Dedicated to covering the visual arts community in Connecticut.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Midday opening at Middlesex Community College Tuesday, November 29

Middlesex Community College Pegasus Gallery
100 Training Hill Road, Middletown, 1-800-818-5501
Irene K. Miller: Works on Paper in the Pegasus Gallery
(Pegasus Gallery is located within the library on the first floor of Chapman Hall)
Through Jan. 11, 2012.
Artist reception: Tues., Nov. 29, 11:30 a.m.—1 p.m. in Pegasus Gallery.

Also on view in the Niche Gallery:
Rosemary DeLucco-Alpert: Light…Water…Flow in the Niche Gallery
(The Niche is located on the first floor of Founders Hall)
Through Jan. 11, 2012.
(Reception was on Nov. 17.)

Press release

Irene K. Miller’s mixed media works emphasize the abstract qualities of texture, pattern, and surface to express formal, narrative and personal experiences. These asymmetric compositions emphasize foreground spatial dynamics and the creative process. Actual and printed textures of fabric, string and other materials combine within matrixes of photographic imagery, graphic shapes and gestural marks.

Monotype and collaged works like “Squared #1” from the “Round Square and Squared” series emphasize color and a quilt-like horizontal and vertical framework. Compositions from this series offer open diagrammatical associations and shifting aerial perspectives.

has exhibited her work nationally and prints in her Erector Square studio in New Haven. She graduated from the University of Delaware and earned a master’s degree in library science from Southern Connecticut State University.

There will be a reception for this show on Tues., Nov. 29, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Pegasus Gallery.

Also currently on view in the Niche Gallery at Middlesex Community College:

Rosemary DeLucco-Alpert’s 30 year career in photography has included work in commercial and fine art fields, as well as writing about and teaching photography. The three principles of integrity, grace and beauty guide her practice and outline her belief in photography's expressive and communicative power.

This series of photographs explores the picturesque beauty of sacred natural spaces known to the artist through her life. The subtexts of these works are personal experiences of grief and the healing process connected with their creation.

DeLucco-Alpert instructs photography at MxCC and Paier College of Art in Hamden. Her professional and educational experiences include working with National Geographic photographers at “West Light” photo stock agency in Los Angeles and being among Ansel Adam’s last students.

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Greeting of the Artists at A-Space Gallery this Friday, Nov. 18

A-Space at West Cove Studios
30 Elm St., West Haven, (203) 627-8030
Two for One: Recent Work by Laura Marsh and Phil Lique
Nov. 17—Dec. 10, 2011
Greeting of the Artists: Fri., Nov. 18, 6—8 p.m.

Press release

A two-person show featuring recent work by Laura Marsh and Phil Lique opens this Friday (tomorrow) at A-Space Gallery at West Cove Studios in West Haven. They don’t have “receptions” at A-Space but they do have “Greetings of the Artists” and if you go to that, you may find yourself thinking you are at an opening reception. But you aren’t.

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Kehler Liddell holiday show and sale reception this Sunday

Kehler Liddell Gallery
873 Whalley Ave., New Haven, (203) 389-9555
It's A Wonderful Price
Nov. 17, 2011—Jan. 15, 2012.
Opening Reception: Sun., Nov. 20, 3—6 p.m.

Press release

Kehler Liddell Gallery presents It’s A Wonderful Price, a holiday exhibit featuring fine art for every palette and every purse. The Walls of Affordable Treasures include paintings Image—Frank Bruckmann's "Whitehead in Winter"), photographs, sculptures, and drawings by twenty-five diverse Connecticut artists. Artwork is “priced to move” so shop for yourself while shopping for gift giving.

The exhibit and sale will be up from Nov. 17 through Jan. 15 and there will be an opening reception this Sun., Nov. 20, from 3—6 p.m.


Keith Sklar exhibit opens Friday at Giampietro Gallery

Giampietro Gallery—Works of Art
315 Peck St., New Haven, (203) 777-7760
Keith Sklar: A Good Egg
Nov. 18—Dec. 16, 2011.
Opening reception: Fri., Nov. 18, 5—8 p.m.

Press release

Fred Giampietro Gallery is pleased to present Keith Sklar: A Good Egg, an exhibition of recent paintings opening November 18 and on view through December 16.

Keith Sklar's paintings present multiple situations in flux. Echoes of the diverse languages of global visual culture are folded into Sklar's work—from digital, folk and pop sources to historical art references. The topographical surfaces of the paintings are built up from layers of oil over found objects and molded acrylic paint. Yet the visual field appears flattened, confounding the viewer's sense of dimension and creating a dislocated perspective. This effect challenges a true spatial reading of the work, causing the viewer to question the assumptions of the 3D versus the 2D image. Key to Sklar’s work is the heightened tension between the illusionistic image and the haptic sculptural surface.

Sklar’s first exhibition at Giampietro Gallery, A Good Egg, offers new paintings in his on-going de-lux series. de-lux explores issues of wealth and loss, power and subordination, as well as the very process of seeing itself. Imagery based on late 19th century Faberge eggs, reoccurs throughout the series. Sklar places these bejeweled icons of luxury, exclusivity and cultural escape afloat within a new context; a tragicomic network of violence, sex, media, abstract brushwork and material debris.

Keith Sklar lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. His paintings have been shown in group exhibitions at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and the UC Berkeley Art Museum, as well as in Spain, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Solo exhibitions include Dorsch Gallery in Miami, Rosamund Felson Gallery in Santa Monica and P.P.O.W. in New York. His work is in the collections of SFMoMA and the UC Berkeley Art Museum.

Sklar has received numerous commissions and awards, including a California Arts Council Fellowship in Visual Arts (Painting). Commissioned works include the Institute of Contemporary Art (Portland, ME), the University of Texas, San Antonio Art Gallery, and the San Jose Museum of Art.

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"Sound Influence" opens Thursday at Sumner McKnight Crosby Jr. Gallery in New Haven

Sumner McKnight Crosby Jr. Gallery
70 Audubon St., 2nd floor, New Haven, (203) 772-2788
Sound Influence
Nov. 17, 2011—Jan. 13, 2012.
Artists' reception: Thurs., Nov. 17, 5—7 p.m.

Press release

The Arts Council of Greater New Haven is pleased to present the next exhibition, Sound Influence, in the Sumner McKnight Crosby Jr. Gallery, 70 Audubon St., 2nd floor. The exhibition is curated by local painter and muralist Katro Storm and will be on view during business hours from Nov. 17, 2011 through Jan. 13, 2012. A public reception is scheduled for Thurs., Nov. 17, from 5—7 pm.

Storm is a prolific artist who delivers meaningful and thoughtful portraits of inspirational leaders and influential city landmarks. A native of New Haven, a former student and teacher at the Educational Center for the Arts, he is a community mentor who connects the power of art with daily life. And life’s experiences are directly linked to the multitude of sounds that pervade the environment. With the assumption that one is a product of one’s environment and asking the question, "how does sound impact your artwork?" the exhibition, Sound Influences, was conceived to illustrate, according to Storm, just "how important sound is to creating art."

Sounds come from urban, city-life, nature, music. Even silence produces subtle noises. The exhibit reflects the “sound” environment in which each artist creates and as each artist works in different kinds of studios and spaces, and as some listen to music and some create in silence, the art on display manifests very different responses to sounds that are universal. There are also artists who transfer their visual interpretation of music onto canvas, much like choreographers who compose a dance piece based on a specific piece of music.

Artists include: Bio , Cathleen Milburn , Charles Winn , Deme 5 , Jaime Kriksciun , Julie Gombieski , Kwest , Marka27 , Orlando Dome , Percy Fortini-Wright , Pro Blak , Reo , Rocko , Sket .

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aricoco show opens Thursday at Real Art Ways

Real Art Ways
56 Arbor St., Hartford, (860) 232-1006
aricoco: RUNawayHOME
Nov. 17—Feb. 22, 2012.
Opening reception during Creative Cocktail Hour: Thurs., Nov. 17, 6—8 p.m. Admission is $10/$5 Real Art Ways members.

Press release

Real Art Ways presents RUNawayHOME, an exhibition and performance by aricoco, who explores the meaning of "home" by creating a sculptural garment, made from discarded plastic bags, with which she interacts.

An opening reception on Thurs., Nov. 17 from 6—8 p.m. will be held as part of Creative Cocktail Hour, Real Art Ways' monthly third Thursday gathering. Creative Cocktail Hour is from 6-10 p.m.; admission is $10/$5 Real Art Ways members.

Aricoco creates complex woven garments from castoff scraps comprised of plastic bags, strips of fabric, buttons and even eggshells. In RUNawayHOME she will construct a moveable shelter that functions as a home and as a protective garment.

She invents ritualistic play within the nest-like structures. These performative actions serve both to revive her childhood experiences and interpret the influences of her culture.

"I perform to heal and nourish myself so that I regain strength to survive when I emerge," states the artist. "I use different materials and processes to explore specific personal or cultural meanings. Robing and disrobing my temporary shelter, I package my body to be disconnected from reality, but also to tie myself to it."

Born and raised in Tokyo, aricoco (Ari Tabei) received her BA from Sophia University in International Legal Studies in 1997. She attended the Post-baccalaureate Program in Studio Art at Brandeis University in 2001 and received her MFA from the University of Connecticut in May 2007. She was awarded the A.I.R. Gallery Fellowship for 2008-2009. She has participated in several artists' residencies including chashama, Vermont Studio Center, LMCC's Swing Space, Smack Mellon Artist Studio Program, Sculpture Space, Blue Sky Project and Triangle Workshop. She is a current artist in residence at AAI Lower East Side-Rotating Studio Program.

Also in the Galleries:

Amy Jean Porter and Matthea Harvey: The Making 'Of Lamb', opening reception Saturday, November 5 and workshop Saturday, November 19. 'Of Lamb' is an exhibition of drawings by Amy Jean Porter and poems by Matthea Harvey. Of Lamb is what Porter calls "an irreverent and irresponsible retelling of the nursery rhyme, 'Mary had a little lamb.'" Exhibition on view through Sun., Dec. 11.

Ephemeroom, on view through Sun., Jan. 15, highlights important moments and objects from Real Art Ways' history created with memorabilia, photos, ephemera from our archive.

Poster Boy: Street Alchemy 2.0 is on view through Sun., Jan. 30. Armed with a razor blade, Poster Boy manipulates vinyl advertisements to create startling, harsh or even humorous mash-ups. The works for Street Alchemy 2.0 were originally designed for an exhibition at Trinity College.

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Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Closing reception at John Slade Ely House this Sunday

John Slade Ely House Center for Contemporary Art
51 Trumbull Street, New Haven, (203) 624-8055
I Think It's Conceptual!
Through Nov. 13, 2011
Closing Reception: Sun., Nov. 13, 2—5 p.m.

Press release

I Think It's Conceptual! is the second in a series of exhibits celebrating 50 years of Art, Culture, and Music at the John Slade Ely House.

There will be a closing reception for the show this Sun., Nov. 13, from 2—5 p.m.

Featured artists:

David Borawski
Johanna Bresnick
Harriet Caldwell
Colleen L. Coleman
William DeLottie
Greg Garvey
Robert Gregson
Ken Grimes
Debbie Hesse
James Montford
Adam Niklewicz
Margaret Roleke
Gil Scullion
K Levni Sinanoglu
Suzan Shutan
Rita Valley
Kevin Van Aelst
Peter Waite (see image)
Mark Williams
Pawel Wojtasik
Joy Wulke
Jo Yarrington
Robert Zott
Paul Clabby

City Gallery "Give Art" opens Sat., Nov. 19

City Gallery
994 State St., New Haven, (203) 782-2489
Give Art
Nov. 17—Dec. 23, 2011.
Opening reception, Sat., Nov. 19, 2—5 p.m.

Press release

City Gallery is presenting its annual holiday Give Art exhibition. All works of art by gallery artist-members will be for sale at $100 each. This is an excellent opportunity to shop for a friend or add to a collection. The exhibit features paintings, prints, sculpture, mixed media, and photography by Amy Arledge, Judy Atlas, Meg Bloom, Phyllis Crowley, Jennifer Davies, Nancy Eisenfeld, Freddi Elton, Roberta Friedman, Barbara Harder, Jane Harris, Shelby Head, Sheila Kaczmarek, Kathy Kane, Mary Lesser, Tom Peterson, Paulette Rosen and Karen Wheeler.

The exhibit runs from November 17 to December 23. The Opening Reception is Sat., Nov. 19, from 2—5 p.m. The gallery is open Thursdays through Sundays noon to 4 p.m.

"Craft USA '11" opens Sunday at Silvermine

Silvermine Guild Art Center
1037 Silvermine Rd., New Canaan, (203) 966-9700
Craft USA ’11
Nov. 13—Dec. 23, 2011.
Opening Reception: Sun., Nov. 13, 2—4 p.m.

Press release

Craft USA ’11, the seventh national juried Craft Triennial competition at the Silvermine Arts Center in New Canaan, Connecticut will be on exhibit from November 13 through December 23. This year’s juror is Holly Hotchner, Director of the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City.

Celebrating craft as art, Craft USA is a juried triennial competition/exhibition showcasing original handmade works of art. With over 400 entries, artists from coast to coast submitted works in various media such as ceramics, fiber, glass, jewelry, metal, paper, wood, basketry and mixed media. All are welcome to the Opening Reception and Awards Ceremony on Sun., Nov. 13, from 2—4 p.m. in the Silvermine Gallery.

Award winners for Craft USA ‘11 include: Chuck Sharbaugh from Holly, MI awarded Best in Show for “Pivots & Rows;” Jose Sierra from Tucson, AZ was awarded 2nd Place for “Cordino;” and Benjamin Johnson from Cicero, IN was awarded 3rd Place for “Spot.” Silvermine Guild Artist members Charles Birnbaum from Long Island City, NY and Bob Miranti from New Rochelle, NY, were two of the 86 artists accepted into the show.

Juror Holly Hotchner is the Director of the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD), in New York City where she has been since 1996. Co-chairs for this national exhibition are Silvermine Artist members Amy Bilden from Greenwich, Sandy Garnett of South Norwalk, Mindy Horn and Frances Palmer, both from Weston, Anita Soos from Guilford, and Stamford resident Marcia Zimmerman.

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Artists' reception at Reynolds Fine Art Saturday

Reynolds Fine Art
96 Orange St., New Haven, (203) 498-2200
Small Works
Nov. 11, 2011—Jan. 12, 2012.
Artists' Reception: Sat., Nov. 12, 4—8 p.m.

Press release

Reynolds Fine Art, a contemporary fine art gallery, is pleased to present an exhibition of small works in a variety of media including painting, ceramics, glass, and jewelry. This group show will feature the works of Josh Gold, Melody Lane, Robert Reynolds, Susan Roberts, Barbara Marks, and Steve Crohn.

Josh Gold is a ceramic artist whose creations explore subtle asymmetry. His work vacillates between the competing, yet complementary, contours of a pot. Through the technique of wood firing, the clay’s natural variations are brought out, serving to further create a tactile aesthetic within the viewer’s experience.

Melody Lane’s art encompasses clay and glass, a combination of earth and fire producing a distinct and hand-made quality. She creates through an ancient process involving painting terra sigillata, burnishing, smoking, carbon wash, and waxing. Her work often recalls ancient symbols and religious allusions, striving for the rejuvenation of these motifs in contemporary form.

Robert Reynolds, owner and namesake of Reynolds Fine Art, will be showing a series of abstract works and landscapes in this exhibition (see image). His abstract oil paintings are executed over old blue prints, representing his upbringing surrounded by the building profession. These abstract works are formed from a quick sketch that is then transformed into expressive brush-stokes of bold, contrasting color.

Susan Roberts’ jewelry is an eclectic collection of artistically designed bracelets, necklaces, and earrings created from hand-cut precious and semi-precious stones and metals. Her jewelry creates a resonant and breathtaking addition to any ensemble. All are limited editions.

Barbara Marks’ canvases are remnants of what she has seen and experienced. These moments are then translated as her mind recalls them into colors and shapes, provoking the viewer to take note of the ordinary through her abstract approach. Through her work, she seeks to convey the sensation and memory of an experience.

Steve Crohn’s paintings use color to create an emotional response from their abstract relation to landscapes, feelings, situations, and ideas. He explores the variations in reference to the viewer's perception and challenges one to experience new feelings and ideas in reaction to his work. Through the dimension of color used in his work, the viewer can relate to and enjoy his paintings on multiple levels. He strives to create a universal emotional current, giving his work a profound presence.

Located on 96 Orange Street, the mission of Reynolds Fine Art is contribute to the economic and cultural ecosystem through vibrant samples of artwork, not only in our home neighborhood, but in the Lower Chapel district and in New Haven as a whole. Periodically, shows, demonstrations, lectures, workshops and art sessions will be held to infuse New Haven with the different aspects of the art world.

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Neider exhibit opens Saturday at gallery 305K

Gallery 305K
305 Knowlton St., Bridgeport, (203) 814-6856
Alan Neider: Curtains and Dresses—The Fall Collection
Nov. 12—Dec. 17, 2011.
Artist Reception: Sat., Nov. 12, 3:30—6:30 p.m.

Press release

Gallery 305K is proud to present Curtains and Dresses: The Fall Collection, opening Sat., Nov. 12, with an artist reception from 3:30 until 6:30 p.m.

Throughout his career, New Haven artist Alan Neider has constructed two and three-dimensional objects and textural surfaces in order to paint on and into them. These objects include lamps, curtains, chairs as well as completely non-objective forms. Neider explores the subject of fashion and glamour intimately by utilizing the tools of the trade in the construction of his sculptural installation drawings and three-dimensional paintings

With his site specific Curtain installation, Neider will investigate and question about how we 'frame,' visualize and ultimately see the world, and continues his life-long examination of how paint and light affect shape and form.

Neider’s interest in fashion and glamour stems from a project he collaborated on with a fashion designer while living in Chicago in 1980. He has since created numerous series of drawings based on the themes of fashion and glamour. This series of ten drawings titled “Dress and Jewelry” explore the darker side of Fashion/Glamour by exposing the excess inherent in that industry. He utilizes the sewing machine, a unique tool, to 'draw' line and because it is reflective of the way garments in the fashion industry are fabricated.

The four Wall Dresses and one Floor Dress in this exhibition are three-dimensional paintings with internal light sources. In creating these pieces, fashion issues and ideas concerning movement, color as it defines form, and illumination are explored and exaggerated. Internal light sources serve to describe shape, planes, and texture. The light plays with and defines color, patterns, layering, and transparency. The resulting shadows cast on the walls, floor, and ceiling are integral elements that dramatize the work.

The Gallery will open the show as part of the 2011 Bridgeport Art Trail. T¬he show will also be open from 11 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Sunday. Normal Gallery Hours are from 11 a.m. until 5:30 p.m., Thursday through Saturday.

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Monday, November 07, 2011

Open Studios at American Fabric Arts Building in Bridgeport this weekend

American Fabric Arts Building
The Bridgeport Commerce Park, 1069 Connecticut Ave., Bldg. 4, Bridgeport 06607, (203) 894-1018
Open Studios
Nov. 12—13, 2011, 10 a.m.—5 p.m.

Press release

The American Fabrics Arts Building in Bridgeport will open its doors to the public for an OPEN STUDIOS event on Saturday and Sunday, November 12—13, from 10 a.m.—5 p.m.

The event, now in its fifth year, will showcase more than 27 artists in their studios. Last year the event attracted more than 500 art lovers, young and old alike, to meet the artists in their studios.

Each studio reflects the artist’s personal style and is where the creative process happens. AFA has a diverse group of artists. Many practice what you would expect: painting, illustration, photography, sculpture, jewelry, quilting and ceramics. But you can also learn how Neil Pabian, a woodturner, crafts his custom writing instruments, how Trunket manufactures specialty iPhone skins, how Emily Larned uses her vintage letterpress for printing and her husband, Chris Ruggerio makes handmade audio equipment, or how Debra Crichton adheres artwork to her retro style handbags. All will share their techniques and process, while offering work for sale

In a few studios, demonstrations will be happening throughout the weekend. Kevin Ford will be making his signature drawings with a BB-gun. The Cotton Press will be demonstrating t-shirt/textile screen-printing as well as machine knitting, and Jocelyn Braxton Armstrong will be throwing pots in her ceramic studio.

This year, sure to draw a crowd is the AFA FREE ART RAFFLE. In exchange for sharing your email you could win: Stationary and notepad from Denyse Schmidt Quilts, hand printed fabric from The Cotton Press, ceramic vase by Jocelyn Braxton Armstrong, or specialty wood skin for iphone from Trunket.

If you are a patron of any of the AFA artists, and purchase artwork, you will have a chance to win: a handmade exotic wood pen by Neil Pabian , a novelty handbag from Artbags by Debra Crichton, an unframed artist proof linoleum cut, "Standing Horses," by Janine Brown, or faceted citrine and carved bone pendant necklace by Tamara Wood.

The AFA FREE ART RAFFLE prizewinners will be drawn on Sun., Nov. 13, at 5 p.m., on the 4th floor. You do not have to be there to win.

A dedicated crowd is expected for Denyse Schmidt Quilts well-attended Annual Sample Sale held on the 4th floor during the weekend.

The Bridgeport restaurants, Two Boots and Epernay, will be serving delectable treats on the 3rd and 4th floors during the event.

Admission and ample on site parking are free. For more information please call 203-894-1018.

American Fabrics Arts Building Open Studios is part of the 2nd Annual Bridgeport Art Trail running Wednesday, November 9 through Sunday, November 13. Visitors can follow the Art Trail map to view 10 visual arts venues throughout the city, meet the artists, tour open studios, buy original art, follow a historic walking tour of downtown art and architecture. Participating venues include: The newly formed Bridgeport Arts and Culture Council, The Reads Building ArtSpace, City Lights Gallery, The Center for Public Art, The Gallery at Black Rock, Crescent St. Gallery, FrameMakers, and others to be announced.

For calendar of activities, artist profiles, directions and info on the Bridgeport Art Trail, become a fan on Facebook:


Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Stray observations from 2011 CWOS Weekend 3, the Alternative Space(s)

City-Wide Open Studios
50 Orange St, New Haven, (203) 772-2709
City-Wide Open Studios
Through Oct. 30, 2011.

I had to miss the first day of the Alternative Space to attend a funeral (not because of the snow) but I did check out the Alt Space on Sunday.

First stop was the room where my former New Haven Advocate colleague Craig Gilbert was displaying his "Flow" series, minutely detiled drawings of pebble-like shapes of various sizes. He orchestrates the composition by creating clusters of bubble-like shapes, proceeding from large shapes to small to tiny.

In his Artist Statement posted on the wall, Gilbert wrote that "perception is solely within the mind of the individual." The drawings invite individual interpretation: are they foam, pebbles and rocks, views of the Earth from the sky?

Gilbert told me that he had a chaos theorist visit.

"He told me that what he did was based on chaos theory and it bore a strong similarity to my work," said Gilbert. "I said 'Okay, that wasn't what I was thinking about it but I see where you're coming from.'"

"It's meditative. You really have no connection to time. You just do it and do it, then two hours have gone by and it's time to eat and then you go back to it," Gilbert said when I asked how long it took to complete one of the drawings.


Artist Ellen Hackl Fagan, according to her Web site, "uses synesthesia, digital media and interactive performance as tools for developing a corresponding language between color and sound in her paintings." During Open Studios and at other venues, Fagan often conducts a game with willing visitors, inviting them to correlate color swatches with musical notes.

"I really want to let people begin to talk to me about color" in a simple, non-threatening way, Fagan told me. She looks for mathematical averages of color-sound correlations and bases paintings on that data. "I call it pseudo-science. But it motivates painting." The palette for a particular abstract painting may be based on the selections from her gathered data, giving her work a seemingly science-based randomness.

One of the works resulting from this process—"ColorSoundGrammar_Figment"—was on display, a beautiful abstract work (see image). Next to it, Fagan displayed a poster printed from a scan of the painting so viewers could contemplate the distance between the original and the reproduction.

Fagan also displayed some results of her experiments with the pseudo-science by which commercial Web sites use algorithms to determine what additional products they can peddle to consumers based on the choices already made. Fagan scanned some of her paintings and uploaded them at to find out what the algorithmic response would be to the question, "What is similar?" Up popped imagery of tire treads and wood grain among others, imagery that Fagan printed out and posted on the wall.


A detail from Insook Hwang's "All You Need Is Love":


Across the street at 195 College Street, artist and architect Mohamad Hafez, a native of Syria, had created an installation dealing with torture. The white walls of the two darkened rooms were splattered with red paint and streaked with red handprints. A half-dozen boxes were mounted on the walls in the semi-darkness. There were small, discreet openings in each of the boxes for viewers to peer inside at convincingly realistic miniature tableaux created by Hafez depicting the harsh bleakness of the torture chamber.

In some there are figures—one features several photos of the U.S. crimes at Abu Ghraib—but most convey the inhuman threat of torture without overt human presence. The form was intrinsic to the content of this installation. Viewers have to voyeuristically make the effort to glean glimpses into the illuminated boxes, into this hidden world of repression and violence.

Hafez, originally from Damascus, Syria, said the work "started with homesickness." He had started making facades with plaster that mimicked those of places he remembered from home. As a full-time architect, model-making is part of his professional skill set.

"I took that expertise and brought it into political work," Hafez told me. "The way they're cracking down on peaceful demonstrations make it a very good time to show this work."

Hafez had been stuck in the United States for eight years with working visa issues but finally was able to return to Syria for a visit this past spring. "Through these eight years, I've been longing to be part of that fabric," he said.

"Some of this work is geared toward raising consciousness about what's going on," said Hafez. "I want it to be a bit spicy but I want it to leave a mark."

"I've been following very closely the revolution in Syria and seeing the footage coming back on YouTube and it's even more horrible than this," declared Hafez. "We as humans have to stand up to fight these regimes not because these countries have oil" but because it is the right and moral thing to do, argued Hafez.

The boxes, Hafez said, "are something that raises your curiosity to get you to look into it and gets your imagination to put yourself in that space. Every day in my country, Syria, this happens every day."


Karleen Loughlan, who teaches at Cheshire academy, was showing paintings and prints. Many of the paintings were created with oil and clay on canvas or paper. Loughlan coats her surface with a ¼"-thickness of clay then works it with a palette knife, scraping the clay away to create lines and abstract shapes. When the cay is dry, Loughlan paints using translucent colors to define the shapes created by the scraped clay.

One untitled work—this one painted with oil on paper—had a rich, lively surface. It looked almost like an old wall of a sun-bleached Mediterranean ruin, pitted and mottled with layers of translucent colors, the composition like a hybrid of Cubism and Russian Constructivism.

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