Dedicated to covering the visual arts community in Connecticut.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Saturday evening opening at Picture Framer in Cheshire

The Picture Framer Artshack Gallery
96 Elm St., Cheshire, (203) 272-2500
Karl Stephan: March Madness
Mar., 2008
Opening reception: Sat., Mar. 1, 6-9 p.m.

Press release

Artist Karl Stephan of Cheshire is having his first one-man show - more than 25 years after graduating with a degree in fine art from tiny Guilford College in North Carolina. The Picture Framer at 96 Elm Street Cheshire will host "March Madness" for the entire month of March.

Stephan is a member of the Cheshire Art League, and has exhibited in Cheshire, Hartford, New Haven, Greensboro NC, Minneapolis MN and Natick MA. In 2007, his works "Watermelon at Twilight" and "Icon" were selected by Cheryl Brutvan for display at the Ridgefield Guild of Artists annual juried exhibition. He recently gained gallery representation in Boston.

Born on a U.S. naval base in Morocco, Stephan has traveled widely in the U.S. and abroad and studied many touchstones of western art first-hand. Studying under a modern master like Roy Nydorf and taking classes with others like Gabor Peterdi, William Bailey, Yvonne Jacquette and Russian artists Komar and Melamid gave Stephan an appreciation of art that plays a central role in life. He refers to this as "Art That Is Real".

By day, Stephan pursues a successful career in technology sales. By night and on weekends he paints in his basement studio. He also publishes a monthly email newsletter called "Garage Noir" after a series of recent paintings, of which one: "Evidence" appears in the Cheshire show. Garage Noir is also a MySpace page devoted to "Art That Is Real". Stephan's ultimate goal is to make a life of "Art That Is Real" starting in Cheshire.

An artist reception is planned for Saturday, Mar. 1, 6—9 pm. This reception is free and open to the public. For more information and gallery hours call 203-272-2500.

Thursday, February 28, 2008


Here’s some o'the news stories of the past week on Connecticut artists and museum showings:


On February 25 The Hartford Courant ran an article on Randall Nelson of Willington called "Road Kill Silenced: An artist's take on disappearing bird species runs afoul of state and federal laws." The article by Stephanie Summers starts:

“Willington artist Randall Nelson thought that he was making a provocative yet pro-migratory bird statement when he dyed dead birds and put them on display during an open weekend show at Stafford’s town hall in early February.

“Nelson couldn’t have seen the flock of trouble coming, even with

“Thinking that Nelson had killed the birds, which were actually victims of cats and cars, viewers left anonymous notes calling him vile’ and notified town authorities, who ordered the exhibit covered up.

“Then the state Department of Environmental Protection swooped in….”

A few days later The Hartford Courant also posted an editorial saying that Nelson's

"satirical exhibit ‘Catch and Release’ was meant to make a statement about the gradual loss of cherished bird species in Connecticut. Instead, it exposed the misplaced enforcement priorities of the state Department of Environmental Protection.”

Mr. Nelson's Satire 2/26/08

More art exploring "the dark side" of the relationships between humans and birds can be found at the University of Connecticut in Storrs and Trinity College in Hartford. See Steve Grant's article, also in The Hartford Courant, for more information about the exhibits and the topic in general.

"The Birds That Used To Be Glorious Birds: Exhibits Measure What We've Lost In Our Relationships With Nature" 2/28/08


“Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang”: Bird Extinctions Around the World Since 1600 Sponsored by Watkinson Library, Trinity College

Ornithology Contemporary Art Galleries, University of Connecticut


e-flux has posted a press release for an upcoming show at the Aldrich called Painting the Glass House: Artists Revisit Modern Architecture.

Part of the exhibit is also currently up at the Yale Art and Architecture Gallery. According to that gallery's website,

“'Painting the Glass House' invites the viewer to consider the impact that “Masters of the Modern” (such as Le Corbusier, Philip Johnson, Mies van der Rohe and Frank Lloyd Wright) have had on a new generation...In two-dimensional works of various media (including video), the artists featured in the exhibition explore both the utopian ideas expressed by Modern architecture and the passing idealism that Modern architecture now embodies. The show will feature works by Alexander Apostol, Daniel Arsham, Gordon Cheung, David Claerbout, Angela Dufresne, Mark Dziewulski, Christine Erhard, Cyprien Gaillard, Terence Gower, Angelina Gualdoni, Natasha Kissell, Luisa Lambri, Dorit Margreiter, Russell Nachman, Enoc Perez, and Lucy Williams."
The Yale exhibit is designed by Dean Sakamoto, and the Aldrich curators are Jessica Hough and Mónica Ramírez-Montagut.


Tracey O'Shaughnessy of the the Republican-American reported on February 23 that Yale Center for British Art will 'Lure' you in with its most recent exhibit

(i.e. The Lure of the East: British Orientalist Painting, 1830-1925)

O'Shaughnessy writes:

"'The Lure of the East' is one of a series of British exhibits devoted to the re-evaluation of the country's imperial past. Already, the Yale Center for British Art has examined British colonization of Jamaica, its hegemony in India and, next month, England's first brush with America. Great Britain seems currently engaged in a kind of mass penance for past colonial sins. Whether that expiation makes for a good art exhibit is debatable. But it certainly makes for a fascinating, and indeed, heroic, history lesson."

Lastly, two articles on the Yale Art Gallery's exhibition "Making It New: The Art and Style of Sara and Gerald Murphy":

Gallery Explores America's First Performance Artists Allen Appel New Haven Independent 2/26/08


"The Art of Friendship: Yale Exhibit On Stylish 1920s Couple Captures Spirit Of The Lost Generation" Frank Rizzo Hartford Courant 2/22/08

Daniel Smith reception and fundraiser rescheduled to this Friday

Daniel Smith
United Church on the Green
270 Temple St., New Haven, (203) 389-9555
The Human Side of War in Iraq & Afghanistan
Fri., Feb. 29, 7—9:30 p.m.

Press release

The fundraiser and reception for photographer Daniel Smith, originally scheduled for last Friday (when it was snowed out), will take place tomorrow, Fri., Feb. 29, from 7—9:30 p.m. at the United Church on the Green in New Haven. (See the previous post for details.) Ebong Udoma of WPKN radio will be a guest speaker and the wonderful violinist Netta Hadari will perform.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

More than scratching the surface

Kehler Liddell Gallery
873 Whalley Ave., New Haven, (203) 389-9555
Deconstruction and Resurrection: Works by Joseph Adolphe & John Ferry
Ends Feb. 24, 2008.

One works large and one works small. One painter explores interiors. Sometimes with figurative portraiture, and the other revels in the abstract geometries of urban landscape forms. Despite their dissimilarities, the paintings of Joseph Adolphe and John Ferry make for a strikingly complementary show at Kehler Liddell Gallery in Westville.

Part of the reason for that is that both artists invest a great deal of attention in the surfaces of their works. In Adolphe's "Vigilance"—a formal portrait of three young girls—there is a great swirling of wide brush strokes coating the surface of the canvas. According to Frank Bruckmann, a local painter who was gallery sitting when I visited, Adolphe likely applied an undercoating of white gesso. Adolphe appears to have scraped into some of the painted areas to add biting gestural highlights.

Along one wall, a series of Adolphe's large still life abstractions are displayed. (They may, in fact, be two series, judging by the titles.) From left to right, they progress from a relatively straightforward still life of a heavy crumpled cloth on a wooden table into canvases where the cloth seems to take on a life of its own. Over the half dozen paintings, it lifts off, twists and turns in colored space, until by "Untitled No. 7" the image is pure abstraction. Folds of yellow, gold and orange turn in upon themselves, spitting off fragments of color.

In all of these, there is as much attention devoted to working the surface as to delineating the forms. The first work on the left, "Easter No. 1," although closest to pure still life, is lively with daubs and swirls of color. As much as it rewards standing back and taking in the whole, it is a treat to get in close and absorb the detailed areas where wet swirls of paint rub up against one another.

On the facing wall, Adolphe offers a series of large paintings that combine his still life interest with a talent for figurative portraiture. There's an interesting balance between the formal and informal in these paintings. The man and woman in "The Couple" sit side by side, forearms touching and the fingers of her right hand barely alight on the back of his left hand. And while they look straight out at the viewer as in a formal portrait, their posture is slumped and affect bored. Get on with it, already! It's a pose but a self-evidently weary one. As in several of Adolphe's works, ceramic cups and vases, some fruit and a potted plant are arranged on a simple wooden table.

Unlike the work of local artist Steve DiGiovanni, also a specialist in figurative interiors, Adolphe's paintings don't actively evoke narrative. This is so even when there are slightly mysterious elements, as in "Faith" and "The Double," two works that feature the bald-headed Adolphe as his own model. The still life set-up of jugs and a ceramic cup on the tabletop in "Faith" takes center stage. Adolphe, in shadows off to the left and peering around the side of a cloth backdrop, is more of a prop than a character. (Adolphe's attention to surface, particularly that of the table and the ceramics, is especially evocative in this work.) As with Nathan Lewis, Adolphe is a master at depicting the human figure.

There are no human figures in John Ferry's paintings. He has a fascination with the weight, contours and presence of vintage urban architecture. With some of these small paintings—"ADM #3," "Kansas City #8"—Ferry's compositions straddle the line between urban landscape and geometric abstraction. The subject matter in others is more direct. With "Decatur #2," "Decatur #1," "Kansas City #1," "Kansas City #2" and "New York #3," Ferry's heavy application of paint yields a surface that is intensely tactile and almost sculptural. Studying these works, I can imagine running my fingertips over the rough confluence of early 20th century brick and mortar. By privileging texture over fine detail, Ferry evokes a rough and raw past. We can feel it even as it disappears. He also has a superb way with light. In "Kansas City #2," the buildings glow with the palpable illumination of late afternoon, the gold before the dusk settles in.

Fundraiser/Reception tomorrow for fundraiser Daniel Smith

Daniel Smith
United Church on the Green
270 Temple St., New Haven, (203) 389-9555
The Human Side of War in Iraq & Afghanistan
Fri., Feb. 22, 7—9:30 p.m.

Press release

This Friday there will be a reception and fundraiser for photographer Daniel Smith at United Church on the Green in New Haven. Daniel Smith is a photographer who travels to areas of conflict or extreme poverty to document the people and places he sees. He has taken photographs in several countries, including Afghanistan, Haiti, Turkey, Indonesia, and Iraq. Since the war, Daniel has been to Iraq five times, most recently in January of 2005. June 2007 marks Daniel's sixth trip to Iraq.

Smith is returning to Iraq this month. He is raising funds, 100% of which will go to help desperate Iraqi people and aid organizations, and to bring supplies to a Baghdad family clinic.

There will be a silent auction of photography and souvenirs from Iraq. WSHU reporter and WPKN news director Ebong Udoma will be a guest speaker. There will be a Q&A session with photographer Smith at 8 p.m. Enjoy food, wine and live music as well. (Suggested donation: $5-$35)

For info, call Daniel at (203)901-7558, or visit for directions and examples of Daniel Smith’s photography/writing.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Imaginative paintings at Ely House

John Slade Ely House Center for Contemporary Art
51 Trumbull Street, New Haven, (203) 624-8055
Uneasy Prospects: Paintings by Nathan Lewis, Sabrina Marques, and Christopher Mir
Jan. 27—Mar. 2, 2008

Uneasy Prospects is a great show at the John Slade Ely House that features works by a trio of superb young local painters. Christopher Mir, Sabrina Marques and Nathan Lewis each combine an interest in figurative expression with personal narrative expression. While I have written about Mir and Marques previously (see this post for links), this was my introduction to Nathan Lewis' paintings. They are very impressive.

The show features four large oils by Marques that were part of her show in Real Art Ways' Real Room last year. These are fanciful allegorical works inspired by stories handed down by relatives who fled Castro's Cuba. "Parlamento (Parliament)" features a trio of owls in a lush wood. In an interview with me last year for an article in The Arts Paper, Marques told me that the painting was born out of a desire to paint birds. In her research, Marques learned that a group of owls is termed a "parliament." Recalling relatives' stories about the neighborhood watchdog groups in Cuba alert to potential counter-revolutionary activity, Marques envisioned the owls as spies, their eyes following viewers no matter where one stands.

There are also four smaller gouache works by Marques in the show. Where her oil paintings cover their surface—vibrant and underwater in "Me Voy Solo" and verdant and forested in "Parlamento"—her gouache works situate the figures and a few props in uncluttered open space. There is more than a tinge of children's literature macabre in some of these. In "Johnson VT," a mating buck and doe are caught between three dogs and a hunter with a bow and arrow. The three dogs wear luminous orange camo hunting vests; the hunter sports a similarly colored cap. While the buck mounts the doe, oblivious, the hunter has his arrow lined up and bow drawn. No Cupid, he.

Chris Mir just had a show last fall at the Wadsworth Atheneum. But he's been burning the midnight oil in his studio, coming up with a whole new set of paintings for this show. Mir is creating his own mythological universe. It is populated with symbols of nature, magic, representations of technology, primal man and innocent girls and encroaching corporate forms and structures.

I was particularly taken with the color choices in the long horizontal work "Field Ritual." In the foreground, two young girls are seated in a field of pink and purple flowers. Behind them stands a bearded man in a robe, Mir's wanderer or hippie figure. Glowing yellow orbs hover around both him and the girls, Mir's depiction of magic. An airliner soars upward in the sky on the right. It is a blue-tinged dusk. Floodlights on a high pole behind the wanderer figure light the field. The lights are the same color as the glowing magic orbs, leading me to wonder if Mir was postulating an equation "technology/electricity=magic."

Like Mir, Nathan Lewis has his repertory company of imagery. In Lewis' case, there's a bit of a pop art sensibility, crossed with postmodernism, to his energetic compositions. He has scavenged imagery from old Life magazines as well as appropriating more recent iconic imagery. In both "Comedy of Eras", a big five-paneled acrylic painting, and "Are We Not Men" (a smaller graphite and acrylic work on birch panel named after a Devo album), Lewis faithfully renders the historic image of a Frenchman tearing up as the Nazis occupy Paris. The late punk rock guitarist Johnny Ramone, legs apart and furiously strumming his low-slung Mosrite, appears in both "Comedy of Eras" and "Strange Fruit." Lattice-like oil derricks recur regularly as do looming expanses of rock and piles of urban rubble. A wild-eyed ram's head reappears in several paintings. On his blog, Lewis details his themes: "the end of the oil era, the will to power, the instability in representations of masculinity, the tension and overlap of religion to art and politics, the seemingly unrelated lives of the masses to their idols."

He has dazzling technique. There is evident command of the acrylic colors. He has a gift for imbuing his figures with life, a talent most evident in the amazing "Till We Find the Blessed Isles Where Our Friends Are Dwelling." This large painting, which unfortunately had to be removed from the show early because Lewis had it placed in a show in New York, is based on Emmanuel Leutze's famous "George Washington Crossing the Delaware," or, as Lewis put it, a "remix." Lewis had put out a call for models to submit photos from throughout the Internet-accessible world. In the end, however, he populated the wooden boat, which is being rowed upstream against churning rapids, with a cast of friends and acquaintances he photographed locally. Unlike Washington's boat full of white men, Lewis' painting reflects "the diversity of gender, race, sexuality, politics, and technology that defines the country now," according to a statement on the blog he maintained for the project.

While "The Blessed Isles" is no longer on display in the show, the rest of Lewis' work is well worth checking out as are the paintings by Mir and Marques.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Skittles opening tomorrow at Wesleyan

Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery, Wesleyan University
238 Washington Ter., Middletown, (860) 685-3355
Skittles: The 2nd Annual Students of Color Art Exhibition
Feb. 14—Mar. 2, 2008.
Opening reception: Thurs., Feb. 14, 5—7 p.m.

Press release

In conjunction with Wesleyan University's celebration of Black History Month, Ujamaa presents Skittles, a student art exhibition organized by artists of color to showcase their work for the larger Wesleyan community. Skittles, a presentation by Ujamaa, Wesleyan's Black Student Union, provides an opportunity for students of color to contribute their skills and talents in the creation of an exhibition intended to give voice to an underrepresented group of artists.

The exhibition opens on Sat., Feb. 15, 2008 and runs through Sun., March 2, 2008 at the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery's South Gallery. The public is invited to attend the opening reception on Thurs., Feb. 14 from 5—7 p.m. The reception will feature several student speakers as well as Alexis Peskine, a prominent young artist whose work was recently included in an exhibition at Real Art Ways in Hartford and has been featured in the New York Times.

Skittles' opening reception in early February, 2007, had an astounding turnout of 100 students and other members of the Wesleyan community and featured four speakers—three students and a Wesleyan Professor of Art History. The works of seventeen students were represented in that exhibition, including paintings, drawings, photographs, and sculptures.

Double that number—34 students-—are showcased in this year's exhibition. In addition to the more traditional visual art forms such as painting and photography, audio and a digital music piece will be featured this year.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Strong small shows at Artspace

50 Orange St, New Haven, (203) 772-2709
Mt. Grandeur: Paintings by Cham Hendon
Unjoined Unity 3: Constructions and new work by Liz Pagano
Anomalies and other Oddities: A new installation by Tim Nikiforuk
thoughts of you...
Through Mar. 29, 2008

(02/13/08 NOTE: See update at end of post. HH)

Along with the main gallery show, Unnameable Things (to be reviewed in the near future), Artspace just debuted several small shows in their revamped gallery arrangement.

The work being shown by Liz Pagano in Gallery Four under the title Unjoined Unity 3 is a further elaboration on the mixed media constructions she has shown at ALL Gallery and City Gallery. Pagano layers glass or plexiglas that has been tinted, painted and/or scratched in box frames, creating two-way assemblages that interact with light.

Some, like "Unjoined Unity 1," have an urban feel—grime and paint on the windows, the accumulation of presences as abstract marks. Others—"Instinct 1-17," "Unjoined Unity 3," "L=LZ" and L=LY"—are evocative of natural processes and forms. With the washes of paint, there is a sense of being underwater, a feeling enhanced by marks that resemble coral or seaweed. It also appeared to me that Pagano's color palette has shifted from sanguineous reds to swimming aquas and turquoise. (At the opening, Pagano told me that, in fact, she had been using these colors previously.) It certainly feels, however, in this selection of works that the color emphasis has shifted. And with this shift, the emotional color becomes cooler, more meditative.

"thoughts of you...," the photo show in Gallery Seven curated by Jessica Smolinski, features works by photographers represented in Artspace's Flatfile. Each artist uses text within the work or titles that, paired with the visuals, invite the viewer to contemplate a narrative. Judy Gelles' photographs contrast time through paired images of the toys of a parent and a child. "Crayons 1954-1984" depicts one box of Crayolas for each of those years with the identifying text of "Mother" (a simple two-color box) and "Son" (a four-color box with "Built-In Sharpener"). (The 1984 box is quite similar to the box I worked from in the 1960's.) Identities, relationships and time are all refracted through the physical appearance of commodities.

Hannah Cole has been photographing while driving. (Is that more or less safe than texting or yakking on the cell?) She offers highway images, the blur of speed and guardrails, the sun glinting off an overpass, an endless horizon through a dirty windshield. Cole has pricked each image with pithy summations of the thoughts she had when snapping the shot. These are "to-do" notes, mostly mundane—"update Website," "dinner Monday?" And there is one not so mundane. Over a sun-bleached grassland extending into a mountainous distance, the pin-pricked message reads, "Schedule Biopsy."

Christine Shank
's C-prints were shot in a dollhouse. But the general orderliness of dollhouses is upended here. These are spaces of dysfunction, threat and literal upheaval. The chaos depicted visually is reflected in the titles—"They said it wouldn't get worse than this," "just a bruise." In "She had been told it was not a possibility," flames leap off a rumpled Oriental rug.

The installation wall drawing in Gallery Five (formerly the Project Room) by Tim Nikiforuk "Anomalies and Other Oddities," is in a style distinctly different from that of his stunning watercolors on display at Paper/New England in Hartford. Over walls painted in various shades of pink, Nikiforuk has drawn line images using pencil and markers. The shapes suggest maps, waterways, or roiling explosive biological or emotional processes. (Nikiforuk was inspired by aspects of cellular growth and mutation.) Throughout the kinetic line work there are discretely placed circles within circles. These nodules suggest parasitism, tumors, genetic markers.

Cham Hendon's acrylic landscapes are a highly personalized take on paint-by-numbers. Referring to a calendar photo for his Mount Grandeur series, Hendon combines controlled draftsmanship in his definition of forms with a far-out approach to using color. Using a technique he developed in the 1970's when "fooling around with process painting," swirls and pours colors within the areas defined by his "paint-by-number" outlines. The acrylic paint is mixed with a gel medium that dries to a stiff plastic surface. As though they were squeezed out of a toothpaste tube, colors are swirled together in tight squiggles. Hendon manages to define the contours and depth of his landscape image while at the same time generating intensely interesting clusters of abstraction. His four paintings are a fine complement to the Unnameable Things show of abstract paintings in the main gallery.

NOTE: I was remiss in not noting that there is another small show up at Artspace, that being John Bent's Suspended Animation 1 & 2. Bent's installations with animation are showing in the rest rooms. (Previous such shows have gone under the rubric of the "John and Jane Project." I'm not sure whether that is still the case or whether the water closets now have gallery numbers.) At any rate, it wasn't my intention to slight Bent by not including comments about it in this post. I didn't have enough time I could spend at the press preview to take adequate notes on his creations. I will comment on Bent's installations in the near future after I return to Artspace to also consider the Unnameable Things show.

It's the surreal thing

New Haven Free Public Library Art Gallery
133 Elm St., New Haven
Voyages: Artworks by Luigi Cavandoli
Feb. 2—Mar. 7, 2008

Luigi Cavandoli
's acrylic paintings owe a strong debt to the Surrealism of Rene Magritte and Giorgio De Chirico. In fact, a couple of the works are direct homages, one titled "A Voyage with Magritte" and another "A Voyage with De Chirico." But there "swipes" (as the old 1940's comic book artists put it) from the two Surrealist masters noticeable in other paintings.

Cavandoli is partial to recurring image tropes—shadowy figures with their backs to the viewer, a mysterious building with a couple of vertical slits for windows and a cylindrical tower and egg forms that are cracked and oozing blood. His palette betrays a strong affection for blues and yellows.

His technique is just strong enough to make his work effective. But no more than that. He doesn't have the ability, which the Surrealist masters did have, of convincing the viewer (at least not this viewer).

The strongest two paintings are hung next to each other, "A Voyage Around Myself" and "Untitled." The former features the cracked bleeding egg prominently with two shadowy figures in the foreground. Within the background is contained a plethora of recapitulations of Cavandoli's other works. The accumulation of absurdity starts to approach a lively critical mass. There is a similar sense, with less clutter and more compositional integration, in "Untitled," including a swipe of Magritte's sky-filled dove silhouette. "Untitled" features a painting within the painting, the main imagery surrounded by a faux rough-hewn knotty wooden wall.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Art openings this Sunday

Silvermine Guild Art Center
1037 Silvermine Rd., New Canaan, (203) 966-9700
Jane Ingram: Black Is Color
Through Mar. 9, 2008
Opening reception: Sun., Feb. 10, 2 p.m.

Press release

"The gift of paying attention is the capacity for delight." In this one person show, opening at the Silvermine Guild Arts Center Feb. 10, the artist invites the viewer to be part of the creativity and introduces the onlooker to a new way of thinking: Black is Color. An exhibition of monoprints, the viewer focuses on the image itself and the spirit which exists in them. Jane Ingram's work is about light, spatial relationship and movement; she feels that black and white images "are more pure, more direct without the distraction which can occur with color."

A new resident of Ridgefield, Connecticut, Ingram did not have the experience of an art education until she became an empty nester and took her first art course at Silvermine, "Absolute and Utter Beginner" with Clare Garcia. This first course set her on her artistic path where she discovered that she needed to paint. "It was just something I needed to do," said Ingram. Since then, Jane has become a Silvermine Guild Artist member in 1999 and an Aldrich Museum Emerging Artist by 2000. Her work has been printed and reviewed in Art New England and has been shown in many regional shows including Emerging Artists with the Aldrich Museum; Art of the Northeast at Silvermine Guild Arts Center; Northern Westchester Center of the Arts and New Art Annuals at the Stamford Museum/Nature Center. Ingram also actively participates in group shows at Silvermine Guild Arts Center, Pen and Brush Club in New York City, Mamaroneck Artists Guild and the Rowayton Arts Center.

"I am an experimental artist who loves to play with the materials, always looking for something different to find solutions," says Ingram. In this show, hints of the representational, rich black abstract shapes contrast with delicate textured shapes. Carefully placed forms and textures define tension within the work, which has evolved from the landscape tradition. These monoprints are original, one of a kind works of art. There will be no reproductions of the image. The monoprint is the painter's printing process and is a careful, but yet spontaneous, method of working which suits the artist's love of experimentation and continual exploration.

All are invited to the Opening Reception on Sunday, Feb. 10, at 2 p.m. Jane Ingram will speak about her work at the Fri., Feb. 15, Walk & Talk at the Silvermine Galleries. The exhibit runs through March 9.


The Picture Framer Artshack Gallery
96 Elm St., Hartford, (203) 272-2500
Grady Hearn
Feb., 2008
Opening reception: Sun., Feb. 10, 4—7 p.m.

Press release

During the month of February, the Picture Framer's Artshack Gallery will feature drawings by CHS student, Grady Hearn.

Hearn, a junior at Cheshire High School, combines his interest in drawing and cartooning with his knowledge of the computer. The drawings featured in this exhibit were drawn in ink, using pigma micron pens, then scanned and colored brightly in Photoshop. The slightly macabre subject matter is made playful by the bright, cheery colors. Framed pieces as well as prints will be for sale

An artist reception is planned for Sunday Feb. 10 from 4 to 7. This reception is free and open to the public. Snow date Feb. 24.

Art openings this Saturday

New Haven Free Public Library Art Gallery
133 Elm St., New Haven
Voyages: Artworks by Luigi Cavandoli
Feb. 2—Mar. 7, 2008
Artist Reception: Sat., Feb. 9, 2:30—4:30 p.m.

Press release

Luigi Cavandoli was born and grew up in Italy, in the foggy plains of the River Po, in the Fifties and Sixties. After College and qualifying as a teacher he started a voyage of self discovery that took him to England first, then back to Italy, then to Africa and, since 2002, to the United States of America where he lives now.

He took up painting as a form of artistic expression in the 90's, in Italy, when he went to Art School and an extraordinary teacher showed him the way, with the help of shapes and colors, to give a new life to his feelings. He exhibited his works in Italy, Africa and New York. He is member of Gallery RIVAA in Roosevelt Island, NYC.

"Life is both theater and a voyage and my life has been and is a voyage where, like countless others, I have tried to act, in the theater of the real, the part that somebody somewhere wrote for me. I see myself in a far side of a huge set, with easel, canvas, colors and brushes, observing, listening to and recording the dramas and the joys, the screams and the silence all around me.

"My works you are looking at in this show represent different moments of the voyage through the swamps and deserts of my life and are a humble metaphor of its eternal mysteries."

There will be an artist's reception at library this Sat., Feb. 9, 2:30—4:30 p.m.


John Slade Ely House Center for Contemporary Art
51 Trumbull Street, New Haven, (203) 624-8055
Uneasy Prospects: Paintings by Nathan Lewis, Sabrina Marques, and Christopher Mir
Jan. 27—Mar. 2, 2008
Opening reception: Sat., Feb. 9, 6—9 p.m.

Press release

There will be an Artists' Reception this Saturday evening, 6—9 p.m., at the John Slade Ely House. Uneasy Prospects features paintings by Nathan Lewis, and Sabrina MarquesChristopher Mir. Both Marques and Mir have previously been written about on Connecticut Art Scene. A Marques show in Real Art Ways' Real Room was reviewed in May, 2007. Mir was written about here and here.


Also, a reminder that ALL Gallery will be having an Artists' Reception for Black + White, the final show in the organization's Erector Square space, on Saturday from 5—7 p.m.

Changes at Artspace

50 Orange St, New Haven, (203) 772-2709

There was a press preview at Artspace this past Monday, led by Communications Director Jemma Williams and Artspace Executive Director Leslie Shaffer, both of the shows that have just opened and of some of the changes being introduced by Shaffer. The changes concern both the configuration of the space for the display of shows and programming. And both moves seem like they have a lot of potential.

Williams noted that there is a new color-coded and numbered gallery layout. Gallery One, which has been the main gallery, will continue to be the venue for the larger themed shows. (I plan to write about the new exhibit—Unnameable Things, a selection of abstract painting curated by local artist Clint Jukkala—in the near future.) The other galleries, in the spaces formerly designated as the Flatfile Room, the Project Room, etc., will feature smaller shows. The plan is to turn over the Main Gallery shows every three months while the smaller shows will change on a monthly basis. However, according to Williams, this three-month/one-month schedule will not go into effect until the fall, probably after City-Wide Open Studios. The current shows will be installed through March 29.

According to Shaffer, there are a couple of reasons for the switch. In their discussions with artists, they learned that, unsurprisingly, they would like more opportunities for solo exhibitions. And, by rotating the smaller shows more regularly, "it allows us to have a lot of different audiences coming through."

"By carving out little niches in the small galleries, it increases the number of artists we can serve in this way," said Shaffer. The plan is also to display larger works in the spaces with strong street visibility, with smaller works in the rooms where viewers need to come in.

The second major change, and one that is going into effect immediately, is the start of a weekly Thursday night programming schedule. Williams says that programming will range from "general fun events" like next week's "Valentine's Day Death by Chocolate Evening" and a "Winter Warmer Soup Swap" on Thurs., Feb. 28, to educational events, artist talks, forums for collectors, poetry open mics and semi-annual artists' networking receptions.

Diverse regular programming can feed off and into the growing reputation of the Ninth Square as an entertainment district. Check the revamped Artspace Web site to keep up to date with upcoming events.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Other openings Thursday, Feb. 7

Small Space Gallery
70 Audubon St., New Haven, (203) 772-2788
Full Spectrum
Feb. 8—Mar. 21, 2008
Opening Reception: Thurs., Feb. 7, 5—7 p.m.

Press release

The Arts Council of Greater New Haven presents Full Spectrum at the Small Space Gallery at 70 Audubon Street, 2nd floor. The exhibit takes place from Feb. 8 to Mar. 21 at the Arts Council's offices, with a reception on Thursday, Feb. 7, 5—7 p.m. A snow date is scheduled for Fri., Feb. 8. The public is invited to attend. Regular gallery hours are Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Artists for this show, all showcasing their work for the first time, are participants of the CT Department of Developmental Services, Division of Autism Spectrum Services. This program is providing services to adults with autism spectrum disorders who do not also have mental retardation. The program is working with approximately 28 individuals who reside in the Greater New Haven area. The mission of the project is to help these individuals to lead independent and self-sufficient lives. Participating artists include: Richard Bildstein, Ethel Bonie, Brendan Cunningham, Vance May, Jeffrey Tell and Kimberly Tucker.

Atticus Book Store-Café
1082 Chapel St., New Haven, (203) 776-4040
Susan Clinard: Wall Sculptures
Jan. 17—Feb. 19, 2008
Artist Reception: Thurs., Feb. 7, 5:30—7 p.m.

Press release

Sculptor Susan Clinard, profiled as part of Connecticut Art Scene's 2007 City-Wide Open Studios coverage, will have an artist reception tomorrow for her show of wall sculptures at Atticus Book Store-Café in New Haven.

20% of proceeds will be donated to IRIS Integrated Refugee and Immigration Services. IRIS is a not-for-profit refugee resettlement agency. IRIS helps refugees and other displaced people establish new lives, regain hope, and contribute to the vitality of Connecticut's communities.

Music by the All-Terrainians, a klezmer/Balkan/samba/Dixieland Consortium, will be performed in concert with the reception.

Artspace late winter shows opening Thursday, Feb. 7

50 Orange St, New Haven, (203) 772-2709
Late winter exhibition series
Through Mar. 29, 2008
Opening Reception: Thurs., Feb. 7, 6—8 p.m., preceded by an artist talk at 5 p.m.

Press release

Artspace is pleased to announce our late winter exhibitions on view from Feb. 2 through Mar. 29, 2008. The opening reception will be held on Thursday, February 7, 2008 from 6—8 p.m., following an artist talk at 5 p.m.

Unnameable Things
This exhibition highlights seven painters working in a large-scale abstract language. While these artists focus on elements of color, shape, and surface, their works allude to structures, figures and things in the world. Their paintings begin to suggest recognizable forms, yet remain abstract and unnameable. The exhibition, curated by Clint Jukkala, includes work by Matt Connors, Keltie Ferris, Chris Martin, Carrie Moyer, Baker Overstreet, Palma Blank Rosenblum and Chuck Webster.

Mt. Grandeur: Paintings by Cham Hendon
Like Chinese ink and brush paintings, Cham Hendon's large-scale poured paint pieces are at the same time fluid in their strokes and inflexible once they are dry. In this series, he reworks typical mountain imagery by mixing California culture with the Far East.

Unjoined Unity 3: Constructions and new work by Liz Pagano
Simultaneously pushing the limitations of chance and control, Liz Pagano layers transparent plexiglass marked with stains, swirls, and spots to create assemblages that come alive when placed near light.

Anomalies and other Oddities: A new installation by Tim Nikiforuk
Drawing from various aspects of cellular growth and mutation, Tim Nikiforuk's vast wall drawings explode with a flux of mutated abstract organisms that envelop its viewing audience as they virally spread from the nooks and crannies of the room.

Suspended Animation 1 & 2: A new installation by John Bent
In this two-part animation and installation, John Bent explores the relationship of time to our bodies and personal identities. Suspended Animation 1 presents a continuous churning mass of abstracted organ-like forms, exposing the rift between the real and perceived time of our internal body. Suspended Animation 2 is presented from within a wax and latex form, and portrays the continual, largely unnoticed changes and cycles of our external body's appearance.

thoughts of you...
This exhibition, curated by Jessica Smolinski, presents a selection of photographic works from Flatfile artists Hannah Cole, Judy Gelles, Martin Kruck and Christine Shank. Each artist uses text or titles to conjure stories that accompany the visual image, inviting the viewer to construct a narrative by piecing together the written and visual information. These works represent a particular time, place or person as subject without being visibly present.

ALL Gallery in photo finish

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.

Black + White, the last show at ALL Gallery in New Haven, is a fine juried exhibit of black and white photography. Featuring 15 national and international photographers—including a half dozen from Connecticut—the show displays the medium's broad expressive range within the limits of black and white tonality. The subject matter includes landscape, street photography, abstraction and more.

The show leads off with Ingrid Schoelkopf's two images of dolls in an exotic second-hand store. They were photographed at a time when Schoelkopf was absorbed with concerns about an impending surgery and thoughts about her mother's and sister's breast cancer. The images are odd and deeply disturbing. In "Bell Jar," the dolls in the display case are tumbled upon each other, like corpses of babies, blank-eyed. Another is stuffed into a big pail reading "Lamb Livers." Behind the pail, a naked doll is contained within a jar, looking like a fetus in formaldehyde. The emotional disconnect stems from the way these playthings, arranged with such disregard for their "personal" dignity, appear to embody the fragile nature of human emotion and physical existence.

Marjorie Wolfe's two prints find emotional resonance in the woods. "Blighted Trees," shot from the ground up, looks through a converging circle of pines. Stripped bare by hurricane winds, the desperate frazzled branches reach up into the blank whiteness of the sky. The sky is so stark, in fact, that I could entertain the optical illusion that I was looking from above down through trees rooted in snow. A single, spindly tree stands out in the foreground of "Almost Dew Point." The surrounding forest is ghostly, blanketed by a thick mist.

The woods are also a point of fascination for Joan Fitzsimmons. Her "Woods_17" depicts the forest of our dreams (or nightmares). This is a place where fairy tales, enchantment and horror intertwine. She has combined blurry images of tree branches in darkness—seen as one might fleeing through a nightmare!—with cut paper imagery inspired by the Polish folk art Wycinanki. One cut image, of a fetus in utero connected to a blaze of what appears to be foliage, is used as a photogram effect, to mask off some of the scene. A cutout of a small skeletal animal is collaged upside down in the lower right corner of the print. The image is spooky, suggesting that our relationship to nature is primal, elemental more than intellectual.

Jessica Somers' print "Bond" is photography as box assemblage. In the image, male and female hands reach for each other in a wooden box. The man's middle finger is connected to the woman's ring finger by a delicate piece of string. In the left corner of the box, two pears nestle against each other. There are elements of still life and surrealism as well as the complex emotional symbolism of the box, string and fruit. The brushed-on borders of the Ziatype print give the composition a raw energy.

Harry Longstreet's two images are fine examples of street photography. Voyeuristic yet humane, he catches moments in which interactions or, in the case of "Her Own World," solitude, feel both personal and universal. The solitude of the woman in "Her Own World," countenance lost in thought, is complemented by Ryan Wong's image "Man in Light" on the facing wall. In Wong's picture, a congregation is seen from above (as with "Her Own World"), seated in the pews of a Catholic Church in China. The room is quite dark except in the center of the print where one man in a white shirt sits attracting a bright light. There is a suggestion of his solitary spiritual enlightenment. In both images, the photographers are looking down on their subjects in the physical sense but not in an intellectual sense.

There is a double frisson of voyeurism served up in Samantha Wolov's "Always Tip Housekeeping." Wolov, who specializes in erotic and fashion photography, shot a couple in bed in a darkened motel room, lit from the outside (the curtains aren't drawn). The duo—probably a man and a woman though it's impossible to tell for sure—are cloaked in shadow. Through the window glare can be seen the faint image of the housekeeper passing by, pausing to look at the couple. It's a fun commentary on the nexus between work and play.

In Lauren Chester's "Duality" a pair of glasses sit on a window ledge. Looking out through the window, the scene of trees and a nearby building are outside the focus range. Looking through the left lens of the glasses puts the outdoors even more out of focus. The right lens is so scratched as to impede vision completely. Only the frames of the glasses and the window frame on which they rest are sharp. It seems to be a comment on the choices of photographic vision.

A cheap plastic Holga camera was Isa Leshko's tool for capturing "Point Pleasant, NJ #1." But for Leshko, its very limitations are its strength. Shooting with one aperture setting and a choice of either one shutter speed or bulb, Leshko nailed the thrill of the amusement park in this image. In the evening's darkness, the bulb exposure captures the lights of a carnival ride as whirling tracers.

There will be an Artist Reception at the gallery this Saturday evening, Feb. 9, from 5—7 p.m. ALL Gallery will host an event to mark the gallery's closing the following Friday, Feb. 15, starting at 7 p.m.