Dedicated to covering the visual arts community in Connecticut.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

"Red Alert" members' show opens at Arts Council of Greater New Haven this evening

Sumner McKnight Crosby Jr. Gallery
70 Audubon St., 2nd floor, New Haven, (203) 772-2788
Red Alert
July 15—Sept. 24, 2010
Artists’ Reception: Thurs., July 15, 5—7 p.m.

Press release

The Arts Council of Greater New Haven presents Red Alert, the organization’s seventh annual members show, in the Sumner McKnight Crosby Jr. Gallery, 70 Audubon St., 2nd floor, New Haven. This exhibition of works in a variety of media will be on display from Fri., July 16 through Fri., Sept. 24, 2010. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.—5 p.m. The gallery will close at 3 p.m. on Fridays during July and August. An artists’ reception is scheduled for Thurs., July 15, from 5—7 p.m.

In a departure from previous members shows, the Arts Council has introduced a theme—Red Alert—that can be interpreted by participating member artists on multiple levels.

The color red can evoke power, danger, luck, love, and countless other associations. “Red Alert” can represent a warning or signal and can be interpreted literally or metaphorically. (Image is "What's Goin On" by Gerald Saladyga.)

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Three new shows open tonight at Real Art Ways' Creative Cocktail Hour

Real Art Ways
56 Arbor St., Hartford, (860) 232-1006
Wade Aaron: A Work in Progress
Robin Mandel: Present
LoVid: Rural Electrification
July 15—Sept. 12, 2010.
Opening reception: Thurs., July 15, 6—8 p.m. during Creative Cocktail Hour (Admission: $10/$5 for members)

Press release

Real Art Ways presents three solo exhibitions by Wade Aaron, Robin Mandel, and LoVid, opening on Thurs., July 15, 2010. The exhibitions each encourage viewer interaction with everyday experiences and objects in order to provoke reconsideration of the elements that frame our lives. The opening reception is on Thurs., July 15, 6—8 p.m., during Creative Cocktail Hour. Admission to the opening is $10/$5 for Real Art Ways members. After July 15, admission to the gallery is free for members and cinema patrons, and is otherwise a $3 suggested donation. The three exhibitions run through Sun., Sept. 12.

Aaron, Mandel, and LoVid are selectees from our annual open call for emerging artists, Step Up.

Wade Aaron's work encourages contemplation of the shifting relationship between experience and belief by projecting shadows of figures at work. As the figures build their own object their shadows are frozen, creating a work of overlapping form and function. The artist says, "In all of my work the largest part of my practice is composed of entirely of thinking: Thinking that catalyzes making. Fabrication that catalyzes further thinking."

Robin Mandel will install intricate mechanisms made from household objects to examine how such objects can embody our domestic yearnings. By simply flicking a switch, viewers can make common objects perform for them in ways that will appear to be, at the same time, both ordinary and extraordinary, calling to mind the comfortable absurdity of the domestic experience. Mandel received his Master's Degree in Fine Arts in Sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2005. Recent work includes an exhibition in progress at the FAWC Fellows Exhibition and Relative Strangers at the Freedman Gallery at Albright College.

LoVid's Rural Electrification will combine audience interaction with exposed electronics, conductive wires and live audiovisual feed to create a narrative of a retro-futuristic coexistence between biological and technological systems. Tactile audience participation will enable individuals to experience otherwise imperceptible connections in extreme collisions of the organic and artificial.

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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Monday, July 12, 2010

Clay another way

Guilford Art Center
411 Church St., Guilford, (203) 453-5947
Contemporary Ceramic Sculpture
Through July 24, 2010

Contemporary Ceramic Sculpture at the Guilford Art Center is a wide-ranging show of non-functional ceramic works, essentially using clay as sculptural material. Lisa Wolkow, longtime head of the center's ceramics studio, juried the show, which features 20 artists from across the country.

Most of these pieces reference natural or architectural objects. Even the most abstract worksAndrew Maglathlin's (Web site) two sculptures—are inspired by natural forms.
A number of works incorporate found objects and/or non-ceramic materials, as well: wire mesh in two works from Lauren Sandler's (Web site) "Artifact Series;" rusted metal scraps and leather used in Barbara Broadwell's (Web site) creepy yet evocative "Abbadon;" a wood and glass display case that houses literal "feet of clay" in Justin Hackett's "Anthropomorphic Collection." (In some cases, there are objects included in the works that look like found objects but are actually ceramic facsimiles: the small pair of scissors with orange handles in Trisha Coates' (Web site) "Cleo's Famous Sprouts Teapot" and the trash objects—toothbrush, bottle cap, electrical cord—in Holly Dowidat's (Web site) "Scraps 'The Garbage Dog.'")

Among my favorites are those works that attain a fine balance between form, contrasting textures and color combinations. Virginia Jenkins' two small pieces ("Open and Broken" and "Pragle Rock") are abstractions that deftly evoke the natural world. Soft, blob-like curves meld with hard-edged surfaces. In "Open and Broken," the object has both a notable outer surface with contrasting textures of shiny glaze, matte coloring and flaking paint and open, inner surface. It is suggestive of an inner life for an inanimate object. Her coloration of "Pragle Rock" is serenely beautiful, conjuring a natural world that is in process rather than static.

Nancy Hayes' two sculptures more directly evoke the process of nature. The two works build outward from a foundation element, like vines and brambles on a tree trunk. Hayes' "Expanding Growth Form" seems at first glance to be plant-like, woody vines clamping on woody vines. But further consideration conjures the idea of subatomic form or—and here I'm really reaching for metaphors—life and art itself, always building ever outward from experience, perception and concepts.

Zach Tate's work, according to his artist statement, often uses the human form as a starting point. Tate's entry here is one of the darkest works in the show. "Not Everything in Red White & Blue is So Perfect" features three cartoonlike human figures, each standing about a foot and a half tall. The first two have on red and white-striped jumpsuits; the third figure wears a blue jumpsuit. The middle figure wears a KKK-like peaked hood with eyeholes. A black balaclava mask covers the lead figure's head while the figure bringing up the rear has the lower part of his face masked with a red kerchief. All three are splashed with what looks like oil. While Tate's work was likely made before the Gulf of Mexico oil spill it seems to reference that catastrophe as well as the racism and deception that simmers masked behind the myth of American exceptionalism.

On a more elegiac note, there is Cate Bourke's "I Shall Never Tire of Representing Her." Bourke's work was inspired by finding a cache of a dozen sets f her late mother's rosary beads. Working in porcelain—held together with steel and wood—Bourke has created nine totems of oversized beads. It is a touching memorial, each form unique and all of them celebrating the dynamic complexity of a treasured individual human life.

Where many of the works in this show benefit from their juxtaposition of different colors, Bourke's tribute soars on the wings of its stately monochromaticism. Lit from above, the grooves and textures of each bead are set in dramatic relief of light and shadow.

It is a particularly fitting work in an exhibit of earthenware sculpture. The line from the funeral service in the Book of Common Prayer comes to mind: "earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust." In Bourke's hands, the prosaic stuff of earth becomes a poignant and enduring remembrance.

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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Art opening at City Gallery in New Haven this sfternoon

City Gallery
994 State St., New Haven, (203) 782-2489
Amy Arledge: Natural Selections
Through July 25, 2010.
Opening reception: Sat., July 10, 2—5 p.m.

Press release

City Gallery presents Natural Selections, an etching exhibit by Amy Arledge, from July 1—25. The exhibit is free and open to the public. The Artist's Reception is Sat., July 10, 2—5 p.m.

Amy Arledge's copper plate etchings range in subject matter from the natural world to the abstract. With detailed etchings of feathers, fur and exoskeletons, Arledge offers a unique sense of her subject's character and essence.

Her abstracts, while often inspired by nature, are presented with a range of technique and subject matter.

All of Arledge's work is printed by hand and offered in small, limited editions.

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Monday, July 05, 2010

Show of Kahn paintings to open at Greater Hartford Welcome Center Tuesday

The Greater Hartford Welcome Center
45 Pratt St., Hartford, (860) 244-0253
Kenneth Kahn: A Year in Pompano
Through June 7—Aug. 6, 2010.
Artists' reception: Tues., July 6, 5:30—7 p.m.

Press release

The Greater Hartford Arts Council proudly announces that former executive director Kenneth Kahn will exhibit his paintings in the Greater Hartford Welcome Center, 45 Pratt St., Hartford, from June 7 to August 6. The exhibit, entitled A Year in Pompano, was inspired by Kahn's time spent in South Florida during the past year, where he served as public art administrator of Broward County, Florida's Cultural Division. An informal reception with the artist will be held on Tuesday, July 6, 5:30—7 p.m. in the Welcome Center.

Kahn is generously donating 25 percent of the proceeds of the sale of his work to benefit the Arts Council's United Arts Campaign. A price list of Kahn's works in this show is available for download from or can be obtained in the Welcome Center. The Greater Hartford Welcome Center is open 9 a.m.—5 p.m., Monday—Friday.

The works are primarily 5"x7" works on board, with several pieces ranging up to 10"x14". The collection as a whole offers the vision of sun-soaked, salt-sprayed South Florida coastal living, including paintings focusing on beach cottages, people frolicking on the sand, beach horizon lines spotted with ocean-going vessels, clusters of boats, and rosy sunsets.

As a leader in our community's arts world for nearly a decade, Kahn is known for helping to position Hartford as a key regional arts and cultural asset. Kahn, 68, lives in Hartford with his wife, actress and teacher Anne Lynn Kettles.

"I hope my quickly painted oil sketches of South Florida landscape subjects speak directly to you in a compelling way even if the work is unassuming and makes no great demands on your senses or on those of would-be art 'crickets'," said Kahn. "I spent early mornings, late afternoons, and weekends during the past year with paint, in order to connect with my surroundings, mostly in Pompano and Ft. Lauderdale and a bit in Miami Beach, an old haunt where I lived during my tenure as Director of the Miami Dade Cultural Affairs Department all through the '80s."

Kahn's exhibition marks the final show in the Welcome Center Gallery's Pratt St. space. The gallery space will transition, along with Arts Council offices, to 100 Pearl St. in Hartford as of early September 2010.

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Bridgeport Art fest call for artists; deadline soon

Press release

The Bridgeport Arts Fest is a one-day gathering of artists, artisans, craft-makers and musicians at historic McLevy Green in the heart of downtown Bridgeport. Delicious food from area restaurants and craft- and home-brewed beer will be available. Neighborhood Studios of Fairfield County (formerly MACH) will bring children’s art activities and its youth jazz ensemble. The Ralphola Taylor Community Center’s youth African dance ensemble will perform. Connecticut Favorites Saint Bernadette and Cosmic Jibaros will perform!

An alternative to other area arts festivals, this day of exciting activity provides an attractive venue for artists and artisans to exhibit and market their work in a vibrant, eclectic downtown setting. The Bridgeport Arts Fest is co-sponsored by the City, the Downtown Special Services District and local businesses.

The fee for a booth site is $25. There are no other fees but if you want a tent the city will help you with a discount rate of $125.

The Bridgeport Arts Fest seeks artists and their work in all mediums, including:

Original Art:
• Drawings
• Comics/Graphic Novels
• Graphic design/Prints
• Illustrations
• Mixed Media
• Mosaics
• Paintings
• Photography
• Sculptures
• Ceramics

Crafts & Handmade items:
• Accessories
• Bags/Purses
• Books
• Clothing
• Dolls/Toys
• Furniture
• Jewelry

This is a great opportunity to get your art out there and spend a fun day with fellow artists.

Those who are interested can contact Ben Henson at ben.henson [AT] or call (203) 576-3972.

The deadline for submission is coming soon, July 9th, so hop to it!

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Thursday, July 01, 2010

"Three Friends" show opens at Hygienic Saturday night

Hygienic Art
83 Bank St., P.O. Box 417, New London, (860) 443-8001
Three Friends/Three Visions: Photographic images of New London by Roger Christiansen, Ted Hendrickson + A. Vincent Scarano
Juy 3—31, 2010
Opening reception: Sat., July 3, 7—10 p.m.

Press release

On July 3 the Hygienic Art Galleries presents the New London Triptych, Three Friends Three Visions exhibition. In this show, three high school friends—Roger Christiansen, Ted Hendrickson and Vincent Scarano, native sons of New London—reunite to present their photographic images of New London and artistic visions of their careers. There will be an opening reception on Sat., July 3, from 7—10 p.m.

The beginnings of their photographic journeys utilizing composition and chemistry started in the neighborhoods of East New London around Connecticut College with Polaroid cameras and with Roger's father, Dr. Gordon Christiansen, head of the chemistry department at Connecticut College. They all experienced a fascination with not only the creative fun of taking photographs but the scientific processes applied to produce the images. Dr. Christiansen fascinated us with developing process and is incredible Nikon F SLR.

Eventually and individually they pursued photographic careers. Ted Hendrickson went to the University of Connecticut and R.I.S.D. and became professor of photography at Connecticut College. Roger Christiansen was the O'Neill Theater's first resident photographer and videographer, eventually turning his video skills to starting the Sundance Institute with Robert Redford, then to television directing and teaching at USC. Vincent Scarano went on to Paier College of Art and became a freelance photojournalist, garnering international publishing credits, the next resident photographer at the O'Neill Theater Center and started a commercial photography business, working in the entertainment business in music and theater.

In recent years they all thought it was significantly interesting that they pursued photographic careers. That spark so long ago had kindled into a life's pursuit. The idea of sharing an exhibition came up, looking back and looking ahead, this show was created.

The works presented in this exhibition are their images of New London past and present as developed though their individual photographic experiences. The exhibition opens at 7 p.m., Sat., on July 3 and runs through July 31 at the Hygienic Art Galleries.

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Ely House sculpture show worth its Waite in gold

John Slade Ely House Center for Contemporary Art
51 Trumbull Street, New Haven, (203) 624-8055
Peter Waite: Parallel Play
Through July 25, 2010.

Imagine the coolest school diorama ever. Then multiply that by eight. That is one way to view the show of sculptures by artist Peter Waite presently on display at the John Slade Ely House. (In fact, Ely House director Paul Clabby says the show has been particularly popular with young people.)

In this must-see show, Waite—best known as a painter who specializes in depicting architectural scenes infused with questions of politics and power—leaps feet first into constructing architecture of his own. The results are stunning.Using junk—paint scrapings, studio scraps, toys, found objects, photographic slides and more—Waite has created works that could be miniature film sets for a grand epic of social disintegration. Think Children of Men or Terry Gilliam's Brazil.

Each work overflows with visual information, with signifiers personal, cultural, historic, social and political. A title card with text by Michelle Yee of the City University of New York Graduate Center accompanies each piece. Based on Waite's notes, these texts offer back-stories helpful in contemplating the works.

But in fact, these pieces are so rich with stimuli as to be almost overwhelming. Certainly, they resist simple interpretations.

In "Death Ship," the putative concept is that the ship-like object leaving a trail of hundreds of slides is "Waite's personal death ship." The inspiration comes from a 1925 B. Traven novel The Death Ship about a ship with the purpose of ferrying souls from life to death. In this case, the work is made of massed detritus from Waite's life: old brushes, toy animals, slide loupes, paint scrapings and tubes, an old passport, a shotgun shell and more. The slides that form the ship's wake are images of Waite's paintings.

It is a wonderful visual metaphor and not only in the way that the objects carry the weight of memories and our connection to the past and other people. "Death Ship" also plumbs darker metaphorical currents. Each of us contribute to this growing accumulation of junk and stuff that's choking the globe. And all of us are trailed by—and drowning in—the images and representations of the spectacle: the consumer/commodity society.

Perhaps the most cinematic of these artworks is "There Will Be Rust," its title a reference perhaps to Paul Thomas Anderson's film There Will Be Blood, starring Daniel Day-Lewis. This complex, beautiful and disturbing work combines architectural motifs, art historical references, religious symbolism, political commentary and narrative depth.

On one side of the work, toy Hot Wheels cars are lined up in rows in a rundown, weed-strewn drive-in. They face a screen showing a print of Henri Matisse's 1909 painting "Dance." Behind them looms the crumbling façade of a bombed-out cathedral. Facing the beautiful distraction, their backs are turned on the ugly reality hidden by the cathedral's façade.

On the other side of the façade stands society's dirty—literally—secret. An oil derrick pierces the earth, spilling black poison all over, sucked up by tanker trucks. The imperialist guard of tanks, soldiers, helicopters and jet fighters rings the oil well in defensive encirclement. As the title card notes, the moviegoers' distracted ignorance may be on the verge of explosive disruption: A nondescript [toy] Ryder van rolls into the drive-in grounds, pursued by a police car. Is the blowback about to begin?

The rest of the works are similarly bold. "The System: How It Works" comments on the production of art through the metaphor of a crumbling and dank factory. "Monster from the Deep" contemplates the influence and legacy of the 1960's with a shark-pursued yellow submarine (powered by the legs of the four Beatles as pictured on the cover of the Abbey Road LP).

In another room are displayed the complementary "Temple" and "Amphitheater." Both are inspired by actual structures Waite explored -- and in the case of "Temple" painted -- at Segesta on the island of Sicily. But as with his other works, Waite isn't after literal representation. Rather, he refracts their design, original purpose and usage through his own contemporary consciousness to create objects that are jarring yet sublime.

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