideas about future projects, or if you would like to help with future exhibitions or support our efforts in any other way.

Friday opening at Wesleyan's Zilkha gallery

Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery, Wesleyan University
238 Washington Ter., Middletown, (860) 685-3355
Lenore Malen: The New Society for Universal Harmony
Feb. 2—Mar. 2, 2008.
Opening reception: Fri., Feb 1, 5—7 p.m.; Artist talk at 5:30 p.m.

Press release

The New Society for Universal Harmony is an ongoing art project, which began in 2000. It fictively re-invents, in a variety of media, an l8th-century utopian society where "mesmerism," later known as hypnotism, was practiced for healing and spirituality. This project uses the lens of history to explore the far-ranging beliefs and anxieties of our own time and the sciences and technologies that have informed them. Alternately playful and serious, the project questions ideas about community, utopian fantasies, cult-like activities and medical practices

The New Society also functions as a real society of artists and performers who, while they perform historical re-enactments and engage in communal "rituals," document these activities, collaboratively, as artworks.

"Be Not Afraid," the most recent production of The New Society is a multi-disciplinary two-channel video projection that documents two aspects of modernity: the remnants of the utopian dream and the origins of psychoanalysis. It incorporates archival footage from the 1939 and 1964 World's Fairs and NASA footage, while documenting a re-enactment of the first hypnosis session ever illustrated (in a 19th-century engraving). The video depicts members of The New Society being hypnotized under a tree against the backdrop of Philip Johnson's 1964 New York State Pavilion, itself a tribute to the U.S. Space Program.

An installation, which includes wall-size digital prints and vitrines containing archival material, functions to amplify and expand on the video narrative. While the video explores the psycho-social roots of trance and suggestibility, the installation shows how modern technologies also possess uncanny, fetishistic and magical features.
Lenore Malen, artist/artistic director produced the installation with her collaborative team including Todd Erickson, artist; and Ruppert Bohle, video artist/projection designer. Collaborators also include actor Kathryn Alexander; composer Dapha Naftali, and others. Lenore Malen is a multi-disciplinary artist who utilizes photography, video and audio installation, live performance, artist books in order to create imaginative scenarios involving historical fiction. Using the lens of history—and humor—she examines extreme belief systems, the far-reaching irrationalities of our time and the sciences and technologies that have informed them. Malen's multi-media project The New Society for Universal Harmony, is documented in a recent book of the same title (Granary Books, 2005) and in several gallery and museum presentations including most recently in New York at the Cue Art Foundation, Location One and Participant, Inc.

The exhibition consists of a multi-media installation that uses video, digital prints and archival materials. Admission to Lenore Malen and The New Society for Universal Harmony is free. The Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery is located at 283 Washington Terrace in Middletown, Conn. For more information or directions, call 860-685-3355 or visit

The public is invited to attend the opening reception on Fri., Feb. 1 from 5—7 p.m. with an artist talk at 5:30.

Friday, January 25, 2008

The art of a distant war

Real Art Ways
56 Arbor St., Hartford, (860) 232-1006
Bradley Dean Wollman: The Little War
Jan. 17—Feb. 17, 2008

Here's a tip for any artists whose work is written about on Connecticut Art Scene: If you think we (I) have missed the point, feel free to contact us and let us know. I bring this up in the context of writing about Bradley Dean Wollman's The Little War show of photography in Real Art Ways' Real Room.

Wollman's The Little War consists of his photographs of reconstructions of images from the Iraq War. Using toy soldiers, diorama material and ingenuity, Wollman offers a mediated look at the mediated look at the war. There is a technical and aesthetic proficiency to Wollman's images. It resides not just in the photography but also in his construction of his tableaux.

In a previous post, commenting on two of Wollman's images from this series displayed as part of Artspace's Juror's Choice from City-Wide Open Studios 2006 show, I wrote:

On the formal level, the photos are impressive. But they left me dissatisfied on the conceptual level. As in a child's play at war, there is no blood and anguish. And the criminal havoc inflicted on another people's land seems here just fodder for an aesthetic exercise.

I was further put off by the Wollman quote in Real Art Ways' press release for the Real Room show: "I cannot tell you how many atomic bombs I have dropped or cities I have destroyed; I am truly a veteran in a fantastical sense." Well, no.

But a broader set of images are shown at the Real Art Ways show. Seeing the first two images in the wider context went a ways toward addressing my concerns over Wollman's appropriation of the war imagery, as did my speaking with him at the Jan. 17 opening. There is a seriousness of purpose at work here.

Next to each other are "Man Down" and "Abu Ghraib." In the former, a medic attends to a wounded soldier contorting in agony on the grounds, the whole image shrouded in a dust storm haze. "Abu Ghraib" is a dioramic recapitulation of the iconic image of the anonymous hooded prisoner standing on a little cardboard box, arms spread and hooked up to wires. Several other images also address the human cost of the war and the callousness of mechanized murder.

But for Wollman, the show isn't about the war and carnage so much as it is about how we experience it in a media overload environment.

"The images we see in television are what I used as my reference material," Wollman told me. "The whole body of work is a comment on how we're detached from the war. It's more of a social commentary than a commentary on the war itself."

"By the time [the war] arrives in your living room or on the computer, it has been filtered through so many times," said Wollman. This filtering is not just that of corporate media decisions, "but by the medium itself. Photos can only catch so much." Any image is not only a moment in time but also a strictly delimited document of that moment. Things are missed outside the frame.

For Wollman, reconstructing the images was a way of making the war more concrete for himself, a way of understanding it. But he also noted that "Photography is a step removed. And by reconstructing these realities, it's another step removed."

At the opening, I also spoke with Greg Garvey, a professor in interactive digital design at Quinnipiac University and an artist who has been profiled on Connecticut Art Scene for his installations in the 2006 and 2007 City-Wide Open Studios. Garvey thought Wollman's photos are "a very sly commentary, the kind of work that could only be done now."

By way of contrast, Garvey mentioned Robert Capa's famed photograph from the Spanish Civil War of a loyalist soldier falling after having just been shot.

"We accept that as reality. For many people, it's an emblem of the unjust nature of that war and why you might be antiwar," said Garvey. "With these images, especially the one with the bird's eye view of the tanks ("Crossing the Desert"), it reflects awareness of others' works."

Garvey added that the controversial body artist Chris Burden had exhibited sculptures incorporating toy soldiers.

"There is a vocabulary in contemporary art of including these idioms," Garvey said. "He's taking part of that sensibility and merged it with recent events that draws attention to the possibility that it's real. And at the same time, we're invited to join in a little nudge that it's fake. It depends on our awareness of images in recent memory that are very similar to what we're looking at."

Wollman and Real Art Ways' Director of Visual Arts Kristina Newman-Scott will discuss the work in The Little War on Thurs., Jan. 31 at 6 p.m.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

New London Hygienic Arts Festival opening this weekend

Hygienic Art Gallery
83 Bank St., P.O. Box 417, New London, (860) 443-8001
Hygienic Art Exhibition and Festival XXVIII
Jan. 26—Feb. 10, 2008

Press release

The Hygienic Art XXVIII Exhibition, New London's notorious free-for-all arts festival, will kick-off Sat., Jan. 27 and run thru Feb. 10, 2007. This year the annual will celebrate the 28th year of arts and celebrations. Touted as New London's Only Winter Tourist Attraction, the main art event, the Salon des Independants, will be opening Sat. night, 8 p.m., at the Hygienic Galleries, 79 Bank Street, New London, CT.

All artists are welcome though there is a limit of one piece per artist. Sign-in and hanging begins on Sat., Jan. 27 at 9 a.m. and runs until 6 p.m. The exhibition opens to the public at 8 p.m. that night.

The exhibition is well known for its diverse original art, ranging from the sublime to the outrageous. Over its 28-year history, the annual art extravaganza has grown from an anti-establishment visual art show to an anti-establishment multi-media art event including film-making, playwriting and performance art as well as a young artists show and musical events. Call Vinnie Scarrano at (860) 444-6855 for more info.

The Hootenanny
WHERE: Muddy Waters Cafe (42 Bank Street)
WHEN: Friday, Jan. 26 from 6 p.m.—10 p.m.
Awesome local folk acoustic concert featuring The Crew, Paul Brockett, Dogbite, the Can Kickers, Liz Larson & Friends with more to be announced. Interested folk musicians and groups can contact Sherry Stidfole at: sstidfole AT for information and sign up. This concert will be free and donations will be accepted to benefit the Hygienic Art Park.

The Pre-Fix
WHERE: Oasis (16 Bank Street)
WHEN: Fri., Jan. 26, 10 p.m.—2 a.m.
New London Music Fest proudly brings psych-folk legend Gary Higgins of Red Hash fame to the hood to close out festival-eve festivities. Opening will be new supergroup Roadside Attractions and superduo Dan & Liz.

The Rock Fix
WHERE: El n Gee Club, (Golden Street)
WHEN: Sat., Jan. 27 from 7 p.m.—2 a.m.
Outrageous ruck&rule at the venerable roadhouse that is the Gee provides the madcap soundtrack to the festivities on the streets of New London. Look for sets from some of the best local and regional acts including The Paul Brockett Roadshow Band, The Liz Larsons, Low-Beam, Can Kickers and Fatal Film.

The Cabaret
WHERE: Oasis (16 Bank Street)
WHEN: Sat., Jan. 27 from 8 p.m.—2 a.m.
The inimitable Joey Royale hosts this year's madcap variety revue. Look for hijinx of the musical, magical and theatrical variety all the night long at one of New London's hottest stages. If you are interested in joining in the mayhem, contact Sir Royale at jmacrino AT

Screening Room 14
WHERE: El n Gee Club Golden Street
WHEN: Sunday, Jan. 28, 1 p.m.—6 p.m.
The Screening Room XIV features work from national and local emerging filmmakers. All filmmakers are encouraged to submit their work. No Judge, no jury, no fees & no censorship. Past events have featured international documentaries as well as regional shorts and features. This is New London's indie film event of the year. Admission is free. Send your on VHS or DVD format to: Screening Room XIV c/o Bret Farrar, POB 711 New London, CT 06320; or contact Bret Farrar at: bretfarrar.productio AT or at 860-444-1340.

Other Gallery Openings
NEW LONDON - Two of downtown New London's many galleries will be hosting special openings on the day of the big event. Make sure you make time to check out their offerings.
GOLDEN STREET GALLERY (94 Golden Street): The Hygienic Resident Artists Exhibition. New works by Co-op residents Gregg Bowerman, Jenn Collins, Kat Murphy, Liz Larson and Susan Madasci. Opening reception Saturday, Jan. 27 from 6—11 p.m. Show runs through Feb. 10.
KENTE CULTURAL CENTER (219 Bank Street): Winter Art Show. Featuring works of art by New London High School students for show and sale. Opening from 12 noon—4 p.m. Refreshments will be served.

A new generation of Hygienic Artists get their craft on at Young Artists XV.
WHERE: Garde Art Center Gallery (305 State Street)
WHEN: Sat., January 27, 12 noon—4p.m.
Art Drop Off & Hanging: Thu.—Fri., Jan. 25-26, 4—7 p.m.
Art Pick-up: Sun., Jan. 28, 1—4 p.m.
Young Artists, age 14 and under, are invited to submit artwork on Thursday and Friday, Jan. 26—27., at 305 State St. on the corner State Street & Meridian. The opening reception will be on Sat., Jan. 27 from 12 noon —4 p.m. and include hands on art making with Hygienic resident artists, entertainment and refreshments. There will be a special exhibition of works created by young artists from the New London Schools. For more info, contact Kat Murphy at: katmurphy AT or 860-961-6565. Kids must be accompanied by an adult.

Hygienic Poets:
Voices in the Night
WHERE: Hygienic Gallery (79 Bank Street)
WHEN: Sat., Feb. 3 7-—1 p.m.
A night of poetry on the edge hosted by Rhonda Ward. The improvisational open mic invites you to provide the everchanging words. Poets interested in performing are asked to contact Ms. Ward prior to the event at rmward1 AT

Night Kitchens
While enjoying the buffet of art and music that is Hygienic XXVIII, don't forget to hit New London's many restaurants, cafes and coffee houses. Dinner, dessert and drinks are available at eateries featuring a wide variety of cuisines including Indian, Mexican, American, Japanese and Thai. New London Main Street is organizing the 6th annual Night Kitchens asking restaurants to remain open late for the Hygienic crowd.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Vershbow photography opening this evening in New Haven

Exposure Gallery
1 Whitney Ave., New Haven, (203) 494-9905
The Library: Narrative Photographs by Gregory Vershbow
Jan. 17—Feb. 16, 2008
Opening Reception: Thurs., Jan. 17, 6—9 p.m.

Press release

" I, who imagined Paradise as a kind of library..."
Jorge Luis Borges
The library is a place where the boundary between bodies and books is blurred, even erased. In the process of physical transformation, hidden histories emerge from between the covers and beneath the skin. There are many stories that weave through these scenes; book heads roam the alleys of bookcity, thieves try to inhale cheap wisdom from the book well, an old man learns that one cannot fly with paper wings, and deep in the forest beneath paperhill, a storyteller sings the last oral story while beating for attention on a drum of torn volumes. The storyteller is bound and shelved, people go to sleep between pages, the last reader's eyes grow tired, and the librarian, out in the cold, asks the book trees what kind of fruit they will bear when no one is left to read them.

These fragmented narratives are more a prologue to than a full explanation of the library. The images all are layered with printed text, but to know the stories, just read the pictures.

The Library is a series of photographic polyptychs and single images that depict a world that, along with its inhabitants, is physically transforming into books. These images were inspired by an interest in the physicality of bodies and books, however themes spring to form between the covers of books and beneath the skin of our bodies, inevitably playing a role in the telling of this story...

There is an opening reception this evening from 6—9 p.m. Gregory Vershbow has previously been profiled on Connectict Art Scene.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Thursday night opening during Real Art Ways' Creative Cocktail Hour

Real Art Ways
56 Arbor St., Hartford, (860) 232-1006
Bradley Dean Wollman: The Little War
Jan. 17—Feb. 17, 2008
Opening reception during Creative Cocktail Hour: Thurs., Jan. 17, 6—10 p.m.

Press release

Real Art Ways presents Bradley Dean Wollman's The Little War, opening Thurs., Jan. 17, during Creative Cocktail Hour, from 6—10 p.m. Creative Cocktail Hour is $10 for the general public, $5 for members, and free for members who joined before 9/10/07.

"I cannot tell you how many atomic bombs I have dropped or cities I have destroyed; I am truly a veteran in a fantastical sense." Bradley Dean Wollman
At first glance, Bradley Dean Wollman's photographs are recognized as media images of the Iraq war, but take a second look and you will see that these images capture a completely manufactured scene. Like a child playing out his fantasy, Wollman creates a miniature world within his pictures that skirts a fine line between reality and fiction. Everyday the media bombards us with images of war and destruction to the point where many people are no longer moved by the horror of these images. By recreating a world that is both fantastical and real, Wollman invites the viewer to question not only the authenticity of his images, but the reality that they reference.

Bradley Dean Wollman was born in Kijabe, Kenya. After moving around the states for a while, the family settled in a suburb of New York. Wollman attended Rockland Community College for two years as a history major before transferring to the University of Hartford where he graduated from in 2007 with his BFA in Photography. Wollman's work has been exhibited in New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut. Wollman also has two photographs from the Little War series in the Juror's Choice from City-Wide Open Studios 2006 show at Artspace In New Haven. The Juror's Choice exhibit closes this Saturday.

Wollman will also be available for an Artist’s Conversation about The Little War at Real Art Ways on Thurs., Jan. 31 at 6 p.m.

Opening at Paper/New England in Hartford Thursday night

Paper/New England
56 Arbor St., Hartford, (860) 729-1146
Focus New Haven
Jan. 17—Mar. 1, 2008.
Opening reception: Thurs., Jan. 17, 7—10 p.m.

Press release

Paper/New England presents a new exhibition, Focus New Haven, from Jan. 17 —Mar. 1, 2008. Focus New Haven is a collection of works on paper highlighting 10 contemporary artists who live or work in New Haven, Connecticut. The participating artists are Alexis Brown, Josh Gaetjen, Elizabeth Gourlay, Debbie Hesse, Martha Lewis, Sabrina Marques, Tim Nikiforuk, Dorothy Powers, Thomas Stavovy and Eve Stockton.

There will be an opening reception on Thurs., Jan. 17, from 7—10 p.m., with additional programming to be announced. Paper/New England is located at 56 Arbor Street in the Parkville neighborhood of Hartford, Connecticut. Visit us online at Normal Gallery hours are Thursday, Friday 4—8 p.m., Saturday 1—8 p.m. and by appointment. Email for appointments and inquiries.

Paper/New England is a nonprofit art center dedicated to presenting works of art on or of paper. The center displays, collects and promotes art produced by artists who are either New England based or were trained or produced work while residing in New England.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Jury Is In

50 Orange St, New Haven, (203) 772-2709
Juror's Choice from City-Wide Open Studios 2006
Through Jan. 19, 2007

In the fall of 2006, Laura Donaldson was invited by Artspace to jury a selection of artists participating in Open Studios. Over the three weekends she viewed the work of some 500 artists. Out of those hundreds she chose ten artists whose works are showcased in Artspace's main gallery. As Donaldson—who has over ten years experience as a manager, director and curator of exhibition venues as well as being an artist herself—notes in her introduction to the show, "The ten artists I finally chose really stood out for me; I find their works fresh and memorable." While there are complementarities between some of the works, there is no grand theme to the show.

Johanna Bresnick's three works reference the Hurricane Katrina disaster in New Orleans. She uses translucent striated tape on Plexiglas panel to create three "drawings"-views of the New Orleans Superdome. One view is from overhead, the type of seating chart that football fans might refer to when buying tickets. A second, titled "Cloverleaf," situates the structure within its environs, the surrounding highways. The most poignant is "Inside Pantheon," a drawing that depicts hurricane refugees. On the floor of the building, they sit dispirited on benches or huddled under blankets on cots.

Another contemporary disaster, this one fully manmade, provides grist for Bradley Dean Wollman's photographic set pieces. Wollman draws on images to recreate events in the Iraq War with toy soldiers and diorama materials. In "Crossing the Desert," four toy tanks kick up washed-out brown dust clouds made of dirty cotton. The aftermath of a bomb blast is the source material for "Bunker Buster." A gaping hole in the dark ceiling opens to the white blank sky; the floor is strewn with shattered debris. On the formal level, the photos are impressive. But they left me dissatisfied on the conceptual level. As in a child's play at war, there is no blood and anguish. And the criminal havoc inflicted on another people's land seems here just fodder for an aesthetic exercise.

Insook Hwang's lively installation "Fly to You II" incorporates digital video, fabric, canvas and paper. Hwang's multimedia work is rife with imagery of computer screens, eyeballs and digital iconography. Some of it is displayed like a mobile might be over a child's crib. Her imagery is playful-the catalog accurately describes it as "a mix of science fiction and Dr. Seuss." It prompted me to ponder this question: What is happening to the consciousness of babies and children born into and raised in an increasingly virtual world?

The show includes two sculptures by Rachel Vaters-Carr, "Upheaval" and "Pair." Working in hydrocal and wood, Vaters-Carr—who was profiled in Connecticut Art Scene last October—creates geologic forms as metaphors for emotional states: volcanoes, canyons. Vaters-Carr leaves her compositions a ghostly white, allowing the viewer to project their own interpretations upon them.

With his three digital C-prints, Paul Theriault is creating abstractions that use the layering and graphic capabilities of digital software. He deconstructs found imagery into striking compositions. It hearkens back to the formalist obsessions of the Abstract Expressionists (and the acid-addled creations of 60's psychedelic artists). The results are complex and attractive but they lack the tactile presence of the paintings they echo. These images make me think again, as per Hwang's installation, about the impact on consciousness of the virtual world. For all the possibilities digital technology opens up in terms of manipulation of information—be it in graphics, audio or video—there is still an airlessness that can be alienating.

Several of the artists use cut paper and collaged elements. Insook Hwang is one, but also Larissa Hall, Christopher Joy and Rashmi Talpade. Joy's wall installation, "Two Level Construction + Vegetation," places an architectural form within a larger environment of lush leaves and curling vines, all fastened to the wall with push pins. Pieces of paper overlap each other; details are sketched with pencil and markers. Hall's two paper collages riff off their amusing titles--apparently cribbed from sensationalized news stories--"If you think you are capable of decapitating me, for any reason, maybe we shouldn't get married" and "Drunk, naked and trapped in the bear cage at the Belgrade Zoo." The latter uses silhouetted figures of bears and naked running men cut out of paper decorated with patterns hand-drawn in watercolor and ink. In the use of patterned paper, it's reminiscent of the process of sewing clothing from cutout patterns. An aura of domesticity is harnessed to a madcap sensibility.

Rashmi Talpade's photo-collages evoke the claustrophobic chaos of an overcrowded world. Image jostles image for a claim on our attention. I particularly liked the middle collage, "Traffic." Talpade effectively assembled her composition to generate the illusion of perspective, as though we are looking out of the windshield of a cab into a noisy gridlock we'll never escape.

In its fascination with geologic forms, Keith Johnson's photo installation "Mammoth" complements Vaters-Carr's sculptures. Three panels of pigment photographic prints on canvas, they depict geothermal pools. Here is the Earth as a strange, scaly lumbering beast. Johnson finds appeal in the coarseness of the textures, the subtle curves of the forms and the washed-out but rich palette of colors.

Art opening in Cheshire Sunday

The Picture Framer Artshack Gallery
96 Elm St., Hartford, (203) 272-2500
Ruth McWhirter
Jan., 2008
Opening reception: Sun., Jan. 13, 2—4 p.m.

Press release

During the month of January, the Picture Framer's Artshack Gallery will feature the artwork of Wallingford resident, Ruth Mcwhirter.

Working primarily in watercolor, McWhirter's paintings reflect the landscape around New England and Hilton Head, South Carolina. She has been painting since the late 1950's and a participant in the Wickford, Rhode Island Art Festival every summer for many years. This show features 19 watercolors and includes landscapes, seascapes, and still lifes.

McWhirter has attended numerous workshops of well-known artists at the Rhode Island School of Design, CCRI and of artists including Rex Brandt, John Pike, Helen Van Wyk, Ed Whitney, Jean Dobie and others. She began first as a student under Foster Caddell of Voluntown, Connecticut. McWhirter has won various prizes at juried shows around the area.

McWhirter says. "For me, painting is the attempt to catch the beauty of a moment forever."

An artist reception is planned for Sunday, Jan. 13, from 2—4 p.m. This reception is free and open to the public.

It's So High School

Golden Street Gallery
94 Golden Street
New London, CT 06320, (860)444-0659
The Second Annual Williams School Student Exhibition
Through January 25, 2008

Hygienic Art, Inc.
83 Bank Street, New London, CT 06320, (860)443 -8001
Whalers & Lancers
Through January 19, 2008

Last night downtown New London was awash in aspiring artists as both the Golden Street Gallery and the Hygienic Art Galleries presented artwork by local high school students. Williams School art faculty Greggory Bowerman and Tekla Zweir mounted a show of printmaking, drawing and photography at the Golden Street Gallery. At the Hygienic, Andrea Aron and Susan Cash rounded up the New London High cohort while Rhonda Weber and David Weber organized the Waterford High art squad. Roving reporter/musician M. Matt Clark from The New London Day was spotted covering the opening receptions, which brought a huge crowd into the downtown galleries to see their kids’ paintings, drawings and prints. Remarkably, in an age when students face enrichment cutbacks and the time-sucking tyranny of organized sports, over a hundred students hung their work, which bodes well for the future of the art community in our town. The shows are up until the 19th, when they make way for the big, winter, anything-goes art festival, Hygienic Art XXIX, Salon des Independants, which opens on January 26. Encourage young artists: buy their artwork.

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