Dedicated to covering the visual arts community in Connecticut.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Reception for two shows at Middlesex Community College next Monday, February 6

Middlesex Community College Pegasus Gallery
100 Training Hill Road, Middletown, 1-800-818-5501
Daniel Mosher Long: Eye/Object in the Pegasus Gallery
(Pegasus Gallery is located within the library on the first floor of Chapman Hall)
Jan. 30—Mar. 2, 2012.
Also on view in the Niche Gallery:
Tracy Walter Ferry: Genetically Modified Organisms in the Niche Gallery
(The Niche is located on the first floor of Founders Hall)
Jan. 30—Mar. 2, 2012.
Joint Artists' Reception: Mon., Feb. 6, 4:30—6 p.m. at The Niche and in the Pegasus Gallery.

Press release

Daniel Mosher Long’s still life photographs combine domestic, utilitarian, and natural materials in unexpected ways. These color-saturated images are closely cropped and appear to occupy a real rather than an illusionistic two-dimensional space. Juxtapositions of insect specimens, fine dinnerware, animal bones, flowers, fabric, vintage advertisements and antique packaging offer narratives associated with the past in as much as their time here in the present.

Long received an M.A. in Photography from Purdue University and an M.A. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Connecticut. He has exhibited his work nationally and is Professor of Photography & Coordinator of the Visual Fine Arts Photography Option at Manchester Community College.

Long's photographs will be on view in the Pegasus Gallery through Mar. 2.

The assemblages of Tracy Walter Ferry are influenced by processes of microbiological and genetic experimentation. Inspired by her work as a registered nurse, these mixed media sculptures are anatomical in nature and combine contrasting components and materials. Balloons, children's toys, baby nipples, x-rays, fabric, thread, medical and building hardware are manipulated into striking organic forms that balance the sharp, soft, fragile and resilient.

Ferry received an M.F.A. from the Hartford Art School and has exhibited her work throughout the east coast. Her assemblages will be on view in The Niche through Mar. 2.

There will be a joint Artists' Reception on Mon., Feb. 6, from 4:30—6 p.m. in The Niche and at the Pegasus Gallery.

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Friday opening of "Sound Influence, Part II" 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, Part II
Jan. 20—Mar. 2, 2012.
Artists' reception: Fri., Feb. 3, 5—7 p.m.

Press release

The Arts Council of Greater New Haven is pleased to present Sound Influence, Part II, 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 Jan. 20 through Mar. 2, 2012. A public reception is scheduled for Fri., Feb. 3, from 5—7 p.m.

Katro Storm, the curator, 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 continually seeks to create new work and inspire others to do the same. "It’s the challenge of creating something out of nothing that makes it exciting," states Storm. "To push myself to a new level each time I paint." With Sound Influence, Part II, the exhibition examines, as Storms states, "how important sound is to creating art."

The art on display manifests very different responses to sounds that are universal. The exhibit reflects the "sound" environment in which each artist works in, be it the sound surrounding the space they work in or the music they listen to while creating. 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.

Participating artists: Aoke, Michael Angelis, Ian Applegate, Jahmane Art, Lee Adam Beard, Dooley-O, Renald Davidson, Orlando Dome, Paul Duda, EROS 165, Hayward Gatling, Rob Greenberg, Ellen Hackl Fagan, Aniko Horvath, Marta Machabli, Conrad Mecheski, Destiny S. Palmer, John Rodrigues Brewer, Steve Ross, Reo Russo, William T. Saunders, Craig Streater Smith, Rob Stull (see image), Kristin Thomas, Alison K. Walsh, Janet Warner and Charlie Win.

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Opening reception for Judy Atlas show at City Gallery this Saturday

City Gallery
994 State St., New Haven, (203) 782-2489
Exploring Layers: New Work by Judy Atlas
Feb. 2—26, 2012.
Opening Reception, Sat., Feb. 4, 2—5 p.m.
Closing Reception: Sun., Feb. 26, Noon—5 p.m.

Press release
Judy Atlas (Web) drew inspiration for her abstract paintings from the "scenery of the street"—ranging from remnants of European antiquities in ancient Pompeii to the notices, flyers and graffiti seen on the streets of contemporary New York. The acrylic and mixed media paintings utilize shapes, images, light and mark making to reflect the artist’s personal journey, and to begin one for the viewer.

Exploring Layers will be on view at City Gallery from Feb. 2—26. An Opening Reception will be held this Saturday, Feb. 4, from 2—5 p.m. A Closing Reception for the exhibit will be held Sun., Feb. 26, from noon—5 p.m.

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Vito Pasquale photo show on view at Gallery at Still River Editions through March

The Gallery at Still River Editions
128 East Liberty St., Danbury, (203) 791-1474
Fourteen Threadless Needles: Photographs by Vito Pasquale
Through Mar. 30, 2012.

Press release

I missed posting this before this past Saturday's opening but still wanted to posat npotice of this show.

Vito Pasquale is a photographer and writer from Mount Kisco, NY. He is one of those people who, upon retiring from the full-time job he’d done in corporate America for almost thirty years, began to “peek down, as Frost would call it, 'the road not taken.'" In 2008, Pasquale returned to writing after a long hiatus, and in 2009 he began taking photographs that reflected some of the themes in his writing. His book of poetry, Fourteen Threadless Needles, was published in 2011.

Many of Pasquale’s photographs are abstracts and photo-manipulations that go beyond taking the world at face value. In his poem, "(Somewhere) After Silence (and) Before Regret," Pasquale refers to “…the surprisingly elastic properties of a dream.” The photographs dance around that dream-state in the everyday.

Pasquale says about his photographs, "I believe it is healthy to have a casual disregard for authority. In some cases it might even be necessary to have a determined disregard—please don’t tell my kids. In any case, the sky that is saturated and yellow, the off-kilter street scene, the blackened hills, the something there is that doesn’t love a happy ending, these are the approaches that I take. I believe in the pretty picture, but only if it’s very, very pretty, which means it’s probably a flower and the bloom is fading away."

Included in the show are several photographs that relate to Pasquale’s history in the Danbury area. He grew up in Mount Kisko, NY and his father worked in Danbury until 1966 at a construction company that was located near the site of the train station just up Liberty Street. Coincidentally, this is a short distance from the Gallery at Still River Editions.

The fourteen photographs are connected to poems posted online via QR codes, which viewers can scan using their smart phones, or look at online in the gallery.

by Vito Pasquale

If life
it wouldn't
have any
at all.

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Two days left to check out "Library Science"

50 Orange St, New Haven, (203) 772-2709
Library Science
Through Jan. 28, 2012.

Libraries are not an obvious choice as an art-making subject. But, as the show Library Science at Artspace in New Haven through Saturday demonstrates, the topic is rich with resonance. This sprawling group show featuring national and international artists takes the subjects of libraries and books as springboards for wide-ranging works of imagination and philosophical and intellectual engagement. It comes at a time when the Internet and the digitization of information are usurping the role of the book.

At least some of these works focus on libraries as signifier, not so much as a repository of knowledge but as a sign of the repository of knowledge. Mickey Smith's "Corroborating Information" features found portrait studio images, re-photographed by Smith, which situate individuals and families in front of bookshelves laden with what appear to be weighty tomes. The books are props, a sort of intellectual fill lighting for the posing subjects.

Candida Höfer's (Web) "Biblioteca Geral a Universidade de Coimbra IV," a photograph of packed bookshelves in an ornate reading room at a prestigious Portuguese university, conveys multiple messages. This is a temple to knowledge—the books are associated with wealth and power and are not out of place amid the finely detailed, plush surroundings. And yet, they are worn, inert, likely largely untouched for quite some time, orphaned repositories of knowledge that may no longer be useful or even credible.

Nina Katchadourian's photographs also employ books as signifiers, albeit in a lighter, more idiosyncratic mode. Katchadourian is granted access to private libraries and specialized collections and allowed to rearrange the books, gleaning personal statements from the juxtaposition of titles. Read left to right, the titles on the book spines in Relax from Composition" posit an amusing conversation: "Relax," "When I Relax, I Feel Guilty," "When I Say No, I Feel Guilty," "God Always Says Yes!" It concludes with the title "Don't Say Yes When You Want to Say No." It leaves me wondering whether God has taken the advice.

Where Katchadourian creates her winking juxtapositions from the spines of books, Erica Baum finds hers on the subject headings of library card catalogues. My favorite was "Untitled (Suburban Homes)." The subject heading in the foreground reads "Suburban homes;" behind it just out of focus in the tight depth of field is "Subversive activities." Where suburban homes in this culture are considered the antithesis of "subversive activities," Baum's images suggests that, of course, subversive activities lurk behind the respectable facades of these houses. It's is worth noting that Baum's photographs succeed not just as visual puns but as images, finding strong balances of line and shadow.

In order to closely view Baum's images and those by Mickey Smith on the facing wall, it is necessary to do something that feels wrong—walk on the spines of over 1,000 books. Mickey Smith's floor installation "Memorial Service," is composed of 1,201 copies of Federal Reporter," compilations of federal court decisions and opinions that were once de rigeur for law offices, since replaced by digital editions. It feels sacrilegious to tread on the spines of these compendiums of legal knowledge—they squeak as they give way underfoot, almost a cry of despair.

Theoretically, these physical objects are obsolete. This, however, prompts me to segue to a concern that I have flogged before on this blog: the danger of storing increasing amounts of our information and knowledge in the digital realm. As a vehicle for storing knowledge, books are simple and direct. Crack open a book and—provided you can read the language in which it is written—you can dive right in. But information in the virtual format is a completely different story. Digital information, supposedly so free, is actually stored under lock and key, the lock being the hardware and the key being the software. Without the right combination of both, the information is inaccessible.

The peril of this reliance on technology is, ironically, demonstrated by a work in the show inspired in part by a failure of technology. David Bunn's "No Voyager Record" is a slide projection of catalogue card images for lost or missing books at the Brooklyn Museum of Art Library, where Bunn had been invited to do a project with catalogue card discards. Why were there discards of catalogue cards? Because the library was digitizing its card catalogue under the rubric of the Voyager Project. But when Voyager was launched, it crashed and the backup was also erased. The old card catalogue had to be salvaged; it had been boxed for disposal but was not yet gone. The irony? I couldn't see the slide projections because of a malfunction with the projector.

Still, if digitization and the concomitant obsolescence of the book presents (what I believe are under-appreciated) risks, it's incontestable that it has placed a wealth of knowledge and information—not always overlapping concepts—at the click of our fingertips.

Loren Madsen's three Iris prints hearken back to the pre-Google search engine era of 1998. Madsen used Amazon's search engines to ferret out book titles with popular and loaded search terms like "self," "fashion" and "sex." Her results, alphabetized, are printed in long lines of small, upper-case block type, making up big squares dense with text broken up by occasional rivers of white. It is all weighted the same—Is Salami and Eggs Better Than Sex? as consequential in the design as The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir.

Xiaoze Xie's (Web) two photorealist paintings are based on photos he took in libraries. "Chinese Library No. 46" depicts the edges of a stack of decaying manuscripts, torn, curling and marked with Chinese characters. "Untitled #3" references the active destruction of books, showing orange-yellow flames twisting amidst a background of black and red. The painting is based on a still from the documentary Degenerate Art about the Nazi assault on culture and the attendant book burnings. The subtext to both works is the notion that knowledge is fragile and contingent, dependent both on the survival of physical objects and the moral will to defend free inquiry.

Melissa Dubbin's and Aaron S. Davidson's (Web) "Reading Room for Kids" is a subtle and powerful statement on the fact that knowledge is not necessarily neutral. Did you know that the Central Intelligence Agency has recommended reading lists for grades K-5 and 6-12? Well, they do and as one would suspect, they are geared toward glorifying spycraft, subterfuge and the shepherding of secrets. The installation imagines a reading room for My Little CIA Library.

A small shelf holds all 39 books from the CIA's reading lists. The walls are papered with an ivy pattern based on illustrations from Lord Robert Baden-Powell's 1915 book My Adventures as a Spy. (Baden-Powell founded the Boy Scouts.) Disguising himself as a distracted butterfly collector, Baden-Powell spied on Boer forts in South Africa, sketching important information into drawings of ivy leaves and hiding other information on the patterning of butterfly wings. A kaleidoscope of butterflies—printed from one drawing in various sizes and different shades of brown—is pinned to the wall in a random, lively arrangement. A cloak of nature and innocence conceal the CIA's propagandistic intent, trying to inculcate children with the notion that knowledge is a weapon and deception a virtue.

Library Science is on view through Saturday.

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Panel discussion on Poster Boy show at Real Art Ways this Saturday

Real Art Ways
56 Arbor St., Hartford, (860) 232-1006
Poster Boy: Street Alchemy 2.0
Through Jan. 29, 2011.
Panel discussion: Sat., Jan. 28, 7:30 p.m.

Press release

Street Alchemy, an exhibition by artist collective Poster Boy, was scheduled to go on view at Trinity College in September 2011 but was abruptly canceled. According to the Hartford Courant, school administrators canceled the show due to Poster Boy's alleged practice of using materials stolen from public advertisements.

Poster Boy claimed censorship when Trinity College first postponed and then cancelled the exhibition: "They don't know where the billboards come from, and I'm not going to incriminate myself," a representative for Poster Boy said in an interview with the BBC.

The cancellation of the show received national and international attention, including the front page of the Hartford Courant's Living Section, Hartford Advocate, Art Info, the BBC, Channel 3 Eye Witness News, and on WNPR's Colin McEnroe Show.

In wake of the cancellation, Real Art Ways made the decision to present the exhibition with the title Street Alchemy 2.0. The exhibition opened on October 20, 2011 with a crowd of more than 500 in attendance.

Real Art Ways will present a panel discussion to address the multiple and wide-ranging topics that have arisen from this situation. The panel discussion will be Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012 at 7:30 p.m. This is a free event. The exhibition’s final day is Sun., Jan. 29, 2012.

“Real Art Ways supports artists and we care about community. We believe that controversy can be an opportunity for enlightenment and thoughtful communication,” says Will K. Wilkins, Executive Director of Real Art Ways. “It’s a shame that Trinity cancelled the Poster Boy exhibition, but it has created a context for dialogue.”

A few topics the panelists will discuss are: artist’s rights and freedom of expression, legal issues surrounding this work, the transgressive nature of new art and the value of billboards in advertising and society.

Panelists will include:

Chris Knopf, CEO of Mintz & Hoke Communications Group, a leading marketing agency

Thomas Menard, attorney specializing in intellectual property litigation at Alix, Yale & Ristas, LLP

Dr. Randy Jacobs, Associate Professor of Communications at the University of Hartford, who teaches advertising

Hrag Vartanian, Editor and Founder of the online journal Hyperallergic and an expert on street art

• A member of the Poster Boy collective will also participate

Marela Zacarias, artist and muralist

About the panelists and moderator:

Moderator - Marela Zacarias, artist
Zacarias has painted more than thirty large public murals in the United States. Mexico and Guatemala. She was an Artist-in-Residence for the academic year ‘09—’10 at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, where she completed a mural to be part of the William Benton Museum of Art collection. Her work is currently part of the 2011 S-Files Biennial at Museo del Barrio in East Harlem, NY. She made a 30ft long site-specific sculptural painting at the lobby of the museum. You can see a short video about this piece here.

Panelists -
Dr. Randy Jacobs, Associate Professor of Communications
University of Hartford
Dr. Jacobs teaches advertising in the University of Hartford’s School of Communication. Dr. Jacobs’ interests span the social, economic and ethical implications of advertising and his most recent research looks at the effects of military advertising on enlistment decisions. Dr. Jacobs earned B.A. and M.A. degrees in Advertising from Michigan State University and a Ph.D. in Communication from Ohio State University.

Hrag Vartanian, Editor/Founder
Hyperallergic, blogazine and online forum
Vartanian is editor of Hyperallergic. His work has appeared in the Art21 blog, Brooklyn Rail, NYFA’s Current and Huffington Post. He serves on the board of the Triangle Arts Association, he volunteers on numerous educational committees and he blogs at He's a Brooklyn-based writer, editor and art critic who has written extensively about street art, performance art, the Internet and issues of multiculturalism. He maintains a tumblelog notebook, called A Brooklyn Art Critic’s Notebook.

Chris Knopf, CEO
Mintz & Hoke Communications Group
Knopf is a principal in Mintz & Hoke, a marketing communications agency in Avon, CT serving B2B and consumer clients. In a long career, he has won top creative awards in national and New England competitions. Knopf is also a published novelist, cabinet-maker and rock musician when he can steal the time.

Thomas Menard, Attorney
Alix, Yale & Ristas, LLP
Menard is a proud graduate of Central Connecticut State University and the University of Connecticut School of Law. As a partner in the Hartford-based intellectual property (IP) law firm of Alix, Yale & Ristas, LLP, Menard counsels clients regarding patent, copyright, trademark, trade secret, IP-related business disputes and IP litigation. The firm represents clients ranging from Connecticut-based manufacturers, to universities, entrepreneurs and a wide range of international clients through an international network of IP law firms. During his twelve years of IP practice, Menard has represented clients in state and federal courts in Connecticut and other U.S. jurisdictions. Menard believes that in-depth knowledge of the client’s business and competitive environment are essential to the strategic allocation of legal services where they will provide the greatest benefit.

The Poster Boy collective
Poster Boy describes itself as an artist collective based in Brooklyn, New York. Poster Boy is known for manipulating and repurposing self-adhesive advertisements in the platforms of New York City subway stations to create collage-like street art. Street Alchemy 2.0 centers on two altered billboards—one for State Farm Insurance and the other for The National Guard. Pictures from this exhibition can be found here.

Real Art Ways has a history of championing artists and artistic expression and promoting dialogue about censored works.

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"Exploded Views" now on display at John Slade Ely House in New Haven

John Slade Ely House Center for Contemporary Art
51 Trumbull Street, New Haven, (203) 624-8055
Going the Distance
Through Feb. 26, 2011

Press release

The John Slade Ely House is pleased to announce the first exhibit of 2012 Exploded Views which runs from Jan. 15 through Feb. 26. Participating artists are Aimée Burg (Web), Geoffrey Detrani (Web), Martha W. Lewis (Web), and Mark Wilson (Web). Exploded Views includes drawing, painting, installation, sculpture, video, and digital printing.

Exploded Views refers to the practice in technical drawing of representing the parts of a whole in exploded or diagrammatic form for the purpose of clarity, instruction, and to make visible the relationship of scale, position, orientation. The artists in Exploded Views utilize this mode of representation to address a variety of issues from the interaction of planning and nature, the aesthetic quality of technical and scientific instrumentation, and as metaphor for insight and understanding.

Exploded Views will be on view through Feb. 26.

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Thursday artist's reception at 100 Pearl Street Gallery in Hartford

100 Pearl Street Gallery
100 Pearl St., Hartford, (860) 525-8629
Reconstructed Steel: Forms by Vicente Garcia
Jan. 23—Mar. 23, 2012.
Opening reception: Thurs., Jan. 26, 5—7 p.m.

Press release

Reconstructed Steel: Forms by Vicente Garcia opens at the 100 Pearl Street Gallery managed by the Greater Hartford Arts Council. Garcia’s exhibit features large-scale sculptures made from re-bar, steel, brass and copper to create vessels and shapes finished with natural rusting, chemical patinas, polishing, grinding, and torching.

A free public opening reception with the artist will be held on Thurs., Jan. 26 from 5—7 p.m. in the gallery space. Wine and light hors d’oeuvres will be served.

Vicente Garcia’s pieces include vessels and sculptures made of clay and steel. Garcia holds an MFA in Ceramics from the University of North Texas and works as a Professor of Art at Central Connecticut State University. When he’s not teaching Ceramics, Garcia can be found at work in his Simsbury, CT studio, or participating in artist residencies and exhibitions across the state.

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Opening reception for "Passing Time" at Wesleyan Zilkha Gallery On January 31

Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery, Wesleyan University
238 Washington Ter., Middletown, (860) 685-3355
Passing Time
Jan. 27—Mar. 4, 2012.
Opening reception: Tues., Jan. 31, 5—7 p.m.
Gallery talk at 5:30 p.m by guest curator Judith Hoos Fox.

Press release

Passing Time, a new exhibition of recent works by 14 international artists in a range of media, explores the multiple and converging meanings of the phrase “passing time." Organized by guest curators Ginger Gregg Duggan and Judith Hoos Fox of c2 curatorsquared, the exhibition will be on view in Wesleyan University’s Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery, located at 283 Washington Terrace on the Wesleyan campus in Middletown, from Fri., Jan. 27 through Sun., Mar. 4, 2012. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Sunday from noon—4 p.m. Gallery admission is free.

The public is invited to attend the opening reception on Tues., Jan. 31, 2012 from 5—7 p.m., with a gallery talk at 5:30 p.m. by guest curator Judith Hoos Fox. The opening reception is free.

The various meanings of the phrase “passing time”—spending time, time to die—are explored in the evocative imagery of the works in Passing Time—video, photography, sculpture and works on paper. Some artists turn to sport, some to music; some refer to nature and its rhythms to explore concepts of time—short term, long term and terminating. Others partner with time itself in their making of art. Time is a concept that philosophers and physicists ponder. Time provides a framework that orders, measures and defines. We spend time, we waste it, we keep it; time flies, it drags. It is elastic in its perception—long when we are young, gaining momentum as we age. The Passing Time exhibition explores the relationship between the time of our life and the time of the eons.

Following the engagement at Wesleyan University, Passing Time will travel to the Richard E. Peeler Art Center at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana and other venues through the fall of 2013. In 2010, c2 curatorsquared organized the exhibition Connectivity Lost, which addressed the ways we are estranged from each other and from the environment in which we live. Connectivity Lost was on view in the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery from Sept. 11 through Dec. 6, 2010.

"We are really glad to be back at Wesleyan for a second exhibition," said Ms. Fox. "We first identified Passing Time as a subject being explored by a great number of artists across the world and across media about four years ago. The Venice Biennale was particularly rich. That is where we saw the Shaun Gladwell Storm Sequence. Maybe it’s the speed at which we all live these days, on fast forward, that makes artists start to look at time. Maybe we were particularly aware of the subject because of things going on in our own lives—children growing up before our eyes; an older generation dying."

The artists, known and emerging, featured in Passing Time include Matthew Buckingham (United States), Jonathan Callan (United Kingdom), Luis Camnitzer (United States), Rineke Dijkstra (The Netherlands), Ken Fandell (United States), Shaun Gladwell (Australia), Felix Gonzalez-Torres (United States), Leandro Katz (Argentina), Katrin Korfmann (The Netherlands, Germany), Philipp Lachenmann (Germany), Stefana McClure (United States), Su-Mei Tse (Luxembourg, France), Siebren Versteeg (United States), and Bill Viola (United States).

"The North Gallery [of the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery is a wonderful place for a room-sized installation of video, and we are putting Siebren Versteeg’s dual projection live feed piece there. We really want to take advantage of the elegant glass link to that gallery, and are working on a way to install the Katrin Korfmann light box piece in this link. And Luis Camnitzer's Last Words should read powerfully when placed [on the far back wall]. Each work [in Passing Time] is there because of the particular voice it brings to the conversation," said Fox.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sunday reception at Christopher Martin's restaurant for Mary Lesser show

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Painting show opens at Ulla Surland Gallery Eleven in Fairfield Saturday

Ulla Surland Gallery Eleven
11 Unquowa Rd., Fairfield, (203) 259-1572
Lisie Orjuela: Oil Paintings on Canvas
Jan. 21—Mar. 3, 2012.
Opening Reception: Sat., Jan. 21, 6:30—8:30 p.m.

Press release

Lisie Orjuela was born in Argentina, South America. She has lived in a number of countries including Uruguay, Switzerland, Mexico and several states in the United States. She currently lives in Trumbull, Connecticut. She creates art in her studio space in the American Fabrics Arts building in Bridgeport, Connecticut. She received a BFA from Andrews University in Michigan and an MFA from New York University.

Orjuela's art is multi-faceted, energetic and deep. While she works, she dwells in the world of dreams where imagery, color, magic and ambiguity blend and sway creating a reality that competes with wakefulness in its complexity. The works evolve slowly; layers emerge and perhaps submerge only to emerge again as Orjuela wields her art with oil paint, oil bars and oil pastels. Her paintings are a stream of consciousness inspired and steered by her multi cultural experiences, the demands and responsibilities of her busy life and her hopes, fears and dreams. The elements of her life combine and bubble to the surface of her beautiful paintings.

Orjuela does her job as an artist magnificently well; she dazzles and alters our perceptions with deftness and grace, never succumbing to manipulation or sentimentality. An exciting journey awaits as one surrenders to the powerful and modified reality depicted in Orjuela's paintings and allow the richness of this world to guide the direction of ones thoughts. There are no set rules here, or rather, the rules change at random. A crow is sinister at one glance and friendly and playful in the next. Color carries one from cool and murky depths to fierce and heated heights. The pathways through these paintings are natural and without affect. Things are just as they should be even if what that is may be subject to change and full of mystery. One emerges from this journey feeling rejuvenated and enlightened, having been touched by something natural, open and honest in our world where artifice reigns.

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Gordon Skinner painting show reception Thursday at New Haven Public Library

New Haven Free Public Library Art Gallery
133 Elm St., New Haven
Stolen I.D.: Fragmented, Colonized, and Lost—Paintings by Gordon Skinner
Through Feb. 4, 2012.
Artist's reception: Thurs., Jan. 19, 5—7 p.m.

Press release

The subject of identity is one every artist battles with, whether this means voiding identity of its importance or basing one’s art entirely on what it means to be a Self and a human. Gordon Skinner’s work falls within the litmus of an identity in crisis. As a young African-American, the frustration felt by the artist at his lack of ownership in society is something that is centuries old and runs deep with in the veins of society. He is part of a group that feels fragmented, colonized, and lost. As Skinner puts it, “I feel robbed of my heritage and culture.”

This anger and frustration is too big to put into words. So, two years ago in 2009, Skinner turned to paint to vent that sense of invisibility in a tangible way. He began painting figures wearing colorful masks that represent both concealment and expression. Though their true identities, defining features, and identifying qualities are obfuscated by the mask, the images are expressive and dynamic. Skinner tends to challenge the norms of American society in his images, calling upon the sedatives fed to the public through television and reliance on petroleum. In other works, he commemorates those artists that inspire him, from Joan Mitchell to Tracey Emin, expressing that he is fully conscious of the fact that, as a young artist, he is a subject of those who blazed the trail before him.

Full of vigor and animation, his work is raw, spontaneous, colorful, and fragmented. You escape nothing when viewing his work; through a variety of mediums, he lays everything out on the table to be picked over and looked at. There is a rough, almost primal, edge to his artwork. It comes from a severely emotional place, creating an instant and intimate connection with the viewer. Skinner is locating his voice out of voicelessness. As an artist, he is emerging into a category of human that transcends definition and exists purely in a place of creativity and innovation.

Gordon Skinner is a visiting artist to the Fernando Luis Alvarez Gallery. He is a New Haven area artist.

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Mark Williams "War Is Over" show opens Thursday at Real Art Ways

Real Art Ways
56 Arbor St., Hartford, (860) 232-1006
Mark Williams: The War Is Over
Jan. 19—Apr. 1, 2012.
Opening reception during Creative Cocktail Hour: Thurs., Jan. 19, 6—8 p.m. Admission is $10/$5 Real Art Ways members.

Press release

Real Art Ways presents The War Is Over, an exhibition of brightly colored work by Mark Williams, who critiques—in the form of toy soldiers—the introduction of militarism to young children.

An opening reception on Thurs., Jan. 19, 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.

Artist Statement:

The War is Over started shortly after the United States
went to war with Iraq for the second time. In an era preoccupied with war and the military-industrial complex, I became interested in how war is perpetuated and glamorized to our youth. I chose to use toy soldiers, which are marketed to young children as my source material. Later on, I obscured these toys with playful objects made from Play-Doh to quell the aggression of the toy soldiers. Recently, The United States officially ended the war with Iraq and I have declared myself finished with this series of work. The war is over.

After spending his first 22 years in Ohio, Mark Williams moved to Greenwich Village in New York City to seek fame and fortune as an artist. After that didn't work out, he moved to Providence, Rhode Island and then to Connecticut where he earned his MFA from the University of Connecticut. Williams then worked for the artist Sol LeWitt and was awarded a full fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center as well as an artist fellowship grant from the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism. He has exhibited his artwork extensively throughout North America and is in several public and private collections including The Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford. Williams lives and works in New Haven and teaches art at Three Rivers Community College.

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Monday, January 09, 2012

Elegy for Nature

The Institute Library
847 Chapel St., New Haven, (203) 562-5045
Out of Nature: An Exhibition of Alternatives
Through Jan. 14, 2012, 2011.

Who could blame nature for fighting back? The human species has been delivering blow after blow against the natural world for centuries.

Out of Nature, an art show in the wonderful little Institute Library space, isn't really about Mother Nature going on the offensive. Still, Michael Oatman's deadpan collage "Study for the Birds I" depicts a platoon of our feathered brethren and sistren packing some heavy heat. This collection of prints, collages, paintings and sculptures with (mostly) representational and figurative depictions of natural subjects does bring to mind our alienation from nature and the blowbacks that increasingly portends.

Curated by Stephen Vincent Kobasa, Out of Nature offers a menagerie both playful and prosaic. On the prosaic end of the spectrum we find Amy Arledge's (Web) taut, naturalistic copper plate etchings—a crow, horseshoe crabs and the grim "Honey Bees: Colony Collapse Disorder."

Over at the whimsical pole are the wall sculptures of Kim Mikenis (Web)—colorful animal characters like something out of children's literature. The goat-like "Marbles Dunleavy," crafted out of paper and colored with acrylic paint, has its big yap open as though it's haranguing its fellow barnyard inhabitants. Occupying pride of place on the floor is Laura Marsh's large Frankensteinian soft sculpture with hard internal armature. "Squawk" is an imposing hybrid turkey and peacock.

While all the works in the show evidence the technical skills of the respective artists, Joseph Smolinski's "Narwhal" (image courtesy of the artist and Mixed Greens, New York) particularly moved me. Smolinski regularly juxtaposes nature to its technological simulacra—trees and cell phone towers being his most common motif. This trope is manifest in "Narwhal," a simple composition of the unicorn-like marine mammal breaking the surface of the arctic seas. In the misty distance we can see what might be an offshore oil platform. Beneath the waters a plant akin to a palm tree hides cell transmitters amid its fronds.

If "Narwhal" were just a graphite drawing—a favored medium of Smolinski's—it would still be evocative. But his color work is so strong that the image rises to another level. One senses both the arctic chill and the ebbing of the arctic chill in the wake of climate change. Climate change's victim—the narwhal—is foregrounded, its proximate cause—the oil rig—is there in the background.

It is elegiac, suffused with loss.

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Art show reception Sunday at City Gallery in New Haven

City Gallery
994 State St., New Haven, (203) 782-2489
Elemental: The collages of Roberta Friedman and the photographs of Roslyn Meyer
Jan. 12—29, 2012.
Opening Reception, Sun., Jan. 15, 2—5 p.m.

Press release

Roberta Friedman, a member of City Gallery, and guest artist Roslyn Meyer are presenting Elemental, the collages of Roberta Friedman and the photographs of Roslyn Meyer, from Jan.12—29, 2012. The opening reception is on Sun., Jan. 15, from 2—5 p.m.

Friedman’s watercolor collages transform papers and natural found objects into layered paintings that explore and celebrate the wondrous unpredictability of water-based media. Her vision is to contemplate and re-imagine the natural layering of the landscape—its grandeur and its serenity—through texture, light and color.

Meyer’s photographs are meditations on the beauty of the natural world, both vistas and more intimate detail. Her painterly, evocative images explore the tension between surface and depth, motion and stillness, reality and abstraction.

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"Locally Grown" art show opens Saturday at Danbury Museum and Historical Society

Danbury Museum and Historical Society
43 Main St., Danbury, (203) 743-5200
Locally Grown Art
Jan. 14—Mar. 24, 2012.
Opening Reception: Sat., Jan. 14, 3—5 p.m.

Press release

Photographer Lys Guillorn is among the six area artists selected for the Locally Grown Artists Exhibit at the Danbury Museum & Historical Society co-sponsored by Housatonic Valley Cultural Alliance. The other artists are Jane Bennett, Eric Camiel, Barry Collins, Giada Crispiels, Randy Lagana and Honorah O'Neil. The exhibition will be on view from January 14 through March 10, 2012. There will be an artists' reception at the museum on January 14, from 3-5 pm.

The Danbury Museum & Historical Society is a new venue for the Accessible Art Project. Other venues that will be participating this year are Danbury City Hall and CityCenter in Danbury, and FrameWorks (Newtown, CT).

Guillorn (see image "Sybil's Fierce") is a fine art imaging associate at Connecticut Photographics /Still River Editions in Danbury, CT, where she has worked for thirteen years. Guillorn was a resident of Danbury from 1998 to 2009, and now resides in Shelton. She is also a singer-songwriter who performs in area clubs.

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Art and science exhibit opens Thursday at New Haven Museum

New Haven Museum
114 Whitney Ave., New Haven, (203) 562-4183
New Haven ’s Sentinels: The Art and Science of East and West Rock
Jan. 12—May, 2012.
Opening Reception: Thurs., Jan. 12, 5:30 p.m.

Press release

The New Haven Museum is proud to announce the opening of its latest exhibition New Haven ’s Sentinels: The Art and Science of East and West Rock. On Thurs., Jan. 12, 2012 at 5:30 p.m., the Museum will inaugurate the exhibition with a reception that is open to the public free of charge. Featuring many paintings and works from the New Haven Museum ’s collection and geological objects from the Peabody Museum and Wesleyan University, the exhibition celebrates the local innovations in art and geology in 19th century New Haven.

The New Haven Museum collaborated with Dr. Jelle de Boer, Harold T. Stearns Professor of Earth Science, Emeritus at Wesleyan University and author of Stories in Stone: How Geology Influenced Connecticut History and Culture, on this exciting project that centers on the changes in the worlds of art and science and the significance and inspiration of New Haven’s local geology from the founding of the colony to our modern city.

The new exhibition, made possible with partial support from United Illuminating, will be on view until May 2012.

The New Haven Museum , founded in 1862 as The New Haven Colony Historical Society, is located in downtown New Haven at 114 Whitney Avenue.

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Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Multimedia happening at new NEST Art Center in Bridgeport this Saturday night

NEST Art Center
1720 Fairfield Ave., Bridgeport, CT
Cinematic Multiplex 4 the Senses
Sat., Jan. 7, 2012, 6:30 p.m. til "late."
$5 cover includes refreshments. BYO wine.

Press release

It's a happening, baby! At the new NEST (North East Space/Time) Art Center (directions) in Bridgeport this Saturday, Liquid Nitrate Films and A/V Xperiment present a Film and Video Experiment Multi-Media Festival—Cinematic Multiplex 4 the Senses. There will be a $5 cover, which includes refreshments. Attendees are encouraged to BYO wine.

Original Films by original local filmmakers in a huge warehouse filled with people and Buttered Popcorn. View these films on our huge panoramic professional movie screen 20 x 40 ft. Six screens to show their films on. Invite your friends and family.

6:30—9 p.m.: Peter Konsterlie Art Works & Productions—Tec color tidal scope squidialous films:

1 • The Beatles hold their breath with excerpts from “Yellow Submarine” (Blue Meanies optional)
2 • French surrealist Jean Painleve featuring the sounds of Yo La Tengo “The Sea Horse”
3 • “CULTOONS” rare and lost, and zany cartoons from the great beyond
4 • Crowd-pleasing “The Way Things Go” a Duchampian extravaganza, and a mousetrap of a movie!
5 • Stan Brakhage’s landmark film “Moth Light” and much, much more!
6 • Bjork “Hidden Place”

9—12 pm: Live video art, project Internet, video games, compter art, animations, open mic poetry reading.

Kelly Bigelow Becerra
Sean Corvino
Greg Catalano
Dustin DeMillo
Rob Greenberg
Tony Juliano
Mary Jo Lombardo
Rob Parkman
Doug Poger
Lisa Seidenberg

Lisa Spetrini and friends, Hula Hoops
This is a Hula-Hoop Friendly Event !


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Sunday show opening at Willoughby Wallace Memorial Library in Stony Creek

Willoughby Wallace Memorial Library
146 Thimble Islands Rd., Stony Creek, (203) 488-8702
Art 4 the Body + 4 the Soul
Through Jan. 25, 2012.
Opening reception Sun., Jan. 8, 4—6 p.m.

Press release

Discover Art 4 the Body + 4 the Soul at this unique exhibition with Bethany painter Rita Brieger and Branford textile artist Owen Sea Luckey at the Willoughby Wallace Library in Stony Creek. Sponsored by the Friends of Willoughby Wallace Memorial Library, the exhibit runs from Jan. 1—25, 2012, with an Opening Reception on Sun., Jan. 8 from 4—6 p.m. (Snow date: Jan. 15, same times)

Together, Brieger and Luckey present a collection of work that defines the figure in bold and abstract impressions. But their use of color and pattern reach beyond the physical confines of paint and textile, creating movement, feeling, and soul.

Brieger is an abstract painter who combines color, texture and emotions on canvas. Working in both acrylic and oil, she uses her craft to present the soulful contradictions of life. The bright colors, bold movements and layers of intentions communicate to the viewer in ways words cannot. “A work of art is a reflection of the soul print of the artist,” she says.

Luckey is a textile artist who combines hand knitting and sewn accessories to create one-of-a-kind pieces using sumptuous yarns, custom dyed wools, silk velvets and beaded trims. While the lines and structure of her creations are familiar—a sweater, a scarf, a hat—she pushes the boundaries of what you expect, incorporating holes, bright pops of color, and funky embellishments. “I love to create one-of-a-kind pieces that people can’t wait to wear,” Owen says. She is a founding member of the Branford Artists Cooperative, which supports emerging and established artists and promotes the arts in the town of Branford.

The Friends of the Willoughby Wallace Memorial Library is a non-profit volunteer organization that actively promotes community participation in library programs and supports the library’s growth and development.

The Willoughby Wallace Memorial Library is located at 146 Thimble Islands Road, Stony Creek, CT. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, please visit or

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