Dedicated to covering the visual arts community in Connecticut.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Artist reception for Photo Arts Collective show this Thursday, March 22, in New Haven

Sumner McKnight Crosby Jr. Gallery
70 Audubon St., 2nd floor, New Haven, (203) 772-2788
Spectra 2012
Mar. 23—May 11, 2012.
Artists' reception: Thurs., Mar. 22, 5—7 p.m.

Press release

The Arts Council of Greater New Haven presents Spectra 2012 in the Sumner McKnight Crosby Jr. Gallery, at 70 Audubon St., 2nd floor. The exhibition will be on display from Mar. 23, 2012 through May 11, 2012. An artists’ reception is scheduled for Thurs., Mar. 22 from 5—7 p.m. The public is invited to attend.

Spectra 2012 is the annual members’ show of the Photo Arts Collective, an Arts Council program whose mission is to cultivate and support a community of individuals who share an interest in photography, through workshops, lectures, exhibitions, portfolio reviews, group critiques, and special events.

Open to Arts Council members, the Photo Arts Collective meets the first Thursday of each month at the Kehler Liddell Gallery, 873 Whalley Ave., New Haven.

(Image by Maryann Ott.)

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Gallery talk at City Gallery Sunday afternoon

City Gallery
994 State St., New Haven, (203) 782-2489
Freddi Elton: Carborundum Dreams
Through Mar. 25, 2012.
Gallery Talk, Sun., Mar. 25, 2—4 p.m.

Press release

The show Carborundum Dreams closes this Sunday at City Gallery in New Haven. On Sunday afternoon, artist Freddi Elton will give a gallery talk about the work and her process.

Freddi Elton will present a discussion of her work, with examples of plates and materials as well as a dialogue about insights gained during this project. Anyone with an interest in the technique of carborundum printing or any other aspect of the work is eagerly invited to attend.

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Monday, March 19, 2012

Saturday opening for "Beyond the Gate," surrealist-influenced ArtSpace Hartford show

ArtSpace Hartford
555 Asylum Ave., Hartford, 06103, (860) 548-9975
Beyond the Gate
Through Mar. 31, 2012.
Opening reception: Sat., Mar. 24, 6—8 p.m.
Artist Talk: "Weeds as Food and Medicine": Sun., Aug. 21, 1—2 p.m.

Press release

This invitational group show will feature a group of fine artists from Connecticut selected by Curator and participating artist Clinton Deckert. This exhibition will provide a mysterious visual journey into an imaginary world that lays just Beyond the Gate.

The participating artists are: Jordan Deschene (Web), Silas Finch (Web), Stanwyck Cromwell (Web), Joshua Smith (Web), James DeMaio and Clinton Deckert.

The selection procedure involved choosing a group of artists whose artwork has a unique quality that explores abstract thoughts and dreamlike imagery. These artists have honed their craft into their own signature styles and their combined forces of unusual aesthetics create a must-see show. A reception to meet the artists will be held Sat., Mar. 24 from 6—8 p.m.

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Artists' reception Friday at the New Haven Lawn Club

New Haven Lawn Club
193 Whitney Ave., New Haven, CT, (203) 777-3494
Anne Culver: Wilderness
Susan Nally: Closer to Home
Through Apr. 29, 2012.
Opening Reception: Fri., Mar. 23, 5—7 p.m.

Press release

A lively juxtaposition of expansive and intimate describes the exhibit of paintings for March and April. The artists are Anne Culver who presents Wilderness and Susan Nally who brings us Close to Home. The exhibit runs March 14 through April 29. Come meet the artists at the reception, Fri., Mar. 23, from 5—7 p.m.

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Monday, March 12, 2012

In memoriam: installation commemorates victims of Triangle Shirtwaist Fire

A-Space Gallery at West Cove Studios
30 Elm St., West Haven, (203) 627-8030
Cate Bourke: Crewel Linen—Unfinished Business
Through Mar. 25, 2012.
Panel discussion: Sat., Mar. 24, 2—3 p.m. at the People's Center, 137 Howe St., New Haven.
Reception: Sat., Mar. 24, 4—6 p.m. at West Cove Studios in West Haven.

Orderly ghosts.

That is my first impression gleaned from entering the West Cove Studios gallery where artist Cate Bourke has installed Crewel Linen: Unfinished Business, a remembrance of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of March 25, 1911.

From the gallery's industrial ceiling, Bourke has suspended four rows of eight-foot banners—made of shirtwaist cloth—more than 30 deep each. Sewn near the bottom of each banner is a rectangle of heavier beige linen bearing the name of one of the victims, mostly but not all women. There is a banner for each of the 146 victims of the fire.

The fire is the deadliest industrial disaster in New York City history and one of the deadliest industrial accidents in U.S. history. Because managers had locked the doors to stairwells and exits—ostensibly to prevent unauthorized breaks and theft—workers were trapped in the sweatshop, which was located on floors 8—10 of the Asch Building near Washington Square Park. Dozens of workers died jumping from the windows to the street in vain attempts to save their lives.

The names are a roll call of the striving industrial immigrant working class of early 20th century New York, predominantly Jewish and Italian: Annie Colletti, Sarah Brodsky, Morris Bernstein, Josephine Cammarata. Most of the victims were between 16 and 23 years old.

The edges of each banner are frayed, untidy. Long, loose threads hang from many—the loose threads of lives unfinished. A visitor can walk between the rows of banners like a supervisor walking the aisles between work stations, inspecting them. Or imagine oneself in a wraith-like cemetery.

At one end of the gallery, in contrast to the orderliness of the rows of banners, lies a pile of thread and cloth trimmings. It was scraps like this that are alleged to have caught fire, sparking the blaze. The pile evokes the chaos of the fire. But even more, it suggests the notion that these workers—these people—were themselves discards of an oppressive industrial system, as disposable as fabric trimmings.

Crewel Linen—"crewel" is a form of embroidery and, obviously, a wordplay on "cruel"—is a memorial, filled with the meditative silence of the dead. The subtle breezes endemic to a drafty factory building cause many of the banners to sway softly.

History, yes. In the terms of contemporary argot, "ancient history."

And yet, of course, it's not. One need only read the reports of the horrific—if gleaming with high-tech sheen—exploitation of workers in the Apple supply chain to know that abuse of workers remains a contemporary phenomenon. Too often, a reader can catch a glimpse of a one-paragraph wire services story in the newspaper of dozens of workers killed in an industrial accident—usually an accident that was completely preventable if a decent concern for human life took precedence over naked lust for profits.

The other contemporary resonance echoes from the names of the victims—probably all first or second-generation immigrants eking out a living (if that) without control over the conditions of their toil. Today the names are more likely to be Spanish or Asian. But the dangers of living a marginalized existence on the edges of the economy—compounded by the repressive crackdown on undocumented workers—remain.

Crewel Linen will be on view through Mar. 25, 2012, the 101st anniversary of the fire. There will be a panel discussion on the installation on Sat., Mar. 24, from 2—3 p.m. at the People's Center at 37 Howe St. in New Haven. Moderated by Henry Lowendorf, chair of the New Haven Peace Commission, the panel will feature artist Cate Bourke, Megan Fountain of the community organization Unidad Latina en Accion and Jennifer Klein, professor of history at Yale University.

The panel will be followed by a reception at the gallery (30 Elm St. in West Haven) from 4—6 p.m.

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Artist reception at New Haven Free Public Library this Saturday

New Haven Free Public Library Art Gallery
133 Elm St., New Haven
The Urban & Aquatic Adventures of Mickey Wolve: Paintings by Nick Grossmann
Through Mar. 31, 2012.
Artist's reception: Sat., Mar. 17, 2—4:30 p.m.

Press release

Nick Grossmann (b.1980), aka Mickey Wolve, is an artist and sculptor from Norwalk, Connecticut.

"It all started as a child (ha ha). I was really into heroes like Batman," says Nick Grossmann, alias "Mickey Wolve." " I used to make up my own evil villains and I would try to be as creative as possible as to their unique super powers. Come middle school, I was very misunderstood. I had a few good friends but was definitely part of the anti-establishment. I discovered Punk Rock at the age of fourteen and fell completely in love with the music because it was non-conformist as I was and am. I took up the hobby of writing and composing music, calling myself a troubadour and playing country/punk. Life wasn't easy. I felt like an Outlaw. I can’t look at it any other way because I didn’t know what it was like to be a 'typical' person. I still don't.

"As I got older, I remaine troubled and got into some major…let's just say some Outlaw issues that took decent, wasted chunks of time away from my life. Eventually I started getting tired of this lifestyle. I believe that when you're an artist, you are different and it's hard when you’re not accepted and a lot of us become rebels in our own way. Things changed a lot when my son Dylan came along and some friends have also changed my life as well. I came to the conclusion that it wasn't worth getting in trouble anymore. I happened to go to a Native American Indian Pow Wow just to go buy some art or crafts from them and ended up in a powerful conversation with a man there who was a Shaman and he told me that I was gonna go on a journey to find myself. Well after that, some unexplainable, mystical things happened and I became even more of a loner. I went on long hikes, meditated and played music, alone. It was really spiritual to have all that time to myself as well as to having a son. If I can say I have a spiritual belief and categorize it, it's looking out for others more then myself. I believe in helping the sick, Homeless and animals because that’s worth more to me then all the money in the world."

"One day about three years ago, out of the blue, I went to the art store and bought supplies and started painting. I did five or six oil paintings and people really loved them. I discovered I truly loved painting memories, dreams and visions on canvas. It became a huge part of my spiritual life. I dedicate much of my time to my art because I feel passionate about the arts and my paintings. My favorite color is purple and I use it a lot. I like capturing the little things in life that are absolutely breathtaking to me."

Nick Grossmann has shown his artwork at many venues, including Umbrella Arts, NYC; The Nest Arts Factory in Bridgeport; Rosie in New Canaan; the Bridgeport Arts Fest; Visions of Hope for Japan; and Caffeine in South Norwalk.

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Monday, March 05, 2012

Eve Stockton woodcuts show opens Friday in Fairfield

Ulla Surland Gallery Eleven
11 Unquowa Rd., Fairfield, (203) 259-1572
Eve Stockton: Seasons in Transition—Woodcut Prints
Mar. 9—Apr. 28, 2012.
Opening Reception: Fri., Mar. 9, 6—8 p.m.

Press release

Eve Stockton is known for her large-scale woodcut prints. Her imagery is nature/science based and has been featured on many covers of Nature Genetics Magazine. Her work will be shown at Ulla Surland from Mar. 9 through Apr. 28. There will be an opening reception Fri., Mar. 9, from 6—8 p.m.

In the last few years she has had one-person exhibitions at Brown University, Providence, RI; the Wexford Arts Center, Ireland; the Inverness County Centre for the Arts, Nova Scotia, and the Heurich Gallery, Washington, DC. She won Best in Show at the Ridgefield Guild of Artists juried competition (juror: Benjamin Genocchio, The New York Times), and Second Prize in the Prints America juried competition (juror: Jacob Lewis, Pace Prints, NYC).

Stockton regularly exhibits in the CT, NY, and DC areas. She is an active member of the Center for Contemporary Printmaking, Norwalk, CT and the Silvermine Guild Arts Center, New Canaan, CT. Her work is in many private and public collections.

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March exhibits open at Silvermine this Sunday

Silvermine Guild Art Center
1037 Silvermine Rd., New Canaan, (203) 966-9700
Jocelyn Braxton Armstrong: I Am She
Stephanie Joyce: Unfolding
Ann Chernow: Annie's Soda Fountain
Marilyn Richeda: Whispered Warnings
Constance Kiermaier: Obsolete Elegance—A Tribute to JWK
Mar. 11—Apr. 22, 2012.
Opening Reception: Sun., Mar. 11, 2—4 p.m.

Press release

The new exhibits opening in March at the Silvermine Arts Center, located in New Canaan, CT bring together a diverse selection of Guild sculptors and printmakers. Topics will range from the feminist sculptures of Jocelyn Braxton Armstrong to the fantastical figures of Marilyn Richeda and the meditative prints of Ann Chernow, Stephanie Joyce and Constance Kiermaier. March is Women’s History Month and, in honor of this event celebration of the achievements of women past, present and future, we are excited to feature these very talented women artists of Silvermine Arts Center. The exhibit opens Mar. 11 and runs through Apr. 22. All are invited to the opening reception on Sun., Mar. 11, 2—4 p.m.

Modernist ceramic sculptor, Jocelyn Braxton Armstrong’s exhibition I AM SHE, features recent figurative sculpture and installations. In this exhibition she examines issues relating to feminism, exploring the causes of gender-based violence and inequality, from both a domestic and global perspective. Throughout the exhibition, she aims to inspire curiosity, thought and dialogue, to raise awareness and incite positive action that promotes feminism worldwide. Armstrong’s work is, for the most part, unglazed white porcelain. Her elegant figurative sculptures appear to be covered with delicate line drawings. These lines are used in an illustrative effect and sometimes the lines can express meaning. Her sculptures have a fresh sophistication and modern aesthetic that link fine art with craft. Of her work, Ms. Armstrong states, “Gesture is what interests me. Body language is beguiling. Gesture naturally conveys movement but can also be passive or submissive, playful or seductive, regal and proud. Gesture can tell a story. Some sculptures are motivated and methodically planned, while others are spontaneous and come from within. My most recent sculptures are more conceptual in nature, influenced by my life experiences now. I am exploring the emotions of relationships, conflict, love, and family, particularly how these emotions relate to women.”

Painter and printmaker Stephanie Joyce’s new exhibit Unfolding, is about sacred symbols of ancient tradition that takes the viewer to the very heart of what it is to be human. Even in today’s western culture, seemingly dominated by rationalism, consumerism, and constant visual innovation, shared symbols continue to shape our mental and emotional landscapes. The urge to articulate the connections of the universe, and our place within it, is an intrinsic human need that we share with our earliest ancestors. The body of work in this exhibit incorporates signs and symbols through painting, sculpture and printmaking. Joyce’s inspiration for her images were drawn from such sources as Carl Jung’s Man and his Symbols and poetry from Rumi to Mary Oliver, in particular, The Layers by Stanley Kunitz, which was instrumental in the ‘unfolding’ of this body of work; as well as the unconscious as explored through dream journaling, and materials found in the natural world. Of her work, Joyce comments, “Nature has been manipulated through a range of materials, all of which have been transformed and repurposed so that they transcend definitions and traditions. The outcome is an art experience which enters a mystical realm where ritual, genealogy and anthropological roots are explored.”

The exhibit of works by Ann Chernow Annie’s Soda Fountain, is based on impressions related to movies from the 1930’s and 1940’s, and the iconic drugstore soda fountain. Inspired by film publicity about stars being ‘discovered’ by a Hollywood scout and the image of a soda fountain that occurred in many movies of that genre, Chernow uses film characters and period settings as points of departure and then freely interprets. Who could forget the image of Lana Turner sipping an ice cream soda through a straw, having been discovered at Schwab's Drugstore, as legend would have it. The prints and drawings in this exhibit refer to actual films, studio publicity, fan magazines and other memorabilia of the golden era of Hollywood. Contemporary faces are added, but without altering the spirit of the chosen cinematic theme. “In blending past and present images, I try to create a sense of déjà vu, or nostalgia, without the sentimentality often associated with specific film references. Depicting a universal gesture and establishing dramatic moments are primary.” Chernow also states, “Once experienced, a movie is never totally forgotten. Memories from films can be channels, metaphor and private reverie through which an artist can address the human condition.”

Whispered Warnings is an exhibit of sculptural works by Marilyn Richeda of other worldly figures, creatures not found in forests, on the street or in encyclopedias. Some figures are robot-like, non-speaking, noiseless and still. Others stand confident, perhaps hiding something. Birds are portrayed as enchanting, but often showing a darker side such as feelings of loss, helplessness and being marooned. The combination of strangeness and familiarity reveal human concerns and behaviors as portrayed by the birds. “I rarely start to work with a clear visual image of what I will create. I do, however, have an idea of what I want to explore or a feeling I want to express and keep on working until I feel it’s right,” says Richeda of her work. “Like all my work, they explore pattern and color. In many ways, color is the most important part of every piece I make. Color is what seduces me. Even the names of the glazes affect which ones I select.” Richeda gets her inspiration for her colors from looking at painted cars and trucks on the road or from painters such as George Basselitz, Grau-Garriga and from folk art. What excites her most is the casualness and color which comes from the art of children. Her internal drive comes from the continuous process of discovery, drawing from her overall life experiences. “I see each piece as a fragment of what will eventually become a lifetime statement.”

Constance Kiermaier’s exhibit, Obsolete Elegance - a Tribute to JWK defines the life and times of her late husband, JWK, as he lived them. An exhibition of mixed media, Kiermaier uses a tie as the source material. The tie, which can be found in each of her works, serves as a metaphor for the man and his time. Quotes from JWK evoke his personality and response to a life lived with civility, honesty and promise that defined a different time. “Now that I am in the middle of my eighth decade, I still continue to think of art as magic, and myself as a kind of magician who through complex trickery can manipulate visual perceptions and create a dichotomy of the real and the unreal. In my lifelong exploration of this magic, as a painter and maker of boxes, collages and constructions, I find that I delight and surprise myself in the process of seeking to delight and surprise. This discovery is the ultimate enchantment.”

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Saturday night art show at NEST Art Center in Bridgeport (UPDATED 03/12/12)

NEST Art Center
1720 Fairfield Ave., Bridgeport, CT
The Bunny Runs: Drawings & Soft Sculpture by Jodiann Strmiska
Sat., Mar. 10, 2012, 5:30—8:30 p.m.

Press release

UPDATE 03/12/12: This show has been postponed to this fall.

In the Gallery & Labyrinth Corridor:

"The Bunny Runs comprises an ongoing cycle of works on paper whose subject is the relationship between artist and studio model," says Jodiann Strmiska. "Creating my own soft-sculpture models from foam rubber and fabric which I can pose or manipulate at will as both authentic object and studio subject, references the use of stuffed toys by young children as 'transitional objects' which function as touchstones of emotional comfort independent of parental influence and which can take on a life of their own, like 'The Velveteen Rabbit' of the classic work of children's fiction."

"The Bunny Heads, as depicted in my work, with their crudely stitched-together craniums and floppy ears, symbolize the psyche and the essential vulnerability of human nature. In dyad form or in the context of the imaginary, biomorphic landscapes they sometimes inhabit in my drawings, the bunny-heads are engaged in the eternal battle of self versus 'other.'"

"In multiple form and color, the soft-sculpture heads represent the never-ending proliferation of ideas which often exist as 'things-onto-themselves' without any larger context or meaning within the confines of the artists' imagination; i.e, 'multiplying like bunnies.'"

"This exhibition's title was inspired by the surge of running bunny sightings I witnessed during the summer of 2011 while hiking in the woods at my favorite State parks. God Bless the bunnies and long may they run!" ~Jodiann Strmiska -a.ka.-'Jodeska' 2012

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