Dedicated to covering the visual arts community in Connecticut.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Chamberlain solo show brightens Artspace gallery

50 Orange St, New Haven, (203) 772-2709
Patrick Chamberlain: On Your MarkThrough June 26, 2010

Like his wife, sculptor Jessica Stockholder, painter Patrick Chamberlain is clearly enamored with color. On Your Mark is his first solo show of paintings—Chamberlain is a psychologist by profession—and it brightens Artspace's Gallery 1 with bold shapes and evident pleasure in applying paint to canvas.

Some of Chamberlain's compositions are rather minimalist, with oval shapes (I kept thinking of martini olives) juxtaposed with harder-edged forms. Of these, I thought "For Leo" worked best. In this painting, Chamberlain feathers the edges of his forms with slashes of paint, creating an energy that allows the disparate shapes to cohere as a whole.

Where he is less successful is in works where the various elements seem to sit side by side without fully relating to one another. This is the case to some extent with "Isolate Flecks," the dozen-paneled work that takes up the better part of the longest wall. The composition is h together by a recurring background motif of wide yellow and gold vertical stripes. Flowing through the work over the various panels is a sequence of abstract -- for the most part -- forms. Within this sequence, Chamberlain appears to be trying out different ideas, some of which are interesting and others less so. In one spot he paints Roy Lichtenstein-esque halftone dots, in another spot appears a stencil of a fern frond. These elements do appear isolated, as per the work's title, but not in a good way. It was hard to find a thread that tied them together into a compositional gestalt.

With "Fully Hokusai," on the other hand, Chamberlain's muscular mark making and jubilant color choices combine to generate a natural and nature-like vibrancy. Such is also the case with the untitled painting on the facing wall. Within this abstract painting, Chamberlain has created the illusion of depth, variations of light and the sense of vigorous motion.

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Contemplating the figure: two approaches

Kehler Liddell Gallery
873 Whalley Ave., New Haven, (203) 389-9555
Presence: Paintings by Deirdre Schiffer & Lawrence Morelli
Through June 27, 2010

Two different painters, two different ways of considering the figure. Both Lawrence Morelli and Deirdre Schiffer—sharing a show at Kehler Liddell Gallery—contemplate the human form. But their approaches, while overlapping, diverge substantively in their psychological impact.

For Morelli, figure portraiture is a vehicle for aggressive mark making. Whether it's his large oil paintings or charcoal head and shoulders portraits, Morelli seeks not so much to represent his model as to deconstruct her as a field of light and dark, using a constrained color palette. His brush seeks out a rainbow of grays, occasionally tinted with blues, magenta, camouflage green.

These paintings might pass for pure abstraction were it not for his depiction of his models' faces. Still, these depictions remind me of sculptural portraiture, as though the paint is daubs of clay roughly applied. There is an interesting tension in Morelli's work between the stillness of the poses and the freneticism of his brush strokes.

Schiffer, too, for the most part, is not invested in the verisimilitude of rendering facial features. (Exceptions include a couple of monotype self-portraits and the fantastic "Portrait with Winter Hat.") But unlike Morelli, Schiffer is quite concerned with the particulars of form, a naturalism in the way her subject occupies space and absorbs and reflects light.

Her "Woman with Fan," "Figure" and "Swimmers" series read on the one hand as paint sketches. On further inspection, however, they reveal a studied subtlety in their suppleness. In a small work like "Woman in conversation," Schiffer captures a fluid grace in the slight tilt of the woman's head and in the way her right hand bends at the wrist and the fingers curl in. This fluidity of the figure is matched by the subtle yet effective use of color. The woman in the picture appears to be listening as intently as Schiffer is looking.

Not all of Schiffer's works are figurative. On one wall a series of five monotypes with gouache depict different views of a "Children's Room." Of these, "Children's Room With Table No. 4" is particularly affecting in the way Schiffer captures the sense of natural daylight coloring an interior space.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Van Aelst show opens tomorrow at Real Art Ways

Real Art Ways
56 Arbor St., Hartford, (860) 232-1006
Kevin Van Aelst
June 17—Aug. 15, 2010.
Opening reception: Thurs., June 17, 6—8 p.m. during Creative Cocktail Hour (Admission: $10/$5 for members)

Press release

Real Art Ways presents a solo exhibition of Kevin Van Aelst's color photographs. Van Aelst's work rearranges and reconstructs common artifacts into extraordinary scenes. The exhibition opens Thurs., June 17, with a reception with the artist that evening from 6—8 p.m. as part of Real Art Ways' Creative Cocktail Hour. Admission to the reception is $10/$5 for members. After the reception, admission to the exhibition is free. The exhibition runs through Sun., Aug. 15.

Kevin Van Aelst is one of six artists selected for a solo exhibition as part of our annual open call for emerging artists, Step Up.

Kevin Van Aelst's work explores how the minutiae of the world are capable of communicating much larger ideas. Van Aelst's media includes food, clothing, gum, holiday lights, eyelashes, arranged polaroid photographs, and candy.

In the artist's words:

The images aim to examine the distance between the 'big picture' and the 'little things' in life-the banalities of our daily lives, and the sublime notions of identity and existence. While the depictions of information--such as an EKG, fingerprint, map or anatomical model-- are unconventional, the truth and accuracy to the illustrations are just as valid as more traditional depictions. This work is about creating order where we expect to find randomness.

This is Van Aelst's second solo show at Real Art Ways. Kevin Van Aelst was born in Elmira, New York and grew up in Pennsylvania. He received a B.A. in Psychology from Cornell University in 2002 and an M.F.A. from the University of Hartford in 2005. He currently lives and works in New Haven, Connecticut and is teaching at Quinnipiac University and ACES/Educational Center for the Arts High School Program. He is a recipient of a 2008 fellowship grant from the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism. Photos of his can be seen weekly illustrating "The Medium" in the New York Times Magazine.

Step Up 2009 was made possible through the support of our members, the Alexander A. Goldfarb Memorial Trust, Howard and Sandy Fromson, Greater Hartford Arts' Council United Arts Campaign, Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, Travelers Foundation, Robinson and Nancy Grover, Gary E. West, National Endowment for the Arts, Lincoln Financial Group, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Nimoy Foundation, and the Ensworth Charitable Foundation.

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Friday, June 11, 2010

Art opening at New Haven Free Public Library tomorrow

New Haven Free Public Library Art Gallery
133 Elm St., New Haven
Carnival of Allegory: Dry Pastel Paintings by Magda Mraz
Through July 19, 2010
Artist Reception: Sat., June 11, 2—4 p.m.

Press release

Magda Mraz' work has been a spiritual quest into the purpose of our existence and the nature of our consciousness. Her works develop a contrast between the disintegrating environment of public places and the focused figures of young people facing the viewer. The transient reality of existence is brought to focus in painted and sculpted figures who attempt to escape the limitations of their physical boundaries.

There will be an artist reception for Carnival of Allegory this Sat., June 12, from 2—4 p.m.

The artist's search for freedom and stability has been underscored by her youth spent under the totalitarian regime in former Czechoslovakia. Now a more profound search for liberation is taking place in her artwork. The artist explores her themes in the rich and deeply hued textures of these mysterious tall paintings using dry pastels. Her precise skill has enabled her to dramatize her early feelings of imprisonment, which are then built up into the forceful breakthrough of a spirit from its material confines.

Magdalena Mraz holds an M.F.A. from the Queens College of the City University of New York, as well as D. Min degree from the Wisdom University in San Francisco, California. She has painted, exhibited and taught art both in the USA and Europe, and lives in Connecticut.

"In several types of settings, the pathos of a disintegrating old, worn or broken object -- or a life situation -- can be turned into a study of creative impermanence, generating a new view point, " she writes. "Our physical world seems to be founded on a preexisting blueprint which enables constant change and restructuring, an observation that contemplates the masks of many indigenous cultures, created centuries ago which yet retain the fresh vitality of their captured expression. By converting part of a face into human features, the \ artist has created the mysterious 'shamans', whose facial expressions were based on timeless human archetypes."

Her groups of triptychs explore the purifying and revitalizing purpose of ancient gatherings. "The cycle of the carnival represents the allegory of human journey from the bondage to the carnal aspect of our existence to the spiritual liberation and an enlarged compassion including all of creation. The cycle suggests the possibility of a renewal through the conquest of our negative qualities or outworn structures.

"The idea of a cosmic or a 'sacred geometry' underlying all matter in the universe is demonstrated by the numerical sequence of seven developmental stages of human consciousness. The allegories in this new series resonate from the Egyptian creation myth to the stories of human origin on a global scale. Each painting is based on the geometric pattern and symbolism of the numbers one to seven, which are revealed in the developmental patterns of various cultures. We become aware of the deep and universal interconnectedness of all things physical and spiritual, and their ongoing evolution."

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Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Artspace shows open this Thursday evening

50 Orange St, New Haven, (203) 772-2709
Patrick Chamberlain: On Your Mark
Christina Gunderson: Pigeon
Mister Never: In Never We Trust
Michelle Levante: Bodies of Trees
Will Holub: Lucky Strike: World War II Army Air Corps Veterans
Eileen Doktorski: Artifacts of Affluence
June 8—July 17, 2010.
On Your Mark will be on display through June 26, 2010.
Public Opening: Thurs., June 10, 6—8 p.m.

Press release

Artspace announces five new solo exhibitions with works by Connecticut, New York, and California-based artists. The five exhibitions of Eileen Doktorski, Christina Gundersen, Will Holub, Michelle Levante, and Mister Never will open on Thurs., June 10 from 6-8 p.m. Common themes that emerge throughout the Artspace galleries are correlations between beauty and decay, viscera and tactility, and memory and sentiment. Patrick Chamberlain's exhibition, On Your Mark, is also on view through June 26, 2010.

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

Gallery 3 • Pigeon, by Christina Gundersen, is a site-specific installation of photographic shadows that fill the gallery with an ethereal presence and inquisitive arrangement.

Gallery 4 • In Never We Trust, by Mister Never, comments on the practices of financial institutions to produce negative capital, which is also a solid metaphor for an artist's own struggle to achieve artistic merit.

The Long Wall • Bodies of Trees, by Michelle Levante, is a series of photographic diptych images exploring mans' perverse relationship to nature, beauty, and juxtaposition. The exhibition represents the first showing of this new series of work.

Gallery 5 • Lucky Strike: World War II Army Air Corps Veterans, by Will Holub, is a series of paintings that recount the World War II era from a familial perspective and functions as testaments to the changing face of war and the global economy.

Gallery 7 • Artifacts of Affluence, by Eileen Doktorski, is a series of castings from landfill terrain, bringing the subject of waste into the light for the viewer's closer reflection.

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Monday, June 07, 2010

Gallery 195 show opens Tuesday featuring Dubicki paintings, Peterson photography

Gallery 195
195 Church St., 4th floor (NewAlliance Bank), New Haven, (203) 772-2788
Emilia Dubicki & Tom Peterson
June 7—Aug. 27, 2010.
Opening reception: Tues., June 8, 5—7 p.m.

Press release
The Arts Council of Greater New Haven presents an exhibition of works by Connecticut artists Emilia Dubicki and Tom Peterson at Gallery 195 at NewAlliance Bank, 195 Church St., 4th floor, New Haven. The exhibition will be on display during bank hours from June 7 through August 27, 2010. An artists' reception is scheduled for Tues., June 8, from 5—7 p.m. The public is invited to attend.

This exhibition showcases paintings and photographs by Connecticut artists Emilia Dubicki and Tom Peterson that explore abstraction through the use of color and light.
Emilia Dubicki's work has been exhibited in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Utah, and Japan. Locally, her work has been exhibited at the Player's Lounge Invitational Exhibition at the Pilot Pen Tennis tournament in New Haven, A-Space at West Cove Studio and Gallery, Kehler Liddell Gallery, Artspace, Artspace's City-Wide Open Studios, Arts & Literature Laboratory, and Visions Toward Wellness Gallery in Stony Creek, among others. Dubicki is represented by the Julie Heller Gallery in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and Kehler Kiddell Gallery in New Haven .

Tom Peterson's photography has been exhibited throughout Connecticut. Selected exhibitions have included The New Haven Seen: Existence, Stagnation, & Morphosis (2005) at the Arts Council of Greater New Haven's Small Space Gallery (now the Sumner McKnight Crosby Jr. Gallery); The Art of Food: All Consuming (2005), presented by Artspace in partnership with the International Festival of Arts & Ideas; Artspace's City-Wide Open Studios (2006); Cultural Passages 2007 at Creative Arts Workshop; and Images 2008 at the Shoreline Arts Alliance, among others. Most recently, Peterson's work was the focus of Passing By, a solo show at City Gallery in New Haven.

For more information about this exhibition and Gallery 195 at NewAlliance Bank, call the Arts Council at (203) 772-2788.

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Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Major public art commission by Felice Varini opens Friday in New Haven

Site Projects
Felice Varini: Square with four circles
June 2—June, 2011
Opening Reception: Fri., June 4, 5 p.m.

Press release
Site Projects Inc is pleased to announce our 2010 public art commission by renowned Swiss artist Felice Varini. A 110 ft tall, multi-dimensional painting, Square with four circles, will be installed in Temple Plaza. This will be Varini's first outdoor public artwork in the United States.

The opening is June 4 at 5 p.m. in Temple Plaza. Join us in celebration with live music, guest speakers, tours and festivities. Events are free and open to the public.

Work on the execution of the artwork will take place both at nighttime and during the day. The installation will be a performance piece in itself offering the public a unique opportunity to observe the artist's process and the evolution of his artwork. Beginning May 23rd at night and using a large-format, high intensity projector, Varini will project the design into the darkened site. Once the outlines are drawn by the artist and his team, the daytime work of painting the mural will begin. Painting will be completed in the following 7—8 days.

The exhibition of the artwork will be on view through June 2011. During that period, Site Projects will offer a series of programs that connect art, architecture, mathematics and technology to the ideas in Varini's art. The site of Square with four circles will include the pedestrian passageway from Chapel Street into Temple Plaza and the exterior surfaces of the sculptural concrete exit ramp of the Crown Street garage. The site of the artwork is contiguous not only to New Haven Green but also to the Shubert Theater and Zinc restaurant.

A second Varini exhibit can be seen across the New Haven Green. Three black circles in air, on view through the end of August 2010, will be a temporary indoor mural at the New Haven Free Public Library, 133 Temple Street. The installation is in partnership with Site Projects and the Patrons of the New Haven Public Library.

Photographs of earlier Varini projects will be exhibited in the Yale University Art Gallery. Related paintings by students at Coop High School who have been studying Varini's work and who will work with the artist during his residency in New Haven will be exhibited at 210 College Street.

Funding for Square with four circles has been awarded by Pro Helvetia, the Arts Council of Switzerland, National Endowment for the Arts, CT Commission for Culture + Tourism, Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, the Seymour L. Lustman Memorial Fund, The David T. Langrock Foundation, as well as numerous local foundations and institutions. The hospitality sponsor for this project is The Study. In addition to support from the Consulate General of Switzerland in New York, Site Projects has received the endorsement of Mayor John DeStefano and New Haven's Office of Cultural Affairs and is working in collaboration with the New Haven Parking Authority.

The exhibition of Square with four circles will be a world-class cultural event and an occasion for inviting the world to New Haven.

About the artist Felice Varini:

Felice Varini was born in Locarno, Switzerland in 1952 and currently lives and works in Paris, France. He defines himself as an abstract painter, and paints on architectural and urban spaces, such as buildings, walls and streets. The paintings are characterized by one vantage point from which the viewer can see the complete painting (usually simple geometric shapes such as circles, squares, lines), while from other view points the viewer will see 'broken' fragmented shapes. Varini explains that the work exists as a whole - with its complete shape as well as the fragments: "My paintings initially appear to the observer in the form of a deconstructed line which recalls nothing known or familiar, whence the effect of perturbation they produce. As one moves through the work, the line progressively appears in its composed form. One is thus under the illusion that the work is creating itself before one's eyes."

Varini's work plays with concepts of scale, proportion, and perception. While abstract and conceptual, Varini's three-dimensional wall paintings are also concrete and material. The viewer experiences them from within; as he/she moves through the architectural space that is the canvas, new discoveries are made at every step. Before making a painting, Felice Varini generally roams through the space noting its architecture, materials, history and function. From this spatial data and in reference to the last piece he produced, he designates a specific vantage point for viewing, from which his intervention takes shape.

The vantage point is carefully chosen: it is generally situated at his eye level and located preferably along a well-traveled route, for instance an opening between one room and another, or a clearing, or a landing... He then projects the form devised for the particular space onto its surfaces from the vantage point, then traces and paints. Varini tends to use simple geometric forms: squares, triangles, ellipses, circles, rectangles, and lines. These forms are usually created in one of the three primary colors: red, blue or yellow, occasionally employing some secondary colors, as well as in black and white. He justifies his choice of simple geometric shapes and basic colors by saying "If you draw a circle on a flat canvas it will always look the same. The drawn circle will retain the flatness of the canvas. This kind of working is very limiting to me, so I project a circle onto spaces, onto walls or mountainsides, and then the circle's shape is altered naturally because the 'canvas' is not flat. A mountainside has curves that affect the circle, and change the circle's geometry. So, I do not need to portray complicated forms in my paintings. I can just use the simplicity of forms, because the reality out there distorts forms in any case, and creates variations on its own accord. The same goes for colors. Usually I use one color only, and the space takes care of altering the color's hue. For example, if I use one type of red on a mountainside, the result is many kinds of red, depending on the mountain's surface and the light conditions. Sunlight will affect the different areas on the surface and the same red color may become stronger or darker or clearer in certain areas, depending on how the sun rays hit the surface. The sky can be bright or dark. And if the surface has its own color or a few colors then that will affect the red that I apply on it. So, I do not need to use sophisticated colors. The reality exists with its own qualities, shapes, colors and light conditions. What I do is simply add another shape and color in response to that."

Unlike the majority of artists, who work within strictly defined limits, Varini uses every dimension. By creating work that is not portable and cannot easily be contained, he sidesteps the temptation to make a cult object of the artwork. For him the "art object" has become a rearguard concept. Indeed he has neither a collection to sell, nor paintings to store. "I'm entirely free from material and logistical constraints. Like a musician performing on stage, I ask for a fee from whoever is commissioning the work, whether a gallery, a collector, a town council or an arts centre. This does not prevent my works from being sold on. Once I make a work it can be removed and remade in a different place, as long a certain guidance is followed. I write a description for each work, describing its specifications, and you can remake it in another space if you follow the exact instructions for the shapes, sizes, relation to each other, and relation to the space. The new space needs to have similar characteristics to the original one. The result will not be a new work, but rather a remake of the same work. I do not make an object and move it, but I move the concept, and can remake it in the new space, in the same way that there is a written play and a theatre company can stage it in a few different theatres."

About Site Projects Inc.:

Site Projects, New Haven's leading presenter of temporary public art, was established in 2004. Site Projects is a community based non-profit organization that commissions site-specific art projects by internationally recognized artists and collaborates with local organizations to present community-wide educational programs related to the artists and their works. The goal is to present visual art that appeals to a broad and diverse audience in New Haven, a community of 125,000 people.

Previous commissions include:
Matej Andraz Vogrincic[It Used to be My Playground] Erector Set boats in the Farmington Canal, 2007;
Jason HackenwerthThe Revenge of the Megadon, Great Hall of Dinosaurs, Yale University Peabody Museum of Natural History, 2006;
Leo VillarealChasing Rainbows/New Haven, on the New Haven Green, 2004;

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Surreal collage show opens Friday at eo art lab in Chester

eo art lab
69 Main St., Chester, (860) 526-4833
Erika Lawlor Schmidt: Trip the Light Fantastic
June 2—Aug. 1, 2010
Artist Reception and Talk: Fri., June 4, 6—9 p.m.

Press release

Vermont Artist Erika Lawlor Schmidt (Web site), ripe with Illinois and Florida roots and Eastern artistic and philosophical influences, choreographs surreal collages of cultural, religious, and pop iconography in a sublime composition of stillness, beauty, and mystical symbolism.

The show runs June 2—Aug. 1. There will be a reception and Artist Talk, Fri., June 4, 6—9 p.m.

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Amber Maida show opens Friday at Gallery at Black Rock

The Gallery at Black Rock
2861 Fairfield Ave., Bridgeport, (203) 814-6856
Amber Maida: A Labyrinth Line Existence
June 4—July 23, 2010
Artist reception: Fri., June 4, 6—9 p.m.

Press release

If you like David Bowie, chances are you'll like the new Labyrinth solo show at the Gallery at Black Rock. The show opens with a reception for the artist, Amber Maida, on Fri., June 4, from 6—9 p.m.

Anyone who went to the White Space Gallery when it was on Chapel Street in New Haven has seen Maida's work hanging by Dali's.

The Naugatuck artist's work has been featured in Art World News Magazine (September 2009) and Ink magazine (January 2008). A suite of her paintings were selected by Richard's of Greenwich for the 2009 Art to the Avenue exhibition in Greenwich. Her work has also been in juried exhibitions at AIRS in New Haven, the Housatonic Museum of Art, the Silvermine Guild of Art in New Canaan and Lazy Pear Gallery in Montpelier, VT.

Her new body of work, A Labyrinth Line Existence, alludes to a quote from David Bowie's interview on the 1993 Black Tie White Noise film. She plays Bowie's music often while in the studio. "Bowie has been a strong influence on my work, which has developed into a visual vocabulary on the canvas," Maida says.

The work is simply stunning, particularly her mixed-media paintings.

"I create tactile counter-environments that express myth and uncover the mystery hidden within reality," Maida explains. "I juxtapose dualities—fragility/strength, ancient/contemporary, external/internal—to exploit a tension..."

"My materials are carefully chosen and strongly symbolic," Maida continues. "My work contains recurring motifs and materials including golden labyrinths, fluid backdrops, crackled textures, vintage books, silks, feathers, eggshells, and line drawings of suspended worlds. I hope that my images take viewers deeper within their own realm of realization."

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Saturday opening at City Gallery in New Haven

City Gallery
994 State St., New Haven, (203) 782-2489
Freddi Elton: Lines of Desire
June 3—27, 2010.
Opening reception: Sat., June 5, 3—6 p.m.

Press release

City Gallery will present Lines of Desire, a collection of new work by Freddi Elton, from June 3—27. Elton will be showing encaustic, silk aquatint and mixed media pieces. The opening reception will be held on Sat., June 5, from 3—6 pm. The public is invited and admission is free. There will also be a Meet the Artist on Sunday, June 27 from 12—4 pm.

The title, Lines of Desire is a landscaping term describing the preferred path when progressing from point "A" to point "B". Often designers of college greens, for example, will simply plant grass and watch to see how paths are formed by walkers before laying in any stone or pavement. In winter, we see animal tracks clearly formed in the snow, and they are never completely straight, but rather follow the landscape's vagaries in an organic way.

Elton was inspired by this concept in her current work. She has created pieces with layered, complex surfaces, and made an effort to allow lines to follow their own particular geography. Her process is slow and sometimes arduous, but the results are, when successful, surprising and satisfying.

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Tuesday, June 01, 2010

"Werewolf Karaoke" opens Thursday at Wadsworth during Phoenix Art After Hours event

Wadsworth Atheneum
600 Main St., Hartford, (860) 278-2670
Justin Lowe: Werewolf Karaoke
June 3—Sept. 5, 2010
Opening reception: Thurs., June 3, 5 p.m.

Press release

The return of the Wadsworth Atheneum's MATRIX contemporary art series continues this summer with a new, site-specific installation by New York artist Justin Lowe, titled Werewolf Karaoke/MATRIX 159. Lowe's exhibition is comprised of four interconnected rooms that reference aspects of the Wadsworth's collection, such as the museum's two period rooms, the Austin House, and the adjacent gallery of Surrealist paintings, while reflecting a more contemporary culture, rooted in 1970s psychedelia. The exhibition opens on June 3 and is on view through Sept. 5, 2010.

The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art continues its fun, fast-paced approach to Thursday night happy hour with the exhibition opening of Justin Lowe/MATRIX 159 on June 3, 2010. Lowe's Werewolf Karaoke themed installation will offer the perfect backdrop to a night of art, music and film in conjunction with the museum's monthly Phoenix Art After Hours event.

The night's music begins with DJ Breakadawn as she spins dance, trance and hip-hop until the Psychic Ills take the stage at 7 p.m. Named "Best Psych Rock Band" in the Village Voice 2006 Best of NYC issue, the experimental Brooklyn-based band complements Lowe's eclectic style and distinctive spin on contemporary art.

A hands-on graffiti art activity led by Hartford artist Jose Camacho will add to the gritty nature of the event, reflecting the wildly-decorated public restroom in Lowe's installation, which pays homage to the one at CBGB, the legendary New York hardcore and punk rock club.

Exhibition artist Justin Lowe will also be on hand to give two artist "Small Talks" explaining his new installation and the multi-media collage process he used to achieve such a large scale, experiential work of art.

The seemingly disparate rooms in Lowe's installation - a gallery, passageway, video lounge, and restroom - connect through visual threads that carry through all four spaces, which is typical of Lowe's practice.

Lowe will transform the gallery space through a multi-media collage process that combines video, painting, slide show, and sculpture into a large-scale, experiential work of art. A highlight of the piece will be Lowe's contemporary approach to the concept of the museum "period room," which will reference the Wadsworth's Goodwin and Whetmore parlors, but in the form of a wildly-decorated public restroom, inspired by the notorious graffiti-covered bathroom at CBGB, the legendary New York hardcore and punk rock club.

"All of the imagery in the exhibition is in a state of dissolution," Lowe said. "Hidden elements are revealed, but as they attain clarity they are once again obscured by an image emerging from beneath, similar to the classic werewolf transformation scene, which plays out metaphorically throughout the exhibition."

Justin Lowe was born in 1976 in Dayton, OH and lives and works in New York City. He has been exhibiting since 2000, creating installation "environments" like gallery-lounges, cluttered house interiors and—for his 2006 solo show at Oliver Kamm/5BE Gallery, New York—an intricately stocked bodega and Mister Softee truck. Most recently Mr. Lowe has been collaborating with Jonah Freeman on an elaborate labyrinthine environment exploring the community ritual and psychoses surrounding the historical trajectory of meth culture from its separatist hippie roots and its ties to global alchemy, at such places as Ballroom Marfa and Deitch Projects.


The Wadsworth was the first to embrace the idea of contemporary art in an "encyclopedic" museum through its MATRIX program, which began in 1975 as a series of single-artist exhibitions that have showcased more than 150 artists, providing many non-prominent artists with their first solo museum exhibition in the United States-including Adrian Piper, Louise Lawler, Janine Antoni, and Dawoud Bey. These, and many MATRIX artists, such as Sol LeWitt, Willem de Kooning, Christo, Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman and Gerhard Richter, are now considered seminal figures in contemporary art.

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