Dedicated to covering the visual arts community in Connecticut.

Monday, June 25, 2012

UPDATED: Jodiann Strmiska drawings on view at Outer Gallery at West Cove studios

Outer Gallery at West Cove Studios
30 Elm St., West Haven, (203) 627-8030
Big and Small: Drawings by Jodiann Strmiska
Through July 14, 2012.

Press release

(UPDATE, Wed., June 27. When I first posted this on Monday, I mistakenly wrote in the title that it would include soft sculptures by Jodiann Strmiska. In fact, this is a show of just drawings although many of the drawings reference her soft sculptures as their subject. HH)

(Note from Hank: I erred in thinking that the opening for this show is this coming Saturday. In fact, the opening for Jodiann Strmiska's drawings show was this past Saturday, concurrent with the exhibition Marking Time, on view in the A-Space Gallery. Strmiska's show will be on view through July 14.)

Jodian Strmiska's recent work encompasses drawing, soft-sculpture and cut-paper installation.

Strmiska's artist statement:
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 vs. '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.'

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Showing of drawings and texts opens Saturday at Institute Library

The Institute Library
847 Chapel St., New Haven, (203) 562-5045
Lined Up: Drawings and Texts
June 30—July 28, 2012.
Greeting of the Artists: Sat., June 30, Noon—2 p.m.

Press release

Curated by Stephen Vincent Kobasa, Lined Up opens this Saturday in the gallery at Institute Library on Chapel Street.

The participating artists are: Ethan Boisvert (Web), Emilia Dubicki (Web), Larissa Hall (Web), Kevin Harty, Jilaine Jones (Web), Nathan Lewis (Web), Willard Lustenader (Web), Larry Morelli (see image, Web), Tim Nikiforuk (Web), John O'Donnell (Web), Jeff Slomba (Web), Thomas Stavovy (Web), Jodiann Strimiska (Web) and Barry Svigals (Web).

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

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Saturday artists' reception at Behnke Doherty Gallery in Washington Depot

The Behnke Doherty Gallery
6 Green Hill Rd., Washington Depot, (860) 868-1655
The Space Between: Paintings and Works on Paper by Charles Cajori, Bronzes and Wood Sculpture by Tom Doyle
June 29—Aug. 5, 2012.
Artists' Reception: Sat., June 30, 4—7 p.m.

Press release

The Behnke Doherty Gallery is pleased to announce its upcoming exhibition: The Space Between, featuring internationally acclaimed artists Charles Cajori and Tom Doyle. The exhibition will run from June 29 through August 5. There is an artist reception on Sat., June 30, from 4—7 p.m.

This exhibition unites two old friends, painter Charles Cajori and sculptor Tom Doyle. Cajori was a founding member of the Tanager Gallery and an associate of the 10th Street School. The works represented here span more than fifty years, from the early 1950’s through 2006, and include oil paintings, drawings, mixed media works and monotypes. Doyle’s signature monumental wood sculptures are here rendered in small bronzes.

Cajori’s paintings represent a gestural response to reality. Long fascinated with the female body, his figures seem to float in space, hovering effervescently between configuration and chaos. They are so much a part of the space they exist in as to be inseparable from it. The viewer’s eye perceives one image, only to have it dissolve and reassert itself into something completely different. Permanence is transitory, infusing his works with immense energy. Flux and resolution amicably co-exist.

The dialogue between space, process and figure is just as fresh and vital today as it was when he first began its exploration in the late 1940’s. Over the last sixty years, he has proven himself to be at once a brilliant draftsman and an extraordinary colorist. Line and color constitute the means through which Cajori’s figures transform themselves. While his vision has evolved and deepened, the core of what he is seeking has remained constant.

For Cajori, the space between his figures is as important as the delineation of the figures themselves. This imbues his paintings with tension and vitality, expressed in a unique worldview. In his own words, he aims to capture ‘the point just before something happens”. While his works are thoroughly a part of Abstract Expressionism, they remain ultimately grounded by the figure.

Tom Doyle’s goal is to cantilever form into space, allowing mass to "float and defy gravity." Balanced on his signature three points, his works share with Cajori both an abstract expressionist sensibility and a fascination with negative space. To look at one of his pieces is to marvel at how an object exists in its surroundings and how the atmosphere itself is unalterably transformed by its presence.

Doyle began his career in the 1960’s and has focused his energies on dynamic sculpture carved from massive beams of cherry, oak and sassafras. His works simultaneously pay homage to the relative weights of the woods they are made from and belie that weight as they cantilever into thin air. They transform gesture into three-dimensional object, in the process integrating weight, balance and lyricism. His small bronzes meticulously cast from actual wood and colored to identify the underlying species capture all of their larger cousin’s grace, elegance and force.

The aesthetic roots of both artists lie with the Abstract Expressionists. Throughout their long careers, both have focused on the energy and tension created when a solid object—figure in one case, solid mass in the other—is placed into context. Each is ultimately concerned with the space that lies between. In two dimensions and three, these friends have explored the possibilities that spring from the ensuing dynamism for a combined 100 years. Seeing their work together reveals just how complex that journey has been, and how infinite are its possibilities.

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Monday, June 18, 2012

"Marking Time" show to open at A-Space Gallery in West Haven on Saturday

A-Space Gallery at West Cove Studios
30 Elm St., West Haven, (203) 627-8030
Marking Time: Works by Alexander Harding and Fritz Horstman
June 23—July 14, 2012.
Greeting of the Artists: Sat., June 23, 5:30—8 p.m.

Press release

A-Space Gallery at West Cove Studios presents Marking Time, an exhibition of work by Alexander Harding (Web) and Fritz Horstman (Web). The show will be on view from June 23 through July 14.

In Marking Time Alexander Harding (top image) and Fritz Horstman (bottom image) have created parallel series of photographs documenting the subtle changes in atmosphere, climate, weather, and light over set periods. Harding's twenty-five photographs record a single patch of sky over twenty-four hours, as it shifts through subtle gradations from the black of night, to blue and back to black.

Horstman's frieze of over a hundred photos were taken over the course of a year from five feet below the surface of a pond in Bethany, CT, looking up towards the sky. He used an eight-foot wooden device, upon which he mounted his underwater camera, to take these photos. The wooden device is also on display.

Both artists are interested in the myriad phenomena of the material of light, and in finding methods to track its often-unnoticed performances. Harding also displays work from a related photo series, and Horstman includes other wooden observation sculptures.

There will be a greeting of the artists at the opening on Sat., June 23, from 5:30—8 p.m.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Friday evening opening event at The Lot in New Haven

50 Orange St, New Haven, (203) 772-2709
Leeza Meksin: Flossing the Lot at The Lot, located in the outdoor park space at 812 Chapel St.
June 15—Sept. 15, 2012.
Opening: Fri., June 15, 5—8 p.m., with a musical performance by Mira Stroika.

Artspace press release

Interdisciplinary artist Leeza Meksin installs Flossing the Lot, a new site-specific outdoor installation, and the last in a series of public works all employing custom-designed, printed spandex of huge metallic gold chains on a gleaming white background. The chain link pattern symbolizes many—at times contradictory—ideas such as community building, wealth, adornment, incarceration and continuity. When placed in a new geographic context, the print transforms itself and the location, creating a playful urban space for new connections, associations and encounters.

The New Haven installation will be comprised of large abstract forms, stretching across the surrounding walls of The Lot, referencing New Haven's Historic Corset Factory as well as jewelry displays, ceremonial garb, and bondage. The billowing spandex banners will be “chained” to the exterior walls of The Lot, and weighed down with sand bags in flashy cozies. The gold and brightly colored "balls" will evoke the ways bags are displayed in stores, as well as the more literal "ball & chain" of imprisonment. The gold link motif re-used at the busy corner of Orange and Chapel St. will fit almost seamlessly into the lively intersection flanked by businesses and stores ranging from Sassy to thrift and dollar stores.

Meksin’s personal history of migration and cultural dysphoria made her keenly aware of the magical potential of carnival and role-reversal in creating a forum for meaningful interactions between members of any community. As a gay woman and an immigrant, Meksin dresses up buildings and public spaces in entertaining and voluptuous outfits, implementing drag as a symbol of marginalized cultures, marked with struggle, transformation and ostentatiousness. The masquerade aesthetic of Drag embodies the playful and irreverent spirit of Meksin’s public art works.

Meksin’s previous public art installations with the chain motif included House Coat in 2011 where she transformed a quaint, two-story row house on an inner-city street of St. Louis, MO by giving it a new spandex outfit; and Sad Side of the Street, an installation in the former NY Public Library, the Donnell, across the street from the MOMA that took place before the building’s demolition. With the final installment in New Haven, Meksin explores how "Flossing," "Fabulousness," "Drag," and "Bling" in marginalized communities relate to the history of bondage, slavery and spiritual freedom.

Meksin’s installations invite people to explore urban spaces in new and playful ways. A videographer will be present during the installation and opening party to record the neighborhood’s impressions and opinions. People are invited to stop by during the installation process (June 12-15) to ask questions, discuss the project, and provide feedback which will become part of the project itself. The opening night will feature a performance by the stunning cabaret singer Mira Stroika, and visitors are invited to don a costume in exchange for a free drink. The event will be free and open to the public.


Elizaveta (Leeza) Meksin is a Brooklyn-based interdisciplinary artist who makes paintings, installations, public art and multiples. Born and raised in the Soviet Union, Leeza immigrated to the United States in 1989. She received a BA’99 in Comparative Literature and MA'00 in the Humanities, both from the University of Chicago; a BFA'05 from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a MFA'07 in Painting from the Yale School of Art. Meksin, recipient of the Robert Schoelkopf Fellowship and the Soros Foundation Grant, has exhibited her work in numerous venues throughout the United States, and has been teaching at Tyler School of Art since 2007. Currently, Meksin is an artist-in-residence at Chashama’s Brooklyn Army Terminal, and holds a Visiting Faculty position at Ohio State University where she will be mounting a solo show of recent work in August, 2012.

Chanteuse-songwriter Mira Stroika is a fixture in New York's neo-cabaret and indie music scene. Armed with a flirtatious wit, a riveting voice, and a soulfulness one normally associates with performers of yesteryears, Stroika offers up jaw-dropping interpretations of the classics and original and infectious pop songwriting on subjects as far ranging as Reality TV, UFO's and mortality. A classically trained vocalist, pianist, composer and accordionist, Stroika's highly theatrical performances fuse Western pop sensibilities with Eastern European folk, and French and German cabaret influences. The daughter of immigrants, Stroika graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Yale University and holds a masters from Tisch in interactive media and performance.

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Monday, June 11, 2012

Gallery reception and talk Sunday at PMW Gallery in Stamford

PMW Gallery
530 Roxbury Rd., Stamford, (203) 322-5427
Anne Seelbach: Troubled Waters
Through July 1, 2012.
Artist's Walk & Talk: Sun., June 17, noon.

Press release

There will be a reception and Walk and Talk at Anne Seelbach's Troubled Waters exhibition at the PMW Gallery in Stamford at noon on Sun., June 17. Seelbach will talk a bit about her paintings and cut-outs and the concerns that inspire them. The work is about our waters—bays, ocean, lakes and streams—and the effects of pollution on fish and the marine environment. Troubled Waters will be on view through July 1.

Anne Seelbach's Artist Statement:
My work addresses the pollution that is in many of our water systems. Toxic chemicals and industrial waste contaminate streams, lakes, bays and oceans. The “Troubled Waters” paintings reflect a conflict between the laws of nature and artificial attempts to control the environment. Gaskets and other mechanical shapes are incorporated into the paintings, representing human presence and industrial waste. Debris crowds the waters. Fish mutate into imaginary forms. A change is taking place as nature reacts to this disruption.

I am interested in the tension between representation and abstraction; perspective drawing versus free-form washes and geometric shapes versus atmospheric color fields. I use these oppositions to create a tension between three-dimensional illusion and a flattening of space. Gestural brushwork and rich colors are dominant. Layered paint creates subtle colors and textures.

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