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Friday, March 20, 2009

Opening reception Sunday at Silvermine

Silvermine Guild Art Center
1037 Silvermine Rd., New Canaan, (203) 966-9700
March/April Exhibits at Silvermine
Mar. 22—Apr. 15, 2009
Opening reception: Sun., Mar. 22, 2—4 p.m.

Press release

New exhibits opening at the Silvermine Guild Arts Center, located in New Canaan, CT on Mar. 22 will be showcasing five women artists, all Silvermine Guild artist members. Exhibits range from Director's Choice Janet Baldi featuring her well known body of still life paintings; wall sculptures by Judith Steinberg; ceramicist Florence Suerig; and Fran Henry-Meehan with a selection of works from her Garment series of montotypes with Diana Moore's series of Purses cast in metal in a two-person show. All are welcome to the Opening Reception on Sun., Mar. 22 from 2—4 p.m.

Greenwich artist and Director's Choice, Janet Baldi's exhibit Bodegónes focuses on her body of still life paintings. Through her masterful rendering and understanding of visual space, Ms. Baldi is able to elevate this traditional and common academic subject into a visually complex exploration of the pictorial plane. While she hints at three-dimensional space through her faithful rendering of rounded teapots, pitches and vessels along with the inclusion of the objects' shadows, she manages to flatten any sense of depth of field. This is accomplished through her use of linear composition accompanied by the addition of neutral backgrounds. In effect, Ms. Baldi creates an image that forces the viewer's eye to remain on the surface or foreground of the image. In her work "The Bride," the vessels are accurately portrayed with cast shadows and the straightforward linear composition seems to flatten the picture plane evoking an effect found in the layout of traditional Greek friezes.

Stamford artist Judith Steinberg's exhibition Memory Catchers has a focus that shifts between two- and three-dimensional pieces, with a palette ranging from stark black and white to vibrant color. These wall pieces are part of an ongoing series of three-dimensional constructions that began in the spring of 2007, following a major collaboration with two other artists. A host of new materials have incorporated their way into the work and introduced a new feeling of delicacy, and fragility. Ms. Steinberg's wall sculpture combines both found metals and painted paper into a woven composition that creates a visually lyrical object. According to the artist, "Embedded in these pieces is my love of movement and the delight I feel when interacting with the natural world: the flow of water or air around my body, and the sublimity of these simple experiences. The work is driven and directed by the process of making it."

The works included in Florence Suerig's exhibition represent the artist's latest endeavor to explore the possibilities of non-functional ceramics. Well known for her work in the textile arts, Ms. Suerig's new body of work shows that she is quickly and clearly defining an artistic voice and technical control for the clay medium. The new body of work consists of a series of pure white, fluid, abstracted figural works which work with the visual language developed by the master sculpture Henry Moore, a historical and visual reference that Ms. Suerig is well aware of and directly pays homage to with the show's whimsical title Moore or Less. A resident of Greenwich and a Silvermine Guild artist member since 1982, Florence Suerig began working in clay after a successful thirty-year career as a fiber artist. Her new sculptural works are the result of several years of intense exploration of medium, and reflect the sensitivity to color, form and surface she has cultivated throughout her career.

In her two-person show with Diana Moore, Attire the Second Skin, Fran Henry-Meehan exhibits a selection of works from her Garment series of monotypes. On the surface these works seem to be merely stark representations of articles of clothing as bikinis, suits and evening dresses. However, upon further inspection Henry-Meehan's work reveals something much deeper than simple renderings of recognizable items. Through her use of color, understanding of compositional arrangement, and use of technical traits inherit to the monotype print process, she transform these garments into architecture structures, surfaces of pattern, and symbolic icons.

For many years Diana Moore, an artist member of the Silvermine Guild of Artists since 2006, worked with the human image in concrete, carbon steel and bronze. Some of these works were small and intimate while others were large-scale public works. In 2000, she began working with the female presence in the form of a purse. This became a series of eight purses that reflect different aspects of female anatomy. There is a precision and clarity to the form in the purses and their patterned outer surfaces that suggest female obsession with body shape and its decorative presentation. According to Moore, "This is one of the oldest and often, only ways in which women could express their individuality. Though women now have many other options, this means of self expression remains basic." All of the purses in this series open up and are latched in various ways. The interior of each purse is the negative shape created by the outside purse form. The interiors are plain or without textural embellishment. One could think of this inside/outside as unconscious/conscious or the private/public aspect of self.

The purse has associations beyond its use as a metaphor for the female presence. For the artist, the purses have a rich cultural inheritance as they were inspired by many diverse objects. "Prickly Purse" and "Clutch" have an African feel, while "Seedy Purse" looks like it might be related to Japanese teapots. The idea of "Prickly Purse" came from walking on industrial, rubber pronged mats as well as looking at African fetish figures. "Spiral Purse" was motivated by an ancient Japanese earthenware urn that Moore had seen in the newspaper. The Purse Series, while playful, have a formal presence as well. Cast in carbon steel, rusted and weathered, they look somewhat archeological yet represent a contemporary object.


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