Dedicated to covering the visual arts community in Connecticut.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Saturday evening opening for photo show at Mercurial Gallery in Danbury

The Mercurial Gallery
11 Library Pl., Danbury, (203) 417-2215
Sept. 15—Oct. 26, 2012.
Opening Reception: Sat., Sept. 22, 5—7 p.m.
Musical Performance by Lys Guillorn Sat., Oct. 20, 7 p.m.

Press release from Mercurial Gallery

The Mercurial Gallery in Danbury, Connecticut will be exhibiting Still…, a photography exhibition featuring Catherine Vanaria, Mark Savoia, and Lys Guillorn from Sept. 15 to Oct. 26 with an opening reception taking place on Sat., Sept. 22 from 5—7 p.m.  Vanaria and Savoia, a married couple who live in New Fairfield, are co-owners of Still River Editions and Connecticut Photographics, a studio and gallery specializing in fine art digital printing and traditional black and white film processing, and they are currently celebrating their 25th year in business.  Guillorn, who lived above The Mercurial from 2001 to 2009, has been working with Vanaria and Savoia at Still River Editions since 1998. 

Vanaria, a professor of photography at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury and volunteer archives photographer at the Danbury Museum & Historical Society, has three pairs of large black and white prints on display at The Mercurial—intimate portraits of a mother and daughter, a mother and son, and two brothers, all taken with a 1930s era 8x10 large format camera and lens.

'This body is a departure from my original portrait work," writes Vanaria in her artist statement.  "My traditional method demanded sharp focused, environmental locations mixing both available and strobe light."

"I make the eyes the most important point in each frame, letting other sections fall out of focus. I believe that the eyes are our truth-meters.  They show our secrets, desires, wants and needs even if every other part of the face is displaying the opposite."

Vanaria says she has been attracted to photographing the human face for 30 years.  She is also well-known for her series "The Boston Years," which captures performances by bands such as the Talking Heads, Billy Idol, Joan Jett and Anthrax from their heyday in the late 70s and early 80s.  "The Boston Years" is also available in book form on Vanaria's website.

Savoia, a master digital printmaker at Still River Editions, has been building his portfolio of smart and humorous photographs of "tongue-in-cheek" glimpses of New England Americana for the past six years. This body of work features almost impossibly ironic images where pops of color contrast with the familiar green-gray colors of the Northeast. Works such as "Park Your Cow Here" and "Wheel Chair Starting Line" are on view at The Mercurial.

"I am constantly looking for evidence that below the surface something is not quite right in this country," Savoia writes in his artist statement. "Through the camera's selective view, I juxtapose what is considered progress in our throwaway society against an increasing lack of taste. I am not attempting two-dimensional slapstick, rather satire laced with a few Freudian slips."

Savoia, who received an arts grant from the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism in 2010, has shown his work throughout the country and has pieces in permanent collections in the United States and Japan.

Guillorn is an artist of many kinds; in addition to her photography work, she is an avant-folk singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist with three solo recordings under her belt.  She will be performing at The Mercurial prior at the closing of 'Still…' on Sat., Oct. 20 at 7 p.m.

Guillorn's first group of black and white photographs from her "Route 34 Series" is on display at The Mercurial, featuring abstract triple exposures and seemingly ancient industrial landscapes, each captured with her plastic camera during her Route 34 commute between Shelton and Danbury.

"When I got married and moved to Shelton a few years ago, I was a little worried about the commute," writes Guillorn in her artist statement.  "It turns out to be a beautiful drive. I have trod Route 34 in every type of weather, and never find it boring. I wind along the Housatonic River and watch the light change every day."

Guillorn has shown work ranging from photography to sculpture throughout Connecticut and is also featured in Brief Monuments, a group photography show at the Orison Gallery in Essex, through October. 

The opening reception for Still… will include an artist meet and greet, food, and refreshments.  An accompanying music performance by featured artist Lys Guillorn will take place at the gallery on Sat., Oct. 20, at 7 p.m.

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Gordon Skinner show opens at Da Silva Gallery in New Haven Thursday

Da Silva Gallery
899 Whalley Ave., New Haven, (203) 387-2539
Hard Works: The Artwork of Gordon Skinner
Sept. 20—Oct. 19, 2012.
Opening reception: Thurs., Sept. 20, 6—9 p.m.

Press release from Da Silva Gallery

Artist Gordon Skinner aptly describes his artwork as “Integrity Art”—“Art that is real, honest, and promotes creative consistency.” His solo show at the Da Silva Gallery in New Haven, Hard Works: The Artwork of Gordon Skinner, runs from Sept. 20 to Oct. 19. The title, a double entendre of sorts, describes Skinner’s collection of paintings comprised primarily of organic portraits that are given expression through the use of bold color, spontaneous brushwork, and a world of hard-edged personal history. In the mask-like visages that Skinner paints, lie revelations that are both personal and universal. They’re reflections that confront some of the hard realities and pressing issues that exist all around us - but do not always press us to action.
As an artist, Skinner’s work is also reminiscent of a tradition and movement known as “Blues Impulse”. This tradition follows a long list of artists of various mediums who have transformed their extenuating circumstances and hardships into extraordinary levels of visual content and artistic expression. This tradition is also highlighted in the personal expression of people who overcome adversity and express their stories through the oral tradition and the resilience in which they live their lives.

Hard Works also touches on the work ethic required of the artist in creating a body of quality work, which in Skinner’s case, means working three jobs while simultaneously carving out time to paint. The result is not only an honest expression of an artist painting the world as he sees it, but also, by example encouraging others to work hard in pursuit of their life’s passions. In 2012 alone, Skinner has managed to generate the attention of the press surrounding his art. Having been featured as a guest on television programs CT Style and Better CT, featured articles by Hearst Publication and The New Haven Independent, having his work featured in The New York Times as well as being the subject of a final thesis paper for a Yale student.

Skinner’s work has been exhibited in contemporary art galleries in CT, such as City Lights Gallery, Bridgeport, as well as NYC’s international annual Outsider Art Fair in Times Square, and in a solo show in January in the Azoth Gallery at the New Haven Public Library. In addition to being the subject of a documentary by Take Notice Productions about his art, his paintings were also featured in a magazine photo shoot with celebrity fashion designers Coco and Breezy.

At the exhibition, viewers can expect to see paintings in a variety of mediums, on both canvas and wood. Debuting in this show will be an introduction of a several family members in a series Skinner calls “The Gohar Tribe.” The series is a fictionalized family of individual portraits that are similar in aesthetic. The characters are all unique in their own right and display their own personal freedom of expression in their individuality.

An opening reception with the artist will be held on Thurs., Sept. 20, at the Da Silva Gallery from 6—9 p.m.

The exhibition will be on display at the gallery until Oct. 19.

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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Two openings Thursday during Real Art Ways' "Creative Cocktail Hour"--Sharon L. Butler & Zachary Fabri

Real Art Ways
56 Arbor St., Hartford, (860) 232-1006
Sharon Butler: Things Gone Wrong
Zachary Fabri: Arrival; Departure
Sept. 20—Nov. 11, 2012.
Opening reception during Creative Cocktail Hour: Thurs., Sept. 20, 6—8 p.m. Admission is $10/$5 Real Art Ways members.

Press release from Real Art Ways

Real Art Ways monthly Creative Cocktail Hour is packed with activity on Thurs., Sept. 20, 2012. The event, which runs from 6-10 p.m., marks the opening of two new artist installations and features entertainment by guest musicians Rupa and the April Fishes. The opening reception for the two shows will run from 6—8 p.m. Admission is $10 or $5 for Real Art Ways members.

Sharon Butler has received numerous grants, awards and residencies, including a Pollock Krasner Foundation grant. Butler maintains the award-winning art blog Two Coats of Paint, and is a contributing writer at The Brooklyn Rail. She has blogged at Hyperallergic, The Huffington Post and Art21.

Butler's work is rooted in the world nearby—specifically, the idiosyncratic HVAC structures, cement-mixing machines, jerry-built sheds, and improvised building additions that surround her Bushwick studio. A minimalist sensibility resists serial rigor and jettisons the notion that you can get everything right. Her exhibition Things Gone Wrong is based on her belief that the most interesting stories are imperfect.

Zachary Fabri's work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally. He recently completed residencies in Belo Horizonte, Brazil and at LMCC in New York, NY. He was recently awarded a Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art, and is a 2012 recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship for interdisciplinary work.

Fabri's installation uses Toni Morrison's novel The Song of Solomon as the foundation for narrative content and as the physical material used in the work. The title of the work references mechanical arrival/departure "split-flap" boards that were common in train stations, but are now obsolete. Arrival; Departure explores the historical journey of Black folks, their present situation and the narrative of what is to come.

Musical guests Rupa and the April Fishes are five bandmates from around the world, whose music is an eclectic convergence of musical and linguistic global traditions. Their wealth of influences creates unpredictable, unprecedented sounds, and their upcoming album BUILD speaks to musical rebellion and solidarity in an age of global upheaval and pro-democracy uprisings.

Creative Cocktail Hour takes place on the third Thursday of every month at Real Art Ways.

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"Reintegrate": Arts Council of Greater New Haven call for proposals from artists and scientists

Arts Council of Greater New Haven
70 Audubon St., 2nd floor, New Haven, (203) 772-2788
Request for Proposal from artists and scientists
Proposal deadline: Mon., Oct. 15, 2012

Press release from the Arts Council of Greater New Haven

New Haven is a region that is rich is creativity, both in the arts and the sciences. Wanting to encourage exciting possibilities of collaborations, the Arts Council, with support from the State of Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development/Connecticut Office of the Arts, is pleased to announce Reintegrate, an initiative that will foster relationships and dialog between the scientific and artistic communities in the region.

Art and science, despite differences in outcomes, at their very core, engage in experimentation and innovation. Working together, artists and scientists have made stunning discoveries.

The Reintegrate Request for Proposal solicits artists and scientists to form teams that will work together on individual projects of their choosing for a period of seven months (November 2012-May 2013). The Arts Council and a panel of experts will choose 6-7 teams to receive grants of $10,000 each to complete their projects.

To qualify, teams must be made of two or more members, representing both artists and scientists. At least half of the team must be Connecticut based, preferably in the Greater New Haven region. Artists working in all forms of art are to be considered, from dance and music to sculpture and painting. In the same vein, scientists representing any field of research are encouraged to apply.

Projects must be collaborative and incorporate an active exchange of ideas and methodologies. We hope to find out how the arts can push science and how science can push the arts in real, tangible ways.

The purpose of Reintegrate is to encourage co-mingling of disciplines and cross-fertilization of ideas and methods. Projects should move forward based on the artists and scientists within a team working together, changing and shifting the trajectory of the process and even the outcome based on these interactions. In this way, the end results will be integrative rather than reactionary. Also, the outcomes must be tangible, as teams will be expected to present their projects to the public.

Proposals can be sent directly to the Arts Council of Greater New Haven at 70 Audubon Street, New Haven, 06511, (Attn: Reintegrate Proposal Committee) or emailed to The deadline for submitting a proposal is Monday, October 15, 2012. The selected teams will be announced on Friday, November 2, 2012.

For the complete RFP and more information, including guidelines, project expectations and a tentative schedule, please visit the homepage of our website,, under “What’s New” to download the RFP, or call 203-772-2788.


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Julie Fraenkel exhibit opens Tuesday in Windsor at Loomis Chafee School

Mercy Gallery at Loomis Chafee School
4 Batchelder Rd., Windsor, (860) 687-6030
Julie Fraenkel: Human/Nature
Sept. 18—Oct. 24, 2012.
Artists' reception: Tues., Sept. 18, 6:45–8:45 p.m.

Press release

New Haven-based artist Julie Fraenkel brings her “poetic mixed media figures” to the Sue and Eugene Mercy Jr. Gallery located in the Richmond Art Center on the campus of The Loomis Chaffee School from Sept. 18 through Oct. 24.

Fraenkel has an art studio at Erector Square in New Haven, where she works in drawing, mixed media, sculpture and encaustics. She has exhibited her work in galleries including the John Slade Ely House and Kehler Liddell Gallery in New Haven, the Bachelier-Cardonsky Gallery in Kent and the Keyes Gallery in Branford. She is a regular participant in New Haven City-Wide Open Studios. Many of her works are held in private collections.

“My work is an allegory,” states Fraenkel. “I employ the human figure—often archetypal human forms, especially those that conjure myth—and our environment to create an extended metaphor. Together they form a modern narrative that reflects on who we are, our beauty and savagery and vulnerability, and our dual place in the world, within as well as apart from nature. I seek to strip the ephemeral human experience down to some sort of essence, exposing the internal to become visibly external, observing the mysteries of our daily existence and revealing the physical embodiment of psychological states.”

There will be an opening reception on Tues., Sept. 18, from 6:45–8:45 p.m. The public is invited to attend the opening reception and view the exhibitions during regular gallery hours. The Sue and Eugene Mercy, Jr. Gallery is located in the Richmond Art Center on the campus of The Loomis Chaffee School in Windsor, Connecticut. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 7:30– 9 p.m. and Sunday afternoon from 1– 4 p.m. There is no admission charge.

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"Five Course Meal" exhibit artists' reception Tuesday at Katalina's in New Haven

Katalina's Cupcake Shop
74 Whitney Ave., New Haven, (203) 891-7998
Five Course Meal
Through Nov. 2, 2012.
Artists' reception: Tues., Sept. 18, 5—7 p.m.

Press release

The Arts Council of Greater New Haven presents Five Course Meal, an exhibition of works by Connecticut artists Joan Fitzsimmons, Laura Barr, Alexis Neider, Barbara Marks, and Lisa Hess Hesselgrave.

The exhibition will take place at Katalina’s cupcake shop at 74 Whitney Avenue, New Haven, and will be on display from Sept. 10—Nov. 2, 2012. Katalina’s is open to the public during business hours, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

An artists’ reception is scheduled for Tues., Sept. 18, from 5—7 p.m. The public is invited to attend. Refreshments and light appetizers will be served, including cupcakes, of course!

The exhibit will feature artwork that revolves around the theme of food, including colorful and playful paintings of indulgent breakfasts and black and white photographs of emptied glasses. The exhibition, curated by our Director of Artistic Services & Programs, Debbie Hesse, brings together all the abundance and the lack that the theme summons within all of us, roughly three times a day.

This exhibition will also complement the Arts Paper’s September issue “The Art of Food,” which will highlight local culinary talent, delve into international eating trends, discuss food documentaries, and goes behind-the-scenes in the article “The Ballet of Service.”

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