Dedicated to covering the visual arts community in Connecticut.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Meg Bloom show opens at City Gallery on Saturday

City Gallery
994 State St., New Haven, (203) 782-2489
Meg Bloom: Wabi-Sabi
May 31—July 1, 2012.
Opening Reception: Sat., June 2, 2—5 p.m.
Closing Event: Sun., July 1, 2—4 p.m.

Press release

City Gallery is presenting Wabi-Sabi, a multi-media exhibit by Meg Bloom from May 31 through July 1, 2012. The opening reception is Sat., June 2, from 2—5 p.m. There will be a closing event on July 1, from 2¬—4 p.m. Admission free.

Transformation is often the inspiration Bloom’s work. Finding beauty in the imperfect or impermanent, acknowledging moments of change, and engaging with the process of transience form the basis of both her two dimensional and three-dimensional work. Thus the name "Wabi-Sabi."

Bloom’s process is guided by the mix of planning and chance that her materials offer to the imagery. Over time she has developed her own method of working with wax and heat on organic and synthetic fabrics and papers. In the last six months she has added paper-making to the transformative process.

Bloom is drawn to the ambiguity of forms that go in and out of resolve as you move around them. She is interested in the chaos that comes out of even the most predictable. While much of her work is sculptural, she also works in a variety of two-dimensional media where she can address her passion for color.

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Cham Hendon show opens Friday at Giampietro Gallery in New Haven

Giampietro Gallery—Works of Art
315 Peck St., New Haven, (203) 777-7760
Cham Hendon: Recent Work
June 1—30, 2012.
Opening Reception: Fri., June 1, 5—8 p.m.

Press Release

Fred Giampietro Gallery is pleased to present Cham Hendon: Recent Work, an exhibition of exhibition the artist’s latest work opening Fri., June 1, and on view through June 30.

Through a unique process of mixing acrylic paint and Rhoplex, artist Cham Hendon combines his mastery of color and composition with a unique mixing and pouring process to create exquisitely complex paintings on canvas. At first glance, Hendon’s work appears deceivingly simple but upon a closer examination one experiences a variety of subtle and abrupt shifts in shape, color, texture and tone.

Hendon’s career gained national notoriety in 1978 when his work was selected by curator Marcia Tucker to be included in the groundbreaking Bad Painting exhibition at The New Museum of Contemporary Art.

Hendon’s work has been exhibited throughout the United States, Mexico, and Europe. He has received many prestigious grants including the Pollock-Krasner Foundation. Hendon’s work can be found in the collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of the City of New York, The New Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Birmingham Museum of Art as well as many private collections.

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Audette retrospective showcases painter's mastery of form

John Slade Ely House Center for Contemporary Art
51 Trumbull Street, New Haven, (203) 624-8055
Anna Held Audette: A Retrospective
Through May 27, 2012.

We live in a strange world, a world we make and a world we destroy. Within that cycle of creation and destruction there can be found a lot of surprising beauty.

For at least two decades, painter Anna Held Audette has been crafting complex paintings inspired by the structures and machinery of the modern industrial age as it slides into obsolescence. The retrospective of her work at the John Slade Ely House, which closes this Sunday, is a master class in painterly skill, composition and conceptual rigor.

Throughout the two floors of the Ely House are a few dozen paintings—along with some older prints and drawings—mostly concerned with architectural and technological form.

Had Audette been painting in the 1930's or 1950's, her work might have been glorifying the majestic, burgeoning industrial might of the United States, sort of a "Capitalist Realism." But most of the works date from the 1980's on, a period in which the predominant trend has been deindustrialization.

Many of these works are landscapes of collapse and decay—scrapyards piled high with machine debris, rusting in the sun, and factory buildings, gutted and falling apart. Audette has dubbed the latter paintings "modern ruins." In their conceptual concern, they reference the Renaissance and post-Renaissance predilection for painting the ruins of antiquity (see "Hubert Robert in New Haven" [1993], below).

But this is a collapse run at fast-forward speed, and with conscious intent. Our ruins may be monumental in scale but there is something wasteful and small about them. That, however, is a socio-political judgment. As an aesthetic matter, there is an undeniable attraction to these scenes of piled-high junk (like "Scrap Metal V" [1990], below), gears and machinery and light streaming in through tall windows overlooking mournful, empty factory floors.

While these are representational works, Audette often painted cropped segments of scenes; she usually worked from photographs. The effect is to approach a kind of formal abstraction in which color, contour, light and shape juxtapositions are more important than depicting a specific object (see "Old New Haven Terminal" [2006], below).

A dozen or so of Audette's most recent works are shown in the final room on the second floor. Audette was diagnosed in 2009 with Fronto-Temporal Dementia (FTD), a rare form of Alzheimer's disease. While Audette's lifelong interest in making art declined initially, since 2010—with the assistance and encouragement of former student Carole Dubiell—she has completed 120 "new" paintings, including "Ship II" (2011), seen below.

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Monday, May 14, 2012

"Landscapes" show opens Thursday at Sumner McKnight Crosby Jr. Gallery Thursday

Sumner McKnight Crosby Jr. Gallery
70 Audubon St., 2nd floor, New Haven, (203) 772-2788
May 18—July 13, 2012.
Artists' reception: Thurs., May 17, 5—7 p.m.

Press release

The Arts Council of Greater New Haven presents Landscapes, in the Sumner McKnight Crosby Jr. Gallery, 70 Audubon St., 2nd floor, New Haven. This exhibition will be on display from May 18 until July 13, 2012. There will be an opening reception from 5—7 p.m. on Thurs., May 17, 2012. The public is invited to attend.

Connecticut artists Rosemary Benivegna, Adriana Lee, Kimberly Tucker and Do Walker will be showing work for this exhibit.

The theme of landscape links the artists for this show, who come from varied backgrounds and stages in their respective careers. The paintings and drawings that will be shown range from traditional to interpretive and demonstrate all the different ways that one can perceive a landscape, whether it’s through imagination or observation.

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Group show opens Saturday at Institute Library in New Haven

The Institute Library
847 Chapel St., New Haven, (203) 562-5045
Family Haunts
May 19—June 16, 2012.
Opening Reception: Sat., May 19, Noon—2 p.m.

Press release

Curated by Joy Pepe, Family Haunts considers the beckoning of ancestry and perceptions of present day relations through the paintings, prints, photographs, drawings and assemblages of artists. The veils of memory, the desire to commemorate, and the need for identity compel these works of art into being. These nine artists siphon the particulars of familial connection into a visual scrapbook of our collective history.

The participating artists are: Silas Finch (Web), Stephen Grossman (Web), Mary Lesser (Web), Nathan Lewis (Web), Irene K. Miller (Web), Meredith Miller (Web), Kevin van Aelst (Web) and Thuan Vu (Web).

There will be an opening reception on Sat., May 19, from noon—2 p.m.

(Image is Stephen Grossman's "Marilyn Bridesmaid.")

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Two-artist show opens Saturday in Washington Depot

The Behnke Doherty Gallery
6 Green Hill Rd., Washington Depot, (860) 868-1655
Just Beneath the Surface: Works by Michael Quadland & Brian Walters
May 18—June 24, 2012.
Artists' Reception: Sat., May 19, 4—7 p.m.

Press release

The Behnke Doherty Gallery is pleased to announce its upcoming exhibition: Just Beneath the Surface, featuring the Grid Series of paintings by Michael Quadland and the Burst Series of sculpture by Brian Walters. The show will also highlight the Shona Sculpture of Zimbabwe. The exhibition will run from May 18 through June 24. There is an artist reception on Sat., May 19, from 4—7 p.m.

At first glance, Michael Quadland’s paintings appear deceptively simple. Yet upon closer study, they reveal themselves to be extraordinarily complex. He is perhaps most readily described as a Color Field painter, and indeed his work is deeply influenced by the Abstract Expressionist Color Field painters of the 1940’s and 1950’s whose large expanses of flat, solid color literally spread across the canvas in vast fields of unbroken surface. There are clear antecedents to his paintings in the early works of Clifford Still, Barnett Newman and Hans Hofmann. But these artists focused first and foremost on consistency of form and surface and consciously de-emphasized brushstroke and texture.

For Quadland, while saturated color is essential to creating the overall mood of a piece, it is not the end goal in and of itself. Building his paintings painstakingly layer by layer and then selectively scraping away what he has laid down, he creates extraordinary depth and mystery. Color is at one moment revealed, and in the next hidden. The resulting shades and hues enter into dialogue with each other. The impact on the viewer is as much emotional as visual.

But Quadland then takes things a step further. By scratching out a seemingly endless configuration of grids, squares, and lines, the artist infuses his paintings with intense energy. Upon reflection, his works seem to constantly transform themselves as different elements of underlying patterns alternately take the forefront, only to recede and grant prominence of place to another arrangement. The result is an ever-changing vision of immense dynamism. His works immediately bring to mind Robert Rauschenberg’s masterful “black paintings” of 1958-64 in which the artist literally scraped away the canvas’s surface to reveal all that was already going on underneath.

The Burst Series is the most recent work by sculptor Brian Walters. Continuing his exploration of reclaimed material, these pieces made of clear coated stainless steel evoke nothing less than the visual energy of the expanding universe. Pivoting on a single interior point of gravity, the works literally seem to hang in that suspended moment just as the explosive force reaches its maximum, reminiscence of the ephemeral beauty of fireworks as they hover briefly against the night sky. The satin clear finish on the steel serves to heighten the effect as it reflects and amplifies the light.

In Walter’s hands, the metal loses its original identity, its rigid stasis transformed into energy and motion. What once was rigid is transformed into vital force. Defying the weight of the medium, Brian’s pieces seem to float in the air of their own accord, bursting into the viewer’s awareness.

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Thursday opening at Real Art Ways

Real Art Ways
56 Arbor St., Hartford, (860) 232-1006
Dennis Maher: House of the Unmaker
May 17—Aug. 15, 2012.
Opening reception during Creative Cocktail Hour: Thurs., May 17, 6—8 p.m. Admission is $10/$5 Real Art Ways members.

Press release

Dennis Maher’s House of the Unmaker explores the concept of “home” by constructing a narrative about the anatomies of houses. There will be an opening reception for Maher's show on Thurs., May 17, from 6—8 p.m. as part of Real Art Ways' monthly Creative Cocktail Hour. Admission is $10/$5 Real Art Ways members. House of the Unmaker will be on view through Aug. 15.

Maher harvests discarded building materials from sites of urban demolition. The skins of former walls, floors and ceilings are used as layers in his assemblages.

Maher re-imagines the house as a social, material, and psychological construct. House of the Unmaker casts aside the exterior shell of a "home" to reveal an inverse living-scape where walls are not static barriers or dividers, but animate and organic communicators of matter, places, and time.

House of the Unmaker will reconfigure the anatomy of a house, its objects, furnishings, and spaces, at multiple scales. These assemblages are interconnected within a framework of room-like environments.

Dennis Maher is one of the STEP UP 2011 artists. STEP UP is a series of six solo exhibitions open to emerging artists living in New York, New Jersey or New England.

Exhibitions by Dennis Maher have been presented at such venues as Black and White Gallery and Project Space in Brooklyn, NY, Pulse Miami Art Fair, the Pittsburgh Biennial, Galeria Antoni Pinyol in Reus, Spain, Superfront in Los Angeles, CA, The Carnegie Center in Covington, KY, and Burchfield Penney Art Center in Buffalo, NY.

Maher has been selected as the 2012 Artist In Residence at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, NY. He is also a recipient of the Black and White Project Space Prize (2010), a NYSCA Independent Projects Grant (2010), and a MacDowell Colony Fellowship (2008).

His work has been featured in Architect Magazine, on the national radio program Smart City Radio, and on PBS television's Going Green series. Published writings by Maher include "Towards Un-building" in 306090 Sustain and Develop, and "The Nightworks" in Unplanned, Research and Experiments at the Urban Scale, and "Afterlives of St. Gerard's," forthcoming in Architecture Post-Mortem. Maher is currently a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Architecture at SUNY, University at Buffalo, where he has taught since 2004.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Saturday evening opening at CaRo Gallery in Meriden

CaRo Art Studio and Gallery
290 Pratt St., Meriden, (203) 886-6809
Landon R. Wilson: American—The Fabric of of Lives
May 12—June 3, 2011.
Opening reception, Sat., May 12, 6—10 p.m.

Press release

Ledyard, CT artist Landon R. Wilson presents American: The Fabric of Our Lives. As the winner of CaRo Art Gallery's America Pros and Cons Juried Show in 2011, Wilson has expanded his multimedia art into a politically fueled solo exhibit.

See and hear more about Landon's art, which will surely become thought provoking to the viewer. Politically based, this exhibit will challenge the viewer to take a step back to understand what is really being said.

Join us May 12, 2012 from 6—10 p.m. to the opening of America: The Fabric of Our Lives.

Artist statement:

My choice of subject matter comes at a time in America’s history where many feel that we are at a critical masse. America is no longer the invincible super hero ready to do battle with all of the world’s evils. Our military is stretched thin. Millions are unemployed, infrastructure and education are on the backburner and money continues to be the deciding factor in America’s politics. The sides are drawn, whose side are you on? We are in a tug of war and the center is being ripped apart. Soon it will be shredded completely and America will be left in pieces.

I have chosen to paint subjects who have all risen to power, some more powerful than others, and used the American flag, shredded and torn, as a backdrop. Some are heroes, some are villains; all have shaped our lives in one way or another.

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Sundra painting show reception Saturday at New Haven Public Library

New Haven Free Public Library Art Gallery
133 Elm St., New Haven
Michael Sundra: Relationship With Time
Through June 18, 2012.
Artist's reception: Sat., May 12, 2—4:30 p.m.

Press release

"I respond to things that are in relationship with time," says Michael Sundra. "Words in a dream that came one morning in early 2007 soon after I began investigating the arch form (the oldest man-made form in the world), as subject matter for a new direction in my work: 'More than geometry, strength, mystical meaning in sacred western architecture. Vesica Piscis (Pisces).'

"In painting, the object, the idea is only pretext. The act of painting is in direct relationship with time. The essence of which (not only form) is really what is being explored. The painting usually finds its way—if you allow it to happen."

Michael Sundra was born in 1948 in Cleveland, Ohio and resides in Farmington, Connecticut. In 1972 he graduated from the Paier College of Art in New Haven with a degree in Photography. His work has been featured in national and international exhibits. One of the most notable appearances of his work was as a part of “Americans on Americans,” the photographic tour that opened at the Kiev Museum of Art in Kiev, Ukraine in 1997, and featured work from his Venice Beach, California series where his art was displayed alongside works by Annie Liebowitz, Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Herb Ritts, Berenice Abbot, and “Beat” poet Allen Ginsberg.

As a photographer, Sundra is most known for his black and white conceptual portraits and mixed media art that incorporate his B&W portraits as pretext for painting. He has worked commercially for many national clients and Fortune 500 companies, out of his former Colt building studio, in Hartford, for twenty years. Many of his fine art photographs reside in corporate and private collections.

Sundra’s interest in painting began in 1990 in mixed media and he has gradually made painting his primary focus as an artist. In "Relationship With Time," his current work embraces ancient architectural forms, primarily the arch, in it’s relationship to primordial, mystical, and spiritual energies; it’s strength, and the influence the arch has had on civilization over time as both aesthetic and utilitarian elements.

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Monday, May 07, 2012

Drawing in the moment: a "happening" at Artspace

50 Orange St, New Haven, (203) 772-2709
Saturday "happening": Colleen Coleman: Ode to Walter Benjamin
May 5, 2012.

This past Saturday, as part of the opening reception for several shows, Artspace presented the first in a series of Saturday evening "happenings" slated for this month. Saturday's "happening" featured artist Colleen Coleman in a drawing performance "Ode to Walter Benjamin." Benjamin was a renowned 20th century German-Jewish cultural theorist. Among his well-known essays is "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction," written in 1936.

Coleman's "endurance piece," as Artspace director Helen Kauder describes it, is part drawing, part dance. Holding a thick, dark slab of raw graphite in her hand—in both hands, depending on the gesture—she cranks swirls of kinetic circles on the long free-standing wall in the main gallery. Stopping for a moment, she offers her outstretched palms to the audience, black graphite glistening on coffee-colored skin.

Related to the dance aspect, the performance is almost musical, as well. In its rhythms, it resembles a free improvisation concert: flurries of noisy energy dissipating into pregnant quiet, only to build up again to another crescendo. This association is reinforced by the sound aspect of Coleman's effort, the whirring white noise of the graphite gliding against the wall, the occasional percussive SNAP! Of the graphite chunk striking the surface.

Circles. Circles within circles within circles and the long flowing lines from one end of the wall to the other, some drawn languidly as Coleman seeks to catch her breath, others applied in a graceful sprint the length of the wall, punctuated with a leap that registers as a black linear arc.

It's a high wire act. Do you end up with something that has an aesthetic integrity outside the performance of its creation? In a way, that's a bonus if it happens because this is gestural drawing as performance art, dance, creation in the moment, Pollock's "action paintings" taken out onto a stage.

For a short moment, Coleman settles into repeated figure-eight swirls, the infinity symbol, the infinite possibilities inherent in mark making, art-making, the musical rhythm flow. Conscious art—yes, thinking the whole time, in the moment—but also pushing beyond the conscious to the visceral physical, the ecstatic joy of graffitizing a white wall with scribbly black marks, that outside-of-consciousness pleasure. The highest curves chart the peak of Coleman's leap, jumping with hand extended, reaching for the stars.

I expect to take in 15 minutes or so of Coleman's performance, which was supposed to last up to two hours. But it is surprisingly compelling and I'm absorbed through to its conclusion, when Coleman reaches the limit of her athletic endurance 10 or 15 minutes beyond an hour.

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Art opening and music Saturday at Intercambio in New Haven

756 Chapel St., New Haven
Knife Thrower: Works by Dan Greene
May 12—June 15, 2012.
Reception for the artists: Sat., May 12, 7—11 p.m.

Press release

Beginning May 12 through June 15, InterCambio presents Knife Thrower: Works by Dan Greene. On cardboard, found wood, and furniture scrap, Knife Thrower illustrates scenes from an unfinished epic poem by the artist.

Knife Thrower depicts chapters from the third and fourth parts of Dan Greene's epic poem called "The Monastery of the Heavenly Forest." He works backwards, using the images to envision the story he will write, essentially creating a literary storyboard. The protagonists (the Nun Dressed in Black and the Skyscraper Worker) attempt to cross the moat and drawbridge in order to enter the Blue Fort and access the apple orchard within. They meet various ends; sometimes they end up in the hospital, sometimes they reach the orchard, and sometimes they are decapitated or burned at the stake, but they persist in spite of the Knife Throwers and the other guardians of the orchard.

Dan Greene has been a teacher of all subjects for 15 years in New Haven, Connecticut. He has released dozens of singles and albums with The Butterflies of Love and The Mountain Movers. He has also edited the annual poetry journal for the Community Partners in Action (CPA) Prison Arts Program. Dan is a self-taught artist who did not begin drawing or making art until 1995 when he became inspired to illustrate "The Monastery of the Heavenly Forest." All of his work still references that same unfinished epic. He holds an M.A.R. (1995) from the Yale Divinity School.

Knife Thrower represents a selection of works from Greene's personal collection, many of which remain unpublished. Knife Thrower is curated by Ephemeroptera, a New Haven small press producing micro-edition, multimedia publications, and presented by InterCambio, a New Haven arts non-profit dedicated to facilitating multimedia, cross-disciplinary collaboration, with support from Project Storefronts. Project Storefronts is produced by New Haven's Department of Arts, Culture and Tourism and supported by the Economic Development Corporation of New Haven & New Haven Office of Economic Development.

The official opening reception for the exhibition will be held on Saturday May 12, 2012, from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., featuring a performance by The Mountain Movers and a DJ set by Jahoctopus. A number of experimental musical performances will take place at InterCambio throughout Knife Thrower. Copies of the Knife Thrower catalogue will be available for purchase in InterCambio's shop.

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Sculpture show opens Saturday at A-Space Gallery in West Haven

A-Space Gallery at West Cove Studios
30 Elm St., West Haven, (203) 627-8030
Local Builders: An Anthology of Connecticut Sculptors
May 12—June 9, 2012.
Reception for the artists: Sat., May 12, 5:30—8:30 p.m.

Press release

Beginning this Saturday, A-Space Gallery at West Cove Studios presents Local Builders, a show by a comprehensive group of area sculptors. Curated by Stephen Vincent Kobasa, the show will be on view through June 9; there will be a reception for the artists on Saturday from 5:30—8:30 p.m.

The exhibiting artists are:

Lani Asuncion, Anita Balkun, Janice Barnish, Dave Bassine, Meg Bloom, Susan Bradley, Aimée Burg, Natalie Charkow, Susan Classen-Sullivan, Susan Clinard, Paul Cofrancesco, Howard el-Yasin, Richard Falco, Tracy Walter Ferry, Silas Finch, Joe Gitterman, Kevin Harty, Shelby Head, Alexander Hunenko, Blinn Jacobs, Jilaine Jones, Robert Kirschbaum, Jacob Antone Könst, Tony Kosloski, David Livingston, Jacque Metheny, Jeff Ostergren, Dan Potter, Michael Quirk, Margaret Roleke, Joseph Saccio, Suzan Shutan, Jeff Slomba, Alison Walsh, Brian Walters, Jonathan Waters, Matthew Weber and Mark Williams.

(Image is of sculpture by Jonathan Waters.)

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Opening Friday at Ulla Surland in Fairfield

Ulla Surland Gallery Eleven
11 Unquowa Rd., Fairfield, (203) 259-1572
Tara McKiernan Kovach: Recent Works
May 11—June 30, 2012.
Opening Reception: Fri., May 11, 6—8 p.m.

Press release

Tara McKiernan Kovach begins her paintings with intuitive, seemingly random marks. Kovach responds to these marks on a conscious and subconscious level, allowing this free association to manifest on the canvas. Her paintings are highly energetic and spirited. She uses oil and acrylic paints to create textured and multi layered works of great beauty, finesse and depth. Her colors are luscious and vivid, her tones ranging from murky darks to brilliant and rich middle tones to bright, clean highlights.

One group of paintings in this exhibition consists of macro views of details taken from nature, seed pods, blossoms, twigs, etc. Other paintings are large-scale depictions of colors engaging in a wild and wondrous dance.

The show will be on view from May 11 through June 30. There will be an opening reception this Fri., May 11, from 6—8 p.m.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Artspace openings this Saturday in New Haven

50 Orange St, New Haven, (203) 772-2709
Agit Crop
May 5—31, 2012
Opening Reception: Sat., May 5, 5—8 p.m.
Pre-reception Gallery Talk with Hudson Valley Seed Library Founder Ken Greene, 4:30 pm
Summer Apprenticeship Program alumni show: (Art)iculate
May 5—31, 2012
Opening Reception: Sat., May 5, 5—8 p.m.
Saturday "happening": Colleen Coleman: Ode to Walter Benjamin
May 5, 2012, 6—8 p.m.

Press release

• Join us where art meets ag for Artspace’s new exhibition, Agit Crop, on view from May 5 to 31, 2012. Agit Crop will showcase 23 original works of art commissioned by the Hudson Valley Seed Library for their annual Art Pack collection. The seed packet artwork—from the powerful Cosmonaut Volkov Tomato to the stately and serene Early Summer Crookneck Squash—displays a wide range of media and artistic styles (in the case of the aforementioned tomato and squash, think comic book art and landscape painting!) Each artist imaginatively and uniquely captures the essence of the Seed Library's heirloom varieties. Warning: you may feel moved to purchase some potting soil and a watering can.

Also on display will be edible terrariums by Britton Rogers, “Garden Voices” a video and multimedia documentary project by Amy Coplen, “cropoganda”: works created by students at Common Ground High School. Common Ground, an environmental charter school and urban farm in New Haven, will partner with Artspace this spring to produce original artwork that plays with the notion of food branding. Agit Crop will showcase the original fruit-and-vegetable-themed artwork, along with posters, packaging, and clothing based on students’ design.

(Art)iculate is a show of work by Artspace alumni whose artistic ventures and processes were supported by their involvement in the Summer Apprenticeship Program. The show invites past participants to return and share new artwork in a space to which they have a close relationship.

Artspace's Summer Apprenticeship Program was founded in 2001 to provide a unique opportunity for New Haven high school students to work intimately with a master artist for a few weeks every summer. Each year, the Apprentices complete a major group project, which is displayed prominently in Artspace's gallery (or in The Lot, our outdoor exhibition space) and is celebrated by the public.

• We will be kicking off a series of Saturday “happenings” throughout the month, beginning with Colleen Coleman’s (Web) drawing performance, “Ode to Walter Benjamin" this Saturday, followed by the Illuminated Universe Artist Workshop on May 12 (cost TBA), Night Picnic (May 26), and a live music performance. Come spend your weekends in May at Artspace!

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90th Anniversary exhibition at Silvermine Art Center

Silvermine Guild Art Center
1037 Silvermine Rd., New Canaan, (203) 966-9700
Silvermine Guild 90th Anniversary Exhibit
May 9—June 9, 2012.
Exhibit opens at Anniversary Gala on Sat., May 5, 2012.

Press release

Silvermine Arts Center, located in New Canaan, is celebrating 90 years of bringing the arts to Fairfield County. To commemorate this historic milestone, the arts center will present a range of varied events throughout the year, including a special exhibition of works by guild artist members.

Artists have been drawn to Silvermine since visionary sculptor Solon Borglum moved here in 1906 and established it as a place for artists and art lovers to gather to appreciate, enjoy and learn about the arts. Located in the historic Silvermine area of New Canaan, Connecticut, the Silvermine Arts Center represents many things to many people. To the dedicated professional artist, it is a prestigious place to exhibit – a widely hailed showcase for talent from all over New England and beyond. For the budding artists of tomorrow, it is a source of excellent instruction in a variety of media. And to the community at large, the arts center offers an ongoing cultural and educational experience.

In honor of the 90th anniversary, there will be a celebration of the Silvermine Guild of Artists with an exhibition featuring current Guild Artist members. According to Gallery Director, Jeffrey Mueller, “In this 90th anniversary year, we take the time to honor Silvermine’s long and rich legacy by looking back and reflecting on its many transformations since 1922.” The exhibit has been designed as an open call to all the current Guild members. The Gallery Director is meeting with each of the artists to select one piece that is most representative of their work. “This ambitious installation will weave together a diverse range of media and ideas explored by the Guild’s ceramicists, installation artists, jewelers, painters, photographers, printmakers, sculptors and multi-media artists. In many ways, this multi-generational exhibition will both celebrate and illustrate Silvermine’s legacy and its continued commitment to present some of the best artwork being produced in the region,” says Mr. Mueller. The exhibit will be revealed at the Anniversary Gala on May 5 and will be open to the public from May 9 and run through June 9, 2012. The exhibition is sponsored by the Rosenthal Family Foundation in honor of Hinda G. Rosenthal, and media sponsor, Venü Magazine.

“Ninety years as an artist-founded and led organization is truly worth celebrating,” says Executive Director, Leslee Asch. “A tribute to this momentous occasion will be a commemorative book which will highlight the extraordinary history of this magical place and the people who have given tirelessly to make it great.”

The history of Silvermine began in the early 1900's as a colony of artists settled in the Silvermine area, lured by the picturesque countryside. The artists gathered around noted sculptor Solon Borglum, who was to become the founding father of the Silvermine Guild and whose barn was the meeting place where these artists, the so-called "Knockers Club" came to socialize, exchange ideas and critique each others' work. By 1920, the Silvermine Group exhibitions were attracting hundreds of viewers who came out from New York by train and from the surrounding countryside by horse and buggy or car. After Borglum’s sudden death in 1922, the group realized that they needed to organize themselves to hold onto the community they had developed. They began to plan for their future as the Silvermine Guild of Artists. The group formerly incorporated in 1924 as a nonprofit educational organization with a mission to “foster art appreciation, education and the cultural growth of the community.” They purchased a barn and moved it to its present location on Silvermine Road.

As this colony of artists grew the cultural activities became even more sophisticated. On Saturday nights, the local talent put on performances incorporating poetry recitations, plays and musical programs, replete with costumes. These early theatrical endeavors helped set the stage for even more elaborate productions that came several years later, called “The Silvermine Sillies.” The Guild also began offering a few classes in the early 20's and officially became the School of Art in 1924. Through the years, the school offered not only classes in the visual arts, but dance, filmmaking, and acting classes as well.

Today, the Silvermine Arts Center is comprised of a Guild of over 300 professional artists, five galleries presenting new exhibitions every six weeks and sponsoring prestigious regional and national competitions; a gift shop; a School of Art providing a wide range of classes for all levels of experience from ages 2 to 102; and outreach programs in the Norwalk and Stamford schools. A variety of programs, lectures, performances and special events are presented in the intimate setting of our auditorium or outside on the beautiful 4½ acre campus. Silvermine is the preeminent visual arts center in Fairfield County with more than 4,500 annual enrollments at the School of Art and 12,000 visitors to the award-winning galleries. The center provides its artist members, faculty, students and visitors with a common location where they can share ideas, work on projects, teach, explore new areas and grow in their creativity and talents.

(Image is "Lost Souls Crossing the River Styx" by artist Don Axelroad (Web) of Stamford.)

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Saturday panel discussion to close "Material Measure" show at Institute Library

The Institute Library
847 Chapel St., New Haven, (203) 562-5045
Material Measure: Use and Reinvention of Maps
Through May 5, 2012.
"Maps Made Strange," Panel discussion: Sat., May 5, 12:30—2 p.m.

Press release

Please join Material Measure curator Fritz Horstman and a panel of five special guests May 5 to close our current exhibition with a discussion of maps and their relationships to place, knowledge, and art.

The Panelists

Connie Brown paints one-of-a-kind wall maps on canvas and globes for private clients, organizations, and companies. In her Durham, Connecticut studio, she maps travel routes and treks, private properties, lives, campuses, towns, and environmental regions.

Leila Daw received her MFA from Washington University in St. Louis. She taught for almost thirty years at different colleges, including the Massachusetts College of Art. Her work is often based on maps and is exhibited in many public and private institutions.

Martha W. Lewis received her MFA from Yale. Her work is multidisciplinary and inhabits the realm of plans, experiments, and models. Among her source materials are engineering manuals, statistical data, spiritual diagrams, Google Earth searches, and all manner of maps.

Stace Maples is the GIS Specialist for Yale University's Map Collection at Sterling Memorial Library and provides support to the Yale research community in capturing and making sense of the "where" of their subjects.

Jeannette Redensek's PhD in Art History from the Graduate Center for the City University of New York was based on the history of the scientification of architecture and city planning in early twentieth-century Germany. She is currently a researcher at the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation in Bethany, Connecticut.

Fritz Horstman (Moderator) received his MFA from Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). His work is exhibited and is in public and private collections around this country, Canada, Asia, and Europe. Material Measure was Hortsman's first foray into curating. He lives and works in Bethany, Connecticut.

The participating artists in the Material Measure show are: Leila Daw (Web), Billy Friebele (Web), Mike Iacovone (Web), Martha Lewis (Web), Larissa Nowicki (Web), Gerald Saladyga (Web), Karin Schaefer (Web) and Kevin Van Aelst (Web).

There will be a greeting of the artists on Sat., Apr. 7, from noon—2 p.m.

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ATOM space reception in Hartford Friday

ATOM Space @ Chinatown
55 Pratt St., Hartford, (860) 944-1665
As It Ever Was
May 4—26, 2012.
Opening Reception: Fri., May 4, 6—9 p.m.

Press release

ATOM space is pleased to announce its second exhibition, As It Ever Was, a group exhibition of contemporary art with work by Anne Cubberly (Web), Howard el-Yasin, Gene Gort (Web), Barbara Hocker (Web), Carol Padberg (Web), Nina Salazar, Patrick Schmidt (Web), Gil Scullion (Web) and Dave Sinaguglia (Web).

The exhibition will run from May 4 through May 26, with an opening reception on Fri., May 4 from 6 to 9 p.m.

Gallery hours are Thursday through Saturday from 12 noon to 5 p.m., or by appointment.

The exhibition As It Ever Was will feature artwork that takes a more organic and nature-based approach. The human form, animals, vegetation and trees inspire drawing, sculpture, video and installation for this group. Patrick Schmidt of Pittsburgh, will create a site-specific tape drawing on the front window glass of the gallery.

ATOM space is an ongoing project of Hartford artists David Borawski and Anne Cubberly. Inspired last year by an empty bank ATM lobby at the corner of Trumbull and Pearl streets, Borawski and Cubberly secured the use of the space to mount unique installations that were viewed through the surrounding glass windows. Only one exhibition was mounted before the space was leased, putting ATOM space on hold.

ATOM space is located in the former Chinatown Jewelry at 55 Pratt Street in downtown Hartford. Use of the storefront was generously provided by Jonathan Cohen of Cohen Realty, and presented with the support of Real Art Ways. Mr. Cohen has been working to reinvigorate the downtown area, and saw the ATOM space project as interesting venture to attract visitors to Hartford in general, and Pratt Street in particular.

In the late 90’s, David Borawski mounted five pop-up exhibitions in and around Hartford, and curated three exhibitions for Real Art Ways.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2012

"Tilted Plane" opens at City Gallery in New Haven Sunday afternoon

City Gallery
994 State St., New Haven, (203) 782-2489  
Phyllis Crowley & Nancy Eisenfeld: Tilted Plane
May 3—27, 2012.
Opening Reception: Sun., May 6, 3—6 p.m.

Press release

City Gallery presents Tilted Plane, a show of photographs by Phyllis Crowley and paintings and collages by Nancy Eisenfeld that explores the land from above. These works address the configurations of landforms across America and parts of Asia. Viewed from the air, the earth is seen as flat. Crossroads look like arteries; clouds cast shadows on mountains and lakes, and farms are made up of crop circles and rectangles. Abstract patterns and textures are prominent. These microcosms are surprising and curious when seen from a distant point of view.

Tilted Plane will be on view May 3—27, with an opening reception Sun., May 6, from 3—6 p.m.