Dedicated to covering the visual arts community in Connecticut.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

"Crossing the Bridge" opens Saturday at Hygienic Art in New London

Hygienic Art
83 Bank St., P.O. Box 417, New London, (860) 443-8001
The Fifth Crossing Annual Juried Exhibition
Apr. 24—May 22, 2010
Opening reception: Sat., Apr. 24, 7—10 p.m.

Press release

The Fifth Crossing Annual Juried Exhibition 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. This year's juror is local artist and blogger Sharon L. Butler (Web).

Prizes will be awarded, including the Best in Show $500 Charles Chu Award. Charles J. Chu was an artist, poet, calligrapher, teacher and vibrant soul. He enjoyed teaching at Yale University for 15 years, and then moved on to establish and direct the Chinese program at Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut until his retirement in 1984. Charles Chu and his wife Bettie lived in New London for 40 years and actively enjoyed and supported the local art scene.

The opening reception will be Saturday, April 24 from 7—10. There will be cash prizes for selected best pieces. The show will run through Saturday May 22.

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Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Hank,

I thought readers might be interested in the Juror's Statement, so I'm posting it here.

Juror’s Statement

When I walked into the Hygienic to select work for the Annual Crossing exhibition, confronting me were over two hundred paintings, drawings, photographs, and other art objects – leaning against the walls, resting on folding tables, displayed on pedestals – on both floors. I walked through the upstairs rooms, then down to the basement galleries and looked hard at each individual piece.

Although the exhibition is traditionally presented without an overriding theme, I instinctively sorted the work into loose categories, as if I were curating several intimate group shows. Some pieces could have fit into several of my categories, but I didn’t want to make blandly obvious connections based on, say, choice of materials. Instead, I tried to imagine how one piece might inform another in unexpected ways, and sought to illuminate how conceptual content emerges from choice of imagery and materials. These, then, are the categories that I distilled:

Geometric Abstraction. Geometric form and structure will always have a profound resonance regardless of time period or geographic location.

The Body. Currently there’s a resurgence of interest in art that explores the body and the senses (as opposed to ideas and emotions). Some drawings included in the show are traditional mimetic renderings, but others, such as the First Prize winner, explore our evolving physical relationship to our environment.

Sentimental Narrative. These pieces evoke times past, either through use of color and materials or through choice of imagery.

Portrait. Who are we? Portraits aren’t necessarily about the subject depicted.

Gestural Painting. The process of making a painting, clearly evident in gestural work, is as important as the image created.

Loneliness. In the big picture, we come into the world alone and leave it the same way…right?

Water & The Sea. Living near the shore, some artists will always be moved to make images of the Sound, which provides many visual possibilities and enduring metaphors.

The Nest. Objects and images of domestic life can address universal truths about existential experience.

Conceptual Narrative. Objects, images, and processes may inspire intellectually complex and far-ranging considerations.

Constructed Objects. Objects created by combining elements in unexpected ways can impart ulterior meaning.

Place. Images of particular places aren’t necessarily about the landscape.

While one juror’s assessment inevitably has a substantial subjective dimension, I did try to judge the pieces with a set of reasonably principled guidelines in mind. When artists submitted more than one piece, I was able to contextualize their work and get a better sense of their overall direction, engagement, and focus. I avoided choosing work that I felt merely reiterated oft-used imagery without innovation, regardless how accomplished the technique may have been. In addition, I was put off by overly philosophical or poetic titles (particularly of abstract work) as excessively didactic, restricting the freedom of viewers to apply their own sensibilities and arrive at their own interpretations. Finally, a note on framing: less is more. In my view, frames should simply carve out some quiet space around the work, not attempt to become part of the imagery itself. Artists should stay away from fancy-colored mats and overly decorative frames unless they are integral to the original concept for the piece.

If these criteria sound fussy or overly fastidious, they belie the genuine pleasure I got in perusing some terrific works of art. I am grateful to have been accorded that privilege.

—Sharon Butler
April 21, 2010

8:55 AM


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