Dedicated to covering the visual arts community in Connecticut.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Chamberlain exhibit opens Thursday at Artspace

50 Orange St, New Haven, (203) 772-2709
Patrick Chamberlain: On Your Mark
Apr. 1—June 5, 2010.
Public Opening: Thurs., Apr. 1, 6—8 p.m.

Press release

Artspace is pleased to present, On Your Mark, a solo exhibition of new and recent paintings by Patrick Chamberlain. The exhibition recalls childhood reverence, playful gestures, and vibrant lines and color. The exhibition is on view in Gallery 1 from Mar. 30—June 26, 2010. The public reception for this exhibition is Thurs., Apr.l 1, from 6—8 p.m.

On Your Mark presents the largest exhibition to date of Chamberlain's radiant and evocative abstract paintings. Chamberlain will debut a 12-panel painting in addition to nine other inquisitive works. Deeply invested in the techniques of his craft, Chamberlain paints lines, shapes, and textures that present viewers with multiple points of entry into his alluring world. Although Chamberlain's work varies in scale and composition, his emotional use of color is consistent throughout. Intense areas of color announce themselves without apology; hot pinks, turquoise blues, pulsating yellows, and flamingo pinks punctuate his canvases.

While Chamberlain's works frequently evoke natural forms such as waves, trees, flowers and fields, ambiguity lies at the core of his artistic practice. Bold pockets of color are often tempered by exacting line work and an attention to surface and texture, revealing deeper convictions about the conceptual processes of painting. His imagery seems to linger "in the between," so to speak; it's as if the subjects presented are about to fall, shrink, roll, or slip into some distant, remarkable place.

The On Your Mark exhibition catalogue will include contributions by poet and author Jeremy Sigler, and Artspace Curator, Liza Statton (forthcoming).

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Check out Artspace Underground this Saturday

50 Orange St, New Haven, (203) 772-2709
Artspace Underground
Sat., Mar. 27, 8—11 p.m., Admission $5, Drinks $6

(Normally, I don't do posts on performance events as they are generally outside the parameters of what this blog is about. But I attended my first Artspace Underground event last month and was quite impressed. According to Liza Statton, Artspace curator and interim executive director, each one is different. The February Underground featured some cool avant-garde noise music early on, a standup comedian and an indie rock band. This month's Underground will feature a couple of indie pop bands and—correct me if I'm wrong—a neo-burlesque dancer. Very au courant. It's a scene well worth checking out. Hank)

Press release

Throw away those parkas. Spring has officially sprung! Come out and celebrate the warmer weather with us on Sat., Mar. 27 from 8—11 p.m.

On Mar. 27, listen to two bands plus watch a pole dancer! The Smittens, a five-piece indie pop band, come to us from Burlington, Vermont and like to regard themselves as a do-it-yourself twee explosion of hyper-catchy songs of all colors, shapes and sizes.

New Haven's own The Wee Bees (Web) similarly embrace the DIY-aesthetic that gave birth to some of our greatest creative inspirations (the C86 compilation; Sarah, K, Matador and Slumberland Records) and craft pop songs that span the gamut from jangly verse-chorus-verse structure, tremolo-heavy shoegaze, and sweet lullabies to experimental jaunts.

Sugar Magnolia brings her Cabaret-style charm, and she'll dance throughout the evening. As always, 116 Crown serves you drinks, and guest-DJ Sofia Cavallo spins. Artspace Underground enlivens downtown.

Come ready to dance, laugh, and celebrate spring—$5 admission and $6 dollar drinks.

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Saturday opening at the Bruce Kershner Gallery in Fairfield Public Library

Bruce S. Kershner Gallery at Fairfield Public Library
1080 Old Post Rd., Fairfield, (203) 256-3155
Beauty Marks
Mar. 27—May 16, 2010.
Opening reception: Sat., Mar. 27, 5—7 p.m., Curator/Artists' Talk at 6 p.m.

Press release

Curated by Janine Brown, Beauty Marks, at the Fairfield Public Library's Bruce S. Kershner Gallery, is an exhibition of 10 Connecticut artists that use mark making in their art. The exhibition will run from Mar. 27 through May 16. The opening reception will take place on Sat., Mar. 27 from 5—7 pm with a brief talk by the curator and artists at 6 p.m. The Bruce S. Kershner Gallery is located at 1080 Old Post Road in Fairfield.

Ms. Brown states that "Beauty Marks was inspired by the history of the beauty mark." During 17th century France, high society women used faux "beauty" marks made of black taffeta to enhance their looks and communicate coquettish messages. For instance, a mark on the forehead suggested majesty, a mark close to the dimple was playful, and a mark at the corner of the lips was regarded as murderous. Similar to the French female aristocrats, the artists in this exhibition use their "beauty" marks to communicate a message to the viewer. The act of mark making for these and other artists is done by intentionally placing lines and symbols on paper or other supports to ultimately create the artist's unique message. In this exhibition, the humanity and the human form are the common threads, yet each artist in the exhibition communicates their reference to humanity in a different way.

Referencing the origins of man, Paul Kaiser's graphite drawings of hominid skulls on the worn pages from the first edition of The Tragical Historie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke combines the marks made by the artist with the marks of the typography of the book. The juxtaposition of the skulls and the story of Hamlet provide a subtle statement of man as beast.

Karen Sorensen also references early man with "Viking I" and "Viking II." Sorensen's life-size drawings of the Norse warriors provide an unsettling contrast to the tranquility of a library setting by showing the warriors in full armor with weapons drawn.

Likewise, Jak Kovatch has used the warrior as inspiration. Kovatch uses mixed media to create powerful graphic elements and linear shapes that wrap around or weave in and out of diffused forms. In the works selected for this exhibition, Kovatch starts with the skull and transforms it into various references of the warriors of yore.

Nomi Silverman comments on humanity with three of her works that deal with homelessness. The expressive use of lines and color characterize the sadness and despair that one imagines feeling if one was homeless.

Expression and use of line comes across in artist Peter Konsterlie's work, which fuses medical illustrations with linear marks and patterns to create his response to a loved one's medical treatment and illness.

Addressing the linear in a different way, Edith Borax-Morrison uses a woven sheath of free flowing strings and fibers to create references of women in her pen and ink pieces, "Ensnared" and "Wired Woman."

Noted for her works on ceramics and drawings, Judy Henderson was selected for this exhibit for her drawings executed on tea bags. Henderson's charming works are based on her interest in the human body and the head as a vessel holding information.

The other artists included in the show include Anne Doris-Eisner, M.G. Martin, and James Reed.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Multiple shows opening at Artspace this Thursday, March 25

50 Orange St, New Haven, (203) 772-2709
Patrick Chamberlain: On Your Mark
Lisa Dillin: Office Units: Surrogate Prototypes
Shannon Gagne: Breaking Roots
Hong Seon Jang: Rainbow Forest
Karla Knight: Life in Space
Robin Press: Memory Project I
David Barton: Artistic Syncretism: African Dream Paintings
Through May 1, 2010.
On Your Mark will be on display through June 5, 2010.
Public Opening: Thurs., Mar. 25, 6-8 p.m.
Opening for Patrick Chamberlain's On Your Mark: Thurs., Apr. 1, 6-8 p.m.

Press release

Artspace announces seven new solo exhibitions with works by Connecticut, New York, and Israeli artists. The 6 exhibitions of Lisa Dillin, Shannon Gagne, Hong Seon Jang, Karla Knight, Robin Press, and David Barton will open on Thurs., Mar. 25., from 6-8 p.m. Patrick Chamberlain's exhibition, On Your Mark, will open on Thurs., Apr. 1, 2010.

Common themes that emerge throughout the Artspace galleries are correlations between mark making and synaesthetics, conformity and spontaneity, and memory and decay.

Gallery 1 • Patrick Chamberlain's exhibition, On Your Mark, represents the artist's first solo show. Chamberlain's abstract paintings illuminate Gallery 1 with hoppy colors and tangential lines and shapes.

Gallery 2 • Office Units: Surrogate Prototypes, by Lisa Dillin, is a life size office unit that opens from below the desk and into a small cave. Dillin's work engages in the emotional consequences of living in a manmade environment and provides a sculptural reprieve into an amorphous space.

Gallery 3 • Breaking Roots, by Shannon Gagne, is a delicate installation composed of altered baby food jars, clay forms, and tree roots. Gagne explores connections between organic forms, family lineage, and human mortality.

Gallery4 • Rainbow Forest, by Hong Seon Jang, is a series of sculptures and drawings that evoke a sense of celebration and pathos in their dense materiality. Jang's works are constructed entirely from found and recycled materials.

The Long Wall • Life in Space, by Karla Knight, is an on-going series of geometrical drawings of biomorphic forms that the artist has been exploring for over 20 years. This exhibition marks the first time the series will be shown in its' entirety.

Gallery 5,6 • Memory Project I, by Robin Press, is both an audio installation and series of silk screens that investigate the mechanics of memory through the process of recording interviews with anonymous subjects and overlaying spoken word with images.

Gallery 7 • Artistic Syncretism: African Dream Paintings, by David Barton is a series of paintings based on personal descriptions of a friend (now deceased) who studied in Central Africa. His pictures are visual translations of the descriptions of pagan worship with incorporated elements of Islam and Christianity.

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Mystic Arts Center call for artists for "Long and Lean"

Mystic Arts Center
9 Water St., Mystic, (860) 536-7601
Call to Artists for annual juried exhibition Long and Lean
Receiving for exhibit: Sun., Apr. 11 and Mon., Apr. 12, from 11 a.m.—5 p.m.

Press release

The Mystic Arts Center is issuing a call to artists to exhibit work in the Annual Juried Exhibition, Long and Lean, which runs from Apr. 16—May 22.

This exhibition is open to all artists and all media, with the exception of photography. Artists may submit up to two original artworks and each must fall within this year's dimensional theme: one direction measuring at least twice as long as the other direction.

Receiving for the exhibition will be held at the Mystic Arts Center on Sun., Apr. 11 and Mon., Apr. 12 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

All submitted works will be juried by Long Island artist and teacher Sharon Way-Howard, whose representational work in a variety of media has won numerous awards and acceptance in national exhibitions. Way-Howard is a Board member and Chairman of the Art Committee at Salmagundi Club in NYC and currently teaches at the Islip Art Museum.

Three monetary prizes will be awarded in the exhibition, with first prize receiving $350; second prize receiving $250; and third $150. Fees to submit artwork are $15 for members and $20 for non-members, with a discount applied to additional entries. For size limitations and exhibition requirements, please visit the Mystic Arts Center Web site or call (860) 536-7601 x204.

The show runs simultaneously with The Elected Artists Exhibition, and MAC Elected Artists are encouraged to submit their work during the same drop-off period. The Mystic Arts Center is located at 9 Water Street in downtown Mystic.

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Thursday opening at Hull's: Richard Carleton landscapes

Hull's Gallery One Whitney
1 Whitney Ave., New Haven, (203) 907-0320
Richard Carleton: Landscapes
Through Apr. 3, 2010.
Opening reception: Thurs., Mar. 25, 5—8 p.m.
Press release

Please join us for a survey of beautiful and extraordinary paintings and etchings by Richard Carleton, a well-known and widely-collected Connecticut artist. The opening reception is this Thurs. evening, from 5—8 p.m.

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Thursday night opening at Jennifer Jane Gallery: Sean Kernan photography

Jennifer Jane Gallery
838 Whalley Ave., New Haven, (203) 494-9905
Sean Kernan
Mar. 25—Apr. 17, 2010
Opening reception: Thurs., Mar. 25, 5—8 p.m.

Press release

Sean Kernan is a widely exhibited photographer, writer, and pioneering teacher who has focused on the area of creativity. Kernan came to photography from theater, and is the author of two monographs, The Secret Books (with Jorge Luis Borges) and Among Trees. He also maintains an active and successful commercial studio. There will be an exhibit of his photography at the Jennifer Jane Gallery from Mar. 25—Apr. 17, 2010. An opening reception will be held Thurs., Mar. 25, from 5—8 p.m.

His exhibitions include: Centre Regional de la Photographie, Duchy, France; Biblioteca Alexandrina, Egypt; Photosynkiria, Thessaloniki, Greece; William Benton Museum of Art, University of Connecticut; Hellenic-American Union, Athens; Sala Bustos, Guanajuato (Mexico); Museo de la Ciudad, Queretaro, Mexico; Kunsthaus Santa Fe, San Miguel de Allende (Mexico); Friends of Photography (San Francisco; Wesleyan University, Connecticut; Whitney Museum (New York).

He has been published in the New York Times Magazine, Smithsonian, New York, Harpers, Bloomberg, Communication Arts, Graphis, Polyrama (Switzerland), Photo World (China), as well as magazines in Iran, Greece, Italy, and Switzerland.

He has taught and lectured at the New School/Parsons, Art Center (Pasadena), ICP, University of Texas, Austin Peay University, Wesleyan University, Hallmark Institute, and both the Maine and Santa Fe Workshops. He is a frequent speaker at conventions, corporations and graduations, and has won numerous awards, most recently an Honorary Doctorate from Art Center in Pasadena.

He has written about creativity, the arts and commerce in Communication Arts, Graphis, and Lenswork, among others.

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Mystic Aquarium call for artists for Earth Day exhibit

Mystic Aquarium
55 Coogan Blvd., Mystic, (860) 572-5955
Scrap Art Sculpture Contest Call for Artists
Deadline for registering to exhibit: Apr. 16
Entries welcome through Apr. 23
Winner to be chosen during Earth Day Celebration, Apr. 24, 2010

Press release

Calling all scrap artists! Mystic Aquarium, a division of Sea Research Foundation, Inc., is holding its second annual Scrap Art Sculpture contest and is seeking marine-themed art created from recycled materials. Artists of all ages and abilities may submit their creations through April 23.

Guests during the aquarium's Earth Day Celebration on April 24 will select the winner, who will be announced on April 25. The winner will receive a trophy and behind-the-scenes tour of the aquarium, which includes a guided tour of the campus, access to a private touch tank, reptile encounter and stops at the top of the Coral Reef exhibit, food prep kitchen and freezer and an animal exam room.

The idea for this contest came from the Youth Conservation Core, a group of high school students who serve as ambassadors for the aquarium and its public conservation programs.

"Sea Research is dedicated to conservation and educating guests on ways they can help save our planet," said MaryEllen Mateleska, instructor and public conservation programs manager at Mystic Aquarium. "The Scrap Art Sculpture contest is a great way to engage our guests - many of whom often participate in our public conservation programs - and get everyone thinking about creative ways items can be reused in the house and beyond."

Last year, "Little Moe, the Sea Horse," created by the Walls family of Uncasville, won the contest. The family—Tiffany, Eric, Travis, Emma and Nathan—used a variety of recycled materials to create a colorful seahorse, swimming in an ocean and surrounded by seaweed. A plastic container, packing Styrofoam "peanuts", cardboard box and small pebbles made up the water, while newspaper, ripped magazine pages and aluminum foil were used to create "Little Moe." Seaweed, constructed from paper towel rolls and plastic bag pieces, surrounded the seahorse.

All submitted sculptures must consist of at least 75 percent reusable goods, and those goods must be cleaned prior to use. The sculpture should be no larger than 30 inches long by 30 inches wide by 60 inches tall and no heavier than 25 pounds. The work must stand on its own.

This contest is open to individuals and groups of up to 15 of all ages. All art submissions must be brought to the aquarium between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on April 23.

For additional rules and more information, visit the "Fun & Learning" section of All participants must register to exhibit their art by e-mailing by Friday, April 16.


Hygienic Art Call for Artists; Sharon Butler to be juror

Hygienic Art
83 Bank St., P.O. Box 417, New London, (860) 443-8001
The Fifth Crossing Annual Juried Exhibition Call for Artists
Date info below

Press release

2010 will be the Hygienic Art Gallery's fifth year of its juried art show. The original concept of "crossing the bridge" is an attempt to get people "Out for Art." In Southeastern Connecticut everyone's excuse for not getting out to local events many times comes back to the bridge and possibly the rivers that divide our towns. This exhibition is an attempt to get people to cross the bridge literally as well as to motivate artists to become involved on our side of the river. It is a regional show with over 100 artists submitting artwork to be considered.

The fifth Crossing Juried Exhibition is not a theme based show it is open to all themes and we hope to receive artists best and most recent work. It is also an opportunity for new artists from across other bridges to get involved with the exciting things happening at the Hygienic Art Galleries and in downtown New London. Every year we have a different juror. Every Juror looks for different things so it is always interesting to see what makes the cut.

The opening reception will be Sat., Apr. 24, from 7—10. There will be cash prizes for selected best pieces. The show will run through Sat., May 22. Visit for info and to see our website.

Receiving Dates:

Thursday, April 15, 11 a.m.—3 p.m.
Friday, April 16, 11 a.m.—6 p.m.
Saturday, April 17, 11 a.m.—6 p.m.

Entry fees:

$15.00 for single entry
$20.00 for two entries
$25.00 for three entries

Unselected Pick-up:

Thursday, April 22, 11 a.m.—3 p.m.
Sunday April 25, 12 p.m.—3 p.m.

Selected Pick Up:

Sunday, May 23, 2—5 p.m.

Artists may submit up to 3 pieces to be considered. All media welcome. All work must be current. All work must be for sale. No works previously shown at Hygienic will be accepted. All works must be suitably framed with wires and ready for hanging. No clips or saw tooth hangers. All metal frames must have hangers and wire. Work submitted must not exceed 60" in either direction. Sculpture must be easily transportable no more than 50 pounds. All work must remain for the duration of the show. Hygienic will retain 30% of sales and collect 6% CT state sales tax. Hygienic will not be responsible for unclaimed work.

Juror: Sharon L. Butler

Hygienic Art is pleased to announce this years Juror: award winning painter, professor and acclaimed art blogger, Sharon L. Butler. Hygienic is honored and looking forward to celebrating our fifth year.

Sharon Butler has received several grants and awards, including a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant, Pocket Utopia residency, Connecticut Artist fellowship, Blue Mountain Center Artists' fellowship, Vermont Studio Center residency grant, a Red Cinder Creativity Center residency, and two Connecticut State University research grants. Since 2000, she has been a faculty member in the Department of Visual Arts at Eastern Connecticut State University. Her work is included in private collections in New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Baltimore, Tampa, Philadelphia, Providence, London and Kyoto.

Butler maintains the art blog Two Coats of Paint, and is a contributing writer at The Brooklyn Rail and New Haven Advocate. Butler has on occasion also contributed to CT Art Scene.

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Thursday night opening: Linda Abadjian at Middlesex Community College

Middlesex Community College Pegasus Gallery
100 Training Hill Road, Chapman Hall, Middletown, 1-800-818-5501
Middlesex Community College The Niche
100 Training Hill Road, Founders Hall, Middletown, 1-800-818-5501
Linda Abadjian: Lambs of Lebanon
Mar. 22—Apr. 30, 2010.Opening reception, Thurs., Mar. 25, 5—7 p.m. in the Pegasus Gallery

Press release

Linda Abadjian's paintings employ a poet's gaze directed into the complex and persevering nature of the human condition. Connected with her childhood experiences during the Lebanese Civil War, images of tragedy and horror are threaded with an enduring optimism and assertions of hope. Abadjian's works possess the qualities of dreams where conflicting positions of actual place and spanning time resolve themselves through plausible materialization.
Tranquil landscapes, domestic interiors and serene neighborhood settings are treated with the same aesthetic affection as depictions of bomb torn buildings and linen wrapped corpses. These scenes are rendered into implicit indicators of memory as line drawings, doodlings and scrawled texts overlay and screen their surfaces. Abadjian's paintings transcendent base narratives of war by affixing the interconnectedness of family, faith, childhood innocence, and memory onto painted documentation of both place and home.

Abadjian is an MxCC adjunct art instructor and resides in New Britain. She has exhibited in over 30 national and regional exhibitions including Real Art Ways in Hartford, the Chen Art Center in New Britain, and the Women in Military Service for America Memorial, Gateway to Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

There will be an opening tomorrow, Thurs., Mar. 25, from 5-7 p.m. in the Pegasus Gallery.

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

"Streetwise America" opening reception at Kehler Liddell this Sunday

Kehler Liddell Gallery
873 Whalley Ave., New Haven, (203) 389-9555
Streetwise America: Hank Paper and Friends
Mar. 4—28, 2010
Opening Reception: Sun., Mar. 14, 3—6 p.m.
Musical Event: SKAmatics in Concert, Sun. Mar. 21, 1:30—3:30 p.m.

Press release

Kehler Liddell Gallery is pleased to present Streetwise America, a group show of photographs, paintings, collage and installation that documents contemporary America and facilitates a conscious consideration of what's happening on our streets. The exhibition features over 40 color photographs by New Haven-based artist Hank Paper, shot over the past five years. A selection of works by Peter Bosco, John Columbus, Steve DiGiovanni, Graham D. Honaker II, Robert Lisak, Maryann Ott, David Ottenstein and Suzan Shutan accompany Paper's work, offering chance similarities and juxtapositions that create new points of departure for reflection on our national identity.

Hank Paper shoots fast with a handheld Leica camera and crops with his lens in the straight, photojournalist style of New York's street photographers of the 60's and 70's: Robert Frank, Garry Winogrand, Diane Arbus, and Vito Acconci. The invention of digital film in the 80's did not fundamentally change his craft. Major themes in his work are evident in the patterns and behaviors that appear in his images time and time again: sexual role modeling, aging, immigration. His subjects are the people that play out these themes: preoccupied businessmen, wild hookers, concerned parents, assimilated immigrants, museum-going elders. For Paper, the challenge is to puncture the viewer's preconceived notions of his fellow man by making works that reveal his subjects' ever-changing dimensions: the posture of a Hell's Angel walking a toy poodle or the isolation of a lonely schoolgirl at a Christmas pageant.

Paper has dedicated the past 35 years to documenting contemporary society, mining the streets of North America, The United Kingdom, Western Europe, the Middle East and Cuba in search of capturing what he describes as "that revelatory action, or gesture, or face." His work has been exhibited in museum and gallery shows around the world, including The African American Museum in Philadelphia (2006), The Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel (1999), The Jewish Museum of New Jersey (2008), the High Point Historical Museum in North Carolina (2001), the Tamarkin's and the Leica Gallery in New York City (2002) and the Morgenthal-Frederics Gallery in New York City (2000). He received the Piedmont Award from the Somers Juried Photography Show for his Terminal Series in 2009 and a grant from the CT Commission on Culture and Tourism for his Ascension Series in 2006.

Together, the artists in this show hope to penetrate mass media image saturation and mitigate the pressure of electronic assault in order to fix on what is elusive and infinitely moving in the face of America today. A fully illustrated, hardbound catalogue with an introduction by Hank Paper will accompany the exhibition.

Peter Bosco's photographs come from a larger body of work titled Fading Places, which attests to the impermanence of things, both animate and inanimate. Bosco photographs many places that are no longer extant, intending to show things as they are and to render them in the most literal way possible. His work has been described as "hymns of sadness", and while they are often about loss, his works ultimately serve to sustain time, place and memory.

John M. Columbus' interest in photography began as a boy in 1960's New Jersey when his parents gave him a Polaroid/Land camera. He studied with photographer Marc Cohen, who influenced his street photography style of "seeing the unusual." Columbus, whose photo assignments have taken him throughout the U.S., the Caribbean, and Europe, currently concentrates on event and magazine photography, exhibiting his work, and drumming in the SKAmatics, a ska/jazz band that will perform in the gallery on Mar. 21.

Steve DiGiovanni blurs the line between painting and photography (see image) by incorporating digital photography in his paintings. DiGiovanni culls Internet images, old magazines and personal photographs, all of which he incorporates in his works in acrylic on canvas. Inspired by his imagination, his compositions are often free associative and improvisational, reflecting his ongoing interest in the wide range of painting's possibilities.

Graham D. Honaker II is an Abstract Expressionist whose paintings comment on contemporary society, with subjects ranging from potentially harmful political structures to the simple poetics of everyday life. Influenced by Existentialism, which emphasizes the act of creating, Honaker exercises his subconscious through "auto-painting." At the same time, his observations of the perpetually shifting world around him and his place in it are conveyed in his often-intricate and highly conceptual subject matter.

Robert Lisak is a photographer based in New Haven, who recently published a catalogue on the architecture of his city's historic churches. Lisak received his MFA from the Yale School of Art, and is currently a member of ASMP and an adjunct Professor of Photography at Sacred Heart University.

Maryann Ott is inspired by dreams, hallucinations, flights of imagination, and the mind's eye. She feels that if she could map the streets, alleys and hidden pathways of her inner life, she'd be a wiser person. Instead, she is a photographer, capturing what she can and making it hers.

David Ottenstein has been pursuing fine-art/documentary photography, exploring interiors of abandoned and decaying buildings in the northeast and the vanishing agrarian landscape of the Midwest.

Suzan Shutan is a New Media Sculptor, Installation and Video Artist straddling the worlds of two and three dimensions.

There will be an opening reception for this show on Sun., Mar. 14, from 3-6 p.m.

The following Sunday afternoon, Mar. 21, will feature a musical performance by the SKAmatics ska/jazz band from 1:30-3:30 p.m.

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Susan Clinard sculpture show opens at UNH Thursday

The Seton Art Gallery at the University of New Haven
Dodds Hall, 300 Boston Post Rd., West Haven, (203) 931-6065
Susan Clinard: Turning Wheel
Mar. 4—Apr. 1, 2010
Opening reception: Thurs., Mar. 11, 5—7 p.m.

Press release

The Seton Gallery at the University of New Haven is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Susan Clinard titled Turning Wheel. The exhibition is open Mar. 4 through Apr. 1 with a reception on Mar. 1 at 5 p.m.

Clinard's sculptures reflect her strong desire to honor nature's pure form. Whether sculpting from life in clay or carving wood, she strives to reveal nature's truths—the duality of chaos against perfect symmetry. Clinard's integration of found natural objects in her work brings about an organic simplification to the figurative elements. The work draws on and layers nature's puzzles with personal and political themes of inherently deep emotion.

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Saturday, March 06, 2010

New Advocate article on Artspace

I have an article in this week's New Haven Advocate on Artspace in the wake of executive director Leslie Shaffer's departure. The first two grafs:

Leslie Shaffer, executive director of Artspace, stepped down at the end of January after only three years at the job. According to David Leffell, board president, Shaffer resigned to be with her recently born twins.

Her tenure happened to coincide with a decline in funds available for arts organizations nationwide due to the Great Recession. Artspace, like many such groups, has cut staff in response to lost revenue. In fact, Shaffer's interim replacement, Liza Statton, is now tasked with both managing the organization and overseeing its programming.

You can grab it at your neighborhood newsstand (ha ha, I know those don't really exist anymore..) or local kiosk or read it online here.

One thing that Will K. Wilkins of Real Art Ways said to me that unfortunately had to be cut for reasons of space was, when an organization is changing directors or going through a transition, "that's the moment when you need to give more, when they'll need more resources."

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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Artspace unveils four strong new solo shows

50 Orange St, New Haven, (203) 772-2709
Phil Lique: Traces of Things That Are Alive and Dead
Fritz Horstman: Guerrilla Trees
Elaine Kaufmann: International Design
Conspectus I: New Work from the Flatfile Collection
Cecile Chong: Unspoken Word
Peter Konsterlie: Medical Systems
Feb. 25-Mar. 20, 2010

While Phil Lique's Traces of Things That Are Alive and Dead is held over in Artspace's main gallery, several new shows have been installed in the smaller galleries.

The most overtly conceptual show is Fritz Horstman's "Guerilla Trees." Inspired by "guerrilla gardening" -- the practice of illictly cultivating flowers, vegetables and other greenery in otherwise forlorn public spaces -- Horstman's installation envisions the repopulating of the "Elm City" with real elm trees. At Artspace this consists of a wall drawing map of New Haven, a long planter with a dozen elm saplings, a few dozen elm seed packets and string.

Horstman invited viewers to pin blue strings keyed to individual saplings to points on the map. Horstman will plant the saplings in those spots -- or as near as is feasible --when the weather permits. Visitors are also invited to take a seed packet and pin a green string on the map in the location where they plan to plant it.

The strings themselves are becoming like a tangle of brush. There is a symbolic dimension, as well: the connection between humans and nature, and between consciousness and place. When the exhibit ends, Horstman will chart the planting locations on a map that will be archived on Artspace's Web site.

A socially-informed consideration of space also animates Elaine Kaufmann's exhibit International Design. These are beautifully wrought pencil drawings of living spaces. But where the media promulgates images of luxury living places, Kaufmann depicts environments of brutal poverty. As she noted at the show’s opening, almost a billion people across the planet live in such sprawling slums, tenement camps and favelas.

Her renderings of expanses of slums and their interior and exterior conditions are placed within a bitingly ironic context. Kaufmann has substituted these images of desperation for the images originally in pages of high end architecture and home publications. The found images and found text -- and ever so elegant design -- are made one through Kaufmann's superb technique. (She said at the opening that she chose to use pencil because "it was the most immediate, humble medium I could work with.")

"Kid-centric Condos," for example, depicts two hovels with corrugated tin roofs and their garbage-strewn surroundings. Along the left side, the original knockout type reads "Kid-centric condos." The caption on the bottom boasts, "Play Suite -- Children enjoying the amenities at Wellington Tower. The playroom occupies prime real estate; in other condo buildings, the room might be dedicated to more adult-friendly purposes." International Design is political critique laden with dark, satiric humor.

Layers of materials, of colors and of cultural signifiers make up the mixed media paintings of Cecile Chong's Unspoken Word. Chong was born in Ecuador of Chinese parents and has lived in many places since. She said at the opening that her experience of the "layering of cultures" is something she tries to capture through her use of materials. The primary material used here is encaustic, hot beeswax infused with pigments. Chong noted that she used pigments from Iraq and India. Also brought into the mix are rice paper, volcanic ash, beads and bits of circuit boards from old televisions.

The imagery is a mashup drawn from a Dutch children's book and Asian and South American sources. The translucence of the encaustic imbues the surface with a dreamlike air. In the circular "Meeting of Minds," swirls of blue and purple mists are reminiscent of views of Earth from space. From a distance, the yellowed backgrounds of several of the works appear similar to the mottled colors of antique rice paper.

Peter Konsterlie combines painting and drawing techniques to create the works in his Medical Systems series. Initiated in reaction to a loved one's illness and treatment, they were also inspired by Konsterlie's fascination with anatomical illustrations in his wife's medical textbooks. They incorporate text, stencils and patterning, diagrammatic elements -- painted and drawn grids -- and body features deconstructed and labeled.

This is a different kind of "life drawing." Konsterlie uses gestural marks and stabs of paint (stabs of pain?) to depict bone and muscle. The stained and splattered canvases reference both Konsterlie's previous work in abstraction but also the mess that accompanies medical procedures. These works straddle the abstract and figurative realms. He plays freely with color, leaves lots of white space and layers depiction with free mark-making.

The most recent work in his exhibit is "Ahh Th World," composed of charcoal, enamel and latex paint on a large uneven sheet of paper. The most representational element is a rough drawing of a skull; there are also spray-painted stencils of leaves, flowers and geometric shapes. "Ahh Th World" is a chaotic cacophony of marks: scrawled lines, long drips of paint, dashes of thick brushwork. It resembles a wall that has endured multiple taggings by graffiti writers.

Along the top Konsterlie has jotted the declarative statement "I want things to live forever." It is a sentiment that resonates on more than one level. "I want things to live forever" is both a protest against mortality as well as an expression of the artist istic desire to use art and mark-making to transcend mortality.

In addition to the four aforementioned shows, Conspectus I: New Work from the Flatfile Collection is showing in Gallery 4. This group show conveys a broad, if not deep, sense of the quality and diversity to be found in Artspace's Flatfile.

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Mary Lesser show opens at City Gallery Saturday

City Gallery
994 State St., New Haven, (203) 782-2489
Mary Lesser: Displaced Persons
Mar. 4—28, 2010
Opening Reception: Sat., Mar. 6, 2—5 p.m.

Press release

City Gallery is presenting Displaced Persons, new work by Mary Lesser, from Mar. 4—28. The Opening Reception is on Sat., Mar. 6, from 2—5 p.m.

Lesser, known for her prints, has returned to her original training as a painter, presenting images of people in various locations and activities. Most refer to travelers who have come to unknown lands seeking new lives. This continues Lesser's previous printmaking interest in portraying the immigrant experience but emphasizes the more lost and lonely feelings of the refugee.

The paintings are in both oil and acrylic done with a limited palette and somewhat abstracted images. The show will also include prints.

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Opening at Gateway Art Gallery this Thursday

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Saturday night music & Sunday afternoon closing party at John Slade Ely House

John Slade Ely House Center for Contemporary Art
51 Trumbull Street, New Haven, (203) 624-8055
Joan& Frank Gardner: A Life's Work
Through Mar. 7, 2010.
Closing party: Sun., Mar. 7, 2-5 p.m.

Press release

Enokizu is a one man recording project conceived during the winter of 2007/2008. Utilizing vintage and modern synthesizers as well as electric guitar. Enokizu strives for a rich variety between electronic sounds and more traditional instruments. With a wide range of influences the Enokizu78 sound will constantly surprise you with its diversity. Enokizu will perform a free concert at the John Slade Ely House this Sat., Mar. 6, at 8 p.m.

Brian LaRue, in the August 5th, 2009 New Haven Advocate, wrote:
Bill Beckett, for years a well-regarded guitarist in local rock circles, unleashes another disc of songs from this one-man instrumental project, a collection of compositions that many might tag as "experimental" but which don't sound like mere experiments. Using synths, guitars and a sparingly-applied drum machine, Beckett creates waves of sound, repeated minimalist figures over pulsing backdrops, ambient drones and subtly melodic lines. With 22 tracks clocking in at 55 minutes total, the pieces are long enough to pull the listener in to these burbling, often elliptical sound-patterns and to assert each piece's basic theme, but not so long that the repetition becomes tiresome. And, from track to track, Beckett's able to vary his basic formula enough to keep the listener's ear occupied. It certainly works as mood-setting chill-out music, but those who choose to listen closely will find plenty of rewards.


The John Slade Ely House will also host a Closing Party, Sunday Mar. 7, from 2-5 p.m. to celebrate the careers of one of New Haven's most respected artist couple, Joan and Frank Gardner.

The Gardners have continuously produced the highest quality artwork for over thirty-five years and the Ely House is proud to present the Gardner's individual and collaborative accomplishments. A recent highlight of the Gardners' was the screening of their 16mm Film, The Robot at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City in November of 2009 as part of the film series Machine Made Man along with Woody Allen's Sleeper. The Robot as well as over sixty, watercolors, paintings, drawings, and prints will be on display through March 7, 2010.

NOTE FROM HANK: Last week my review of this wonderful show was published in the New Haven Advocate. I wrote that, "The John Slade Ely House is currently a temple of wonder. Frank and Joan Gardner: A Life's Work showcases the longtime New Haven couple's separate and collaborative work. The show is a fitting tribute to two lives long enriched by an immersion in art."

Read more of the review.

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Harvee Riggs, R.I.P.

Sad, sad news.

I was going through some of my back emails from last month and opened one from February 11 with the subject "Harvee News." I was stunned and saddened to read from Harvee Riggs' wife Diane that he died suddenly of a heart attack on January 31.

I first met Harvee about five years ago at an opening reception for works he was showing at the Art Shack in Cheshire and later interviewed him during City-Wide Open Studios in 2006. Harvee made wonderful box assemblages, dynamic compositions comprised of antique objects he scavenged at flea markets. His works were filled with humor, a sense of nostalgia, reverence for the past and a love of art. As his wife Diane noted in her announcement of Harvee's death, he had just put a book together about his work aptly titled I think, therefore I art! The book is available through Blurb.

I spoke with Harvee during the 2006 City-Wide Open Studios. That post can be read here. Harvee told me, "I like to use objects that have character and been around to show it. Shiny things are just glitter. Rusted? Broken? Doesn't matter. Scratched? All the better."
And if the components he wants to use don't display the toll of time and wear, Riggs is willing to work them over until they do. "Schoolhouse Chair" is built with a child's chair and a pair of mannequin arms.

"They were brand new when I bought them. But that doesn't work with my sensibility," said Riggs. So he scuffed them and stained them until they could pass as antiques. The work is a comment on lost innocence and possibility. The child within the seat has ideas about the world, dreams. But the adult, represented by the mannequin arms is shackled to the world of work and limitations. Like the rest of Riggs' displayed works, it was marked by a powerful sense of composition and balance.
I mourn the loss of a sweet, creative individual.

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Monday, March 01, 2010

Fine work by two new City Gallery members

City Gallery
994 State St., New Haven, (203) 782-2489
Two New Members: Boxes, Drawings & Assemblages: Paulette Rosen and Karen Wheeler

For Karen Wheeler, a recent transplant to New Haven from North Carolina, the work on display in her first City Gallery show is the fruit of a creative evolution. According to Wheeler, over the past few years she has moved from printmaking to papermaking—"flat papers with lots of pigments and shapes"—to incorporating handmade paper objects in wall sculptures.

Many of Wheeler's assemblages in the show are built around vessels created from handmade paper. She uses different pigments and collage elements to make her paper. The wet paper pulp is shaped around either loosely formed baskets or bags of sand inside socks, which can be emptied and removed when the paper dries. The dried paper has a hard, brittle surface akin to ceramics. Where the vessels formed around the bags of sand look like miniature pottery, those encrusted around the loose baskets resemble exotic decaying nests.

Most of her assemblages in the show are relatively small. One of the two large assemblages, "Connection: Home," includes items related to her husband who works with computers. Circuit boards, a small computer fan, a digital camera lens. Other items reference the concepts of home or connections: a dollhouse cabinet, golden chains. All are mounted on a large painted panel.

It is a rigorous composition with deft consideration of both symmetry and asymmetry. The turquoise blue paint on a small shelf that horizontally bisects the piece highlights Wheeler's pleasing use of color. The backing panel adds extra energy. The surface is built up with molding paste over which Wheeler has layered glazes in shades of green with inflections of orange and gold. A lush use of color and an attention to texture and surfaces characterizes all Wheeler's works shown here.

Paulette Rosen began birdwatching about six years ago. She tells me that when learning to identify birds, a birder often has to rely on small snippets of information glimpsed through branches or brush. Her new hobby got her back into drawing; her primary medium has long been book art. Many of her works displayed at the gallery are drawings of birds using ballpoint pen, colored pencil and gouache.

These drawings have a gestural feel: quick, attentive studies of feathers, claws, heads. Rosen has an appreciation of the aesthetics of birds as forms, an interest in the complexity of their coloration and the textures of their feathers. The gestural approach has a subsidiary payoff, implying the innate swiftness of birds as though they are darting in and out of our field of vision.

Rosen's skills as a bookbinder are employed in two different series of boxes. One set references the human impulse to collect: a box with layers of translucent and shiny mica; a dark, blue-edged box (with clear plastic sides) loosely layered with blue jay feathers; a long scarlet box with toothpick-like quills of a roadkill porcupine.

Five small boxes in the back of the gallery are like little art books. (Rosen tells me they are "half-clamshell" designs.) Each tells a tiny poem-like story through a combination of collage, text and the placement of tiny plastic toy figures. They are delicate and beautiful, miniature reminders of the worlds within books.

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