Dedicated to covering the visual arts community in Connecticut.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Friday night opening of drawing show at Reynolds Fine Art in New Haven

Reynolds Fine Art
96 Orange St., New Haven, (203) 498-2200
The Line
Nov. 2—Dec. 1, 2012.
Opening Reception: Fri., Nov. 2, 5—8 p.m.

Press release from Reynolds Fine Art

Reynolds Fine Art is pleased to present The Line, an exhibition that examines the purpose and life of drawing in relation to art making. This group exhibition will feature the work of twelve different national artists whose use of the medium in this context broadens the boundaries typically associated with its name.
Injoo Whang: "Yellow Infinity"

Ranging from studies to full completion, all pieces are works of art. From realist to abstract expressionist, these drawings are evidence of the flexibility and transformative nature of drawing. Whether it be through the use of graphite, ink, metal point, pastel, or even embroidered thread, each artist in this exhibition has offered their interpretation of The Line in their own way.

The artists featured in this exhibition are Dennis Angel, Anna Held Audette, Cathi Bosco, Jane Catlin, Beverly Gardner, Robert Reynolds, Geoff Silvis, Rick Stevens, Daphne Taylor, Sandra Vlock, Susan Weinreich, and Injoo Whang.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A note on posting

Over the next week I will be trying to catch up on a backlog of posting—about CWOS, some since closed shows and upcoming shows.

After the first CWOS weekend I came down with a knockout cold that kept me home for the Erector Square weekend. The cold was coupled with a lower back sprain aggravated by arthritis—it's tough getting old—that made it extremely painful (bordering on impossible) to sit in the position necessary to write. Now, fortunately, the cold is gone and the back pain has ebbed sufficiently to tempt re-aggravating it by writing.

My apologies to those whose show openings did not get advance notice on the blog due to these circumstances. And I'm sorry that I missed out on the always interesting Open Studios weekend at Erector Square.

Labels: ,

Monday, October 15, 2012

CWOS, Weekend 1, Sunday, two visits

City-Wide Open Studios
50 Orange St, New Haven, (203) 772-2709
City-Wide Open Studios 2012
Through Oct. 21, 2012.
Weekend 1 Report: Sunday

Allan Greenier: "Bicycle"
Day job work commitments last Sunday limited the amount of visits I was able to make. I stop in to one of the ArLow residences in Westville, visiting first with Allan Greenier. Greenier has a room in which to show examples of both his block prints—similar to woodcuts but using a far less expensive material manufactured for countertops—and manipulated photographs.

Greenier's prints have a strong graphic quality and also something of a subversive imagination. In the 1970's and 1980's, Greenier was active in the underground mini commix scene. (Examples of his work can be found in the anthology Newave! The Underground Mini Comix of the 1980's.)

I am struck by Greenier's photographs. Manipulated in Adobe Photoshop, the images have a pulsating, psychedelic intensity.


Ann Oberkirch, who is 68, has only been painting for two years. It is her first CWOS and she isn't wholly comfortable with the experience of having some visitors walk into the room where she is showing her paintings (oil painting and watercolors, often augmented with pieces of glittery fabric or other objects), glance around, and walk out.

Oberkirch's work is characterized by the naïve approach to perspective common among folk artists. She tells me, "I would be an outsider artist except I'm a doctor, so I'm too much of an insider." (Oberkirch is a psychiatrist.)

Ann Oberkirch: Untitled"

Oberkirch says she works spontaneously. One work started with a painting of a lion—referring to a photograph—and orangutans. She then added naked humans and clothed humans. The composition was filled up with images of birds, flowers and leaves. But it's not really Edenic. Oberkirch draped a pair of small chains over the painted image of the lion, suggesting the powerful creature is in a zoo, a prison.

"The people were the villains but you can't really tell. They don't look like villains," she says.

"The whole thing is a giggle. I do such morose work all day," says Oberkirch. "To start painting at age 66 without ever having doodled—where does this come from?."

Labels: , , , , , ,

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Artists' reception for two shows on Sunday at Kehler Liddell Gallery

Kehler Liddell Gallery
873 Whalley Ave., New Haven, (203) 389-9555
Amy Browning: Sounding the Silence
Joseph Saccio: Memory and Transformation
Oct. 11—Nov. 11, 2012.
Opening Reception: Sun., Oct. 14, 3—6 p.m.

Press release from Kehler Liddell Gallery

Two shows open this week at Kehler Liddell Gallery in Westville and will run through Nov. 11, 2012. There will be an artists' reception for both shows on Sun., Oct. 14, from 3—6 p.m.

Amy Browning: Sounding the Silence

Amy Browning: "Lighting the Lamp"

Serious injuries, sustained in an automobile accident last year, forced Amy Browning to consider how she paints and what she paints. No longer could the artist stand for hours inches away from the wall or easel; she needed to develop a new approach.

Light dawned, and she contemplated the floor. It became her support. Browning stretched canvases on the floor and went to work, slowly moving over the surface with brush, bottle, and plastic utensils—anything she could lay my hands on. Her preferred stance was hovering over the artwork at a height of two or three feet and constantly circling. The mystery appeared, disappeared, re-appeared, and after much struggle and good fortune revealed its hidden reality.

Amy Browning’s new work is an exhilarating revelation of order within disorder. Pre-ordained rules yield to the mysterious needs of the canvas. What emerged is what was already there before she began—silence.

Joe Saccio: Memory and Transformation

The title and theme for Joe Saccio’s exhibit, Memory and Transformation, stems from his discovery when working on a four foot by twenty-foot section of a hollow black oak tree trunk. Saccio divided the old hollow trunk into three six foot sections and split each vertically to create three triptychs, or three open books revealing the old tree’s inner life and history.

The footprint for each six-foot high book section is seven feet wide by three feet in diameter. The inner, concave surfaces and the outer, convex bark surfaces are transformed in various ways to suggest new, strange growth and life in a tree that refuses to die.

Joseph Saccio: "Mouth of Medusa," detail

Gallery visitors can actually walk into the inner space of the tree and imagine the force and struggle of living, dying and finally regeneration into another form. Joe Saccio has created another large wall sculpture that is an eight feet high variation of the Medusa. In this case the serpents emerge from her mouth and not her hair.

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Everybody knows this is (almost) nowhere

The Grove
71 Orange St., New Haven, (203) 654-9675
David Ottenstein: Almost Nowhere
Through Nov. 9, 2012.

I was down in the Ninth Square for City-Wide Open Studios so I stopped by The Grove to see David Ottenstein's photo show, Almost Nowhere, at the urging of Barbara Hawes. I was glad I did.

Mostly black and white images, it is a mix of Western landscapes—arid expanses of the Southwest—and industrial landscapes and a couple of interiors. The bulk of the work was shot in the past year and a half.

There is a deeply considered austereness to the images, a contemplative silence even in such a picture as the C-print "Kitchen and Bathroom, IA." An interior shot, it depicts a rundown room in the foreground colored in yellows and oranges and a door opening into a bathroom with pink walls.

"Picnic Table, White Sands, NM" ©David Ottenstein
One striking image, "Picnic Table, White Sands, NM," depicts a curved sun shelter—corrugated with vertical lines—for a picnic table at White Sands National Monument. Ottenstein, who was gallery-sitting at The Grove for the day, tells me he is "fascinated by the form and offness of these things." It evokes a bus stop but there wouldn't be a bus stop in this expanse of dunes.

"What strikes me is the immediacy of the form, shape and texture," says Ottenstein. There is a compelling contrast between the precise lines and curves of the sun shelter and the soft undulations of the surrounding landscape.

Ottenstein has spent a lot of time in national parks. He says he is "intrigued by the presence of people doing what they're supposed to do there"—such as looking and taking pictures—and "how we design and structure [these] places set aside to preserve natural beauty."

"Whiting Bros, NM" ©David Ottenstein
"Whiting Bros., NM" is just a color photo of a couple of crumbling old highway signs in a western expanse. But the image packs an emotional punch out of proportion to its subject matter. Part of it is the golden quality of the afternoon light when it was shot. But more than that, I think, is sense of distance it conveys, both geographic and temporal.

Ottenstein tells me the concept of "almost nowhere" refers to solitude and quiet.

"I'm looking for remoteness. When I'm on the road for weeks at a time, I'm alone, by myself," he says, whether it's because he needs to work that way or because he's seeking out these kinds of images.

"I just came back a few weeks ago from a very different trip," says Ottenstein. Rather than pack his camera out to the Midwest or west, he sojourned down south to Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia.

"It was frustrating. I didn't find the 'almost nowhere.' It was disconcerting how far I thought I was from the smallest towns and I went around a bend and there was big new house like you might see in Orange," says Ottenstein. "It was a good trip but I think I'm sticking with the west and midwest."

Labels: , , ,

CWOS 2012, Weekend 1, Saturday

City-Wide Open Studios
50 Orange St, New Haven, (203) 772-2709
City-Wide Open Studios 2012
Through Oct. 21, 2012.
Weekend 1 Report: Saturday

My first stop on Saturday is at the home studio in Hamden of Kevin and Kim Van Aelst. Kim (née Mikenis) and Kevin met while participating in a CWOS bike tour several years ago; they are expecting their first child in November.

Kim Van Aelst paints, collages, makes puppets and creates her own short videos. One recent large collage, "Construction Will Be Completed in 9 Months," was inspired both by her pregnancy and the myriad hassles of having the studio built in their backyard.

"I made this while they were doing the foundation and the drilling," Kim tells me. She locked herself in the bedroom with the air conditioning on during one heat wave, trying to avoid the smell of epoxy. Kim found suitable images on the Internet—about 17 different images of an excavator, 10 different pictures of a hurricane—that she cut up into different pieces and rearranged to create her composition. "And a few images of 'the sky is clearing' and the end will be in sight—the baby will be here, the studio will be done" and their backyard will be on the mend.

Kim Van Aelst with "Construction Will Be Completed in 9 Months":

Kevin, a photographer, specializes in images that are elaborate visual puns. Some of his recent work is inspired by impending fatherhood. In one image, an egg is substituted for the bulb of a light bulb. The egg, which lies on its side, has a hairline crack. Kevin rigged up the egg so small lights inside it cause it appear that the egg itself is splitting open and emitting its own light. Another image deals with the disjunction he feels between his upcoming role as a father and the lingering self-image as not yet an "adult"—a suit jacket, white shirt and tie folded into the shape of a paper airplane.

Kevin Van Aelst showing a book with an image of his wife Kim with the part in her in the shape of a heartbeat:


At the Eli Whitney Barn, I stop in to see sculptor Susan Clinard. A dozen or so of Clinard's small sculptures of refugees in boats are arranged for sale on a table in her studio:

In the main section of the barn, artist Alexis Brown is showing her exceptional drawings, paintings and prints of animals. Brown is burnishing her lithographic chops. But because lithograph stones are prohibitively expensive, Brown is using a pronto plate, an inexpensive plastic plate that can approximate the feel of lithography.

On the left, an Alexis Brown pronto plate lithograph of a tiger and, on the right, a sketchbook drawing of the same image in watercolor, pencil and gesso:


This is Leslie Carmin's first time participating in Open Studios. Carmin opened the small studio built behind her home in the east Rock section of New Haven. an illustrator with a vivid and outré imagination, Carmin often spins her pencil-drawn images from visual metaphors.

Below, Carmin's drawing "Cancer." She drew the image of her mother when her mother was dying of cancer, referring both to the astrological sign and the way her mother's body was rebelling against itself, becoming something foreign and ultimately fatal:


At 39 Church Street, Jerry Saladyga is showing his series of paintings and drawings contemplating the 1994 Rwandan genocide, "100 Days in Eden." (Concurrently, a show of Saladyga's From early April to mid-July of 1994, Hutu militias organized by the government and spurred on by inflammatory propaganda from the mass media, primarily radio, killed approximately 800,000 members of the Tutsi ethnic minority. As Saladyga tells me, "Outside of a few people, nobody did anything about it or tried to stop it."

Pointing to the first painting in the series, Saladyga tells me how he found his subject. He had painted the background—red, blue and yellow—and thought it looked like faces.

"I hated it. I don't like the backgrounds to look like anything," he says. He had recently seen the documentary Ghosts of Rwanda. With that in mind, he approached the painting again.

"One thing led to another. A couple of lines, let my try this, let me try that, and it came together. I ended up doing the series," Saladyga recalls.

The imagery is both beautiful and macabre—bright, alluring colors, palm trees, skies full of stars but also soldiers in fatigues with machetes (most of the killings were carried out at close range with machetes) and children with their hands and feet cut off or their torsos hacked in half. Saladyga tells me that for some of the paintings he tried "to think like a little kid thinks." As an example, he refers me to a painting of a young boy without hands unable to pick up the soccer ball—soccer being the preeminent sport of Africa—on the ground in front of him. In another painting, a girl without hands is unable to pick up her doll.

Repeated motifs tie the series together—imagery of volcanoes (there are several volcanoes in Rwanda; additionally, the volcano imagery may symbolize the potentially explosive ethnic antagonisms), embryos that symbolize a sense of rebirth.

Saladyga says he was reaching for "a mystical sense of redemption." He tells me, "It's a complicated history that I'm trying to make sense of. I'm using the whole thing as a metaphor for trying to understand genocide."

Painting from Gerald Saladyga's series "100 Days in Eden":


Stephen Grossman is showing a number of drawings and paintings in his 39 Church Street studio from his current "Luftmensch" series. "Luftmench" is a Yiddish/German word meaning literally "air man." But its more colloquial Yiddish meaning, Grossman tells me, is "a young man who is a dreamer, not a very practical guy." As it has evolved, he says, it has come to mean a man "who makes his living selling something intangible." Grossman conceptualized the "luftmensch" in terms of a man selling ideas—for example, the derivatives that were at the center of the financial crisis—and whose identity gets bound up with that act of salesmanship.

Grossman found his central image by Googling the phrase "1950's businessman in suit." He says he tweaked his search until he found exactly the iconic image he was looking for.

"It resonated with the era I grew up. It was the father figure in society at that time," Grossman says of the image of the man in the gray flannel suit clutching his attaché case.

In some of the paintings, the figure of the "luftmensch" almost disappears into a fog of abstract geometric shapes inspired partly by the pixilation of digital images. But the break-up into abstraction, Grossman notes, also has symbolic weight.

"It's possible he's lost, consumed or buried in his own thoughts. The integrity of the self is dissipating. It may be a Zen thing of being at one with the world. Or it may be the opposite," Grossman says, that the "luftmensch" doesn't know his place in the world in the metaphysical sense.

One of Stephen Grossman's "Luftmensch" paintings:

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Monday, October 08, 2012

CWOS 2012, Friday night—lighting the way

City-Wide Open Studios
50 Orange St, New Haven, (203) 772-2709
City-Wide Open Studios 2012
Through Oct. 21, 2012.
Weekend 1 Report

Quite a crowd turned out Friday night at Artspace for the Grand Opening Reception for this year's City-Wide Open Studios, the event's "crystal" (15th) anniversary. The weather cooperated as much of the Ninth Square took on a festival atmosphere, in part due to the numerous light installations of the second annual LAMP (Light Artists Making Places).

Crowd socializes and browses the main exhibition at Artspace:

Your blogger in a photo from the early 1990's projected by Ernst Weber on the wall of the Acme Building:

Drum circle and dancers outside 45 Church Street (on the Crown Street side), an old bank used as location of "The Crystal Ball" and LAMP headquarters:

The Play House in The Lot:

Holly Danger's "Soul Seasons" light projections:

Labels: , , ,

Gourlay, Carr shows open Friday at Giampietro Gallery at Erector Square

Giampietro Gallery—Works of Art
315 Peck St., New Haven, (203) 777-7760
Gallery 1: Elizabeth Gourlay: A Year Long Song
Gallery 2: Susan Carr: Recent Work
Oct. 12—Nov. 10, 2012.
Reception: Fri., Oct. 12, 5—8 p.m.

Press release from Giampietro Gallery

The Giampietro Gallery will be exhibiting new work by Elizabeth Gourlay and Susan Carr. The exhibition opens on Fri., Oct. 12, with a reception from 5 until 8 p.m. and continues through Nov. 10, 2012.

Elizabeth Gourlay’s work is a meditation on color and form. The drawings and paintings emerge from a gradual yet progressive layering that leads to a complex network of shifting shapes and colors. The shapes and lines create a new vocabulary of abstract forms. They are resonances with inner emotional states, elements of feeling or sub- conscious thought combined with conscious thought about architecture and geometric structure. Gourlay often begins with a background layer of washes and then works with elements of line and form. The color may become muted and minimal, admixing into greys and neutrals or it may become vibrant and intense. There are parallels in musical composition, as looking at the work is a dynamic interaction and the eye moves around the piece element to element, as musical note to musical note. The result is a play of tones, chords, dissonances and harmonies.

Elizabeth received her Masters of Fine Arts degree in painting from the Yale University School of Art and her Bachelors of Art from Edinburgh College of Art in Scotland. She had been exhibited throughout New England and New York and has been awarded many prestigious awards including two artist in residence at the studio of Sol LeWitt in Italy (2011 & 2012).

Susan Carr explores the depths of her medium through a unique process of mixing, dripping, molding, and layering. When complete, the work demonstrates her intimately deep understanding of color, texture, and surface.

Susan Carr received her Masters of Fine Arts degree from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston/ Tufts University. Carr’s work has been exhibited in Chicago, Los Angeles, and throughout the North East including The Museum of Fine Art Boston Torf Gallery. Carr was also the 97th recipient of The James William’s Page Fund Award.

Labels: , , ,

"Dreamy" show opens Tuesday at Gallery at Whitney Center in Hamden

Perspectives: The Gallery at Whitney Center
200 Leeder Hill Rd., Hamden, (203) 772-2788
Oct. 9—Nov. 30, 2012.
Opening reception: Tues., Oct. 9, 5-7 p.m.

Press release from the Arts Council of Greater New Haven

Perspectives—The Gallery at Whitney Center presents Dreamy, a collaboration between the Whitney Center and the Arts Council of Greater New Haven.

Curated by Debbie Hesse and Steven Olsen, Dreamy includes works by Stephen Grossman, Rachel Hellerich, Lisa Hess Hesselgrave, Jaime Kriksciun, Kristina Kuester-Witt and Margaret Roleke.

Dreamy will be on view through Nov. 30. There will be an opening reception for Dreamy on Tues., Oct. 9, from 5—7 p.m.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Two shows opened this past weekend at Gallery on the Green in Canton

Gallery on the Green
Corner of Dowd and Rt.44
Canton, CT (860) 693-4102
Open Juried Exhibition
Betty Gerich: Thicker Than Water—A Family Portrait
Oct. 5—Nov. 4, 2012.

Press release from Gallery on the Green

The Gallery on the Green will be having its annual Open Juried Show from October 5 through November 4. The juror for this show is Douglas Hyland, Executive Director of the New Britain Museum of Art. This show is open to any artist in the country and includes a wide variety of fine arts in various media, styles and subject matter. Prizes will be awarded. The show will be in both the downstairs Founders Gallery and in one of the 2 upstairs galleries. An opening reception and awards presentation was held on Sat., Oct. 6 from 6—9 pm.

Also opening at the same time in the Spotlight Gallery is the work of Betty Gerich. The show is titled: Thicker Than Water—A Family Portrait and includes works done in watercolor wash drawings. The subject matter is inspired by candid photos taken of the artist's family from 1944—2011. Betty Gerich's watercolors capture individuals and their close relationships with each other with playfulness, closeness and warmth.

Since some of the images represent favorite relatives who are now deceased, Gerich wanted to bring them and the time in which they lived back with each painting. She is an exhibiting member of Connecticut Women Artists and Gallery on the Green in Canton, Connecticut. Betty has received an Individual Artist Fellowship Grant Award from the Greater Hartford Arts Council for her ceramic sculpture. Her work is featured in 500 Figures in Clay, a book published by Lark Books and Best of America, Sculpture Artists and Artisans. She is a resident of Enfield and teaches art history at Asnuntuck Community College.

The exhibition will be on display at the gallery until Nov. 4.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, October 04, 2012

2012 City-Wide Open Studios begins this weekend: Grand Opening Reception on Friday

City-Wide Open Studios
50 Orange St, New Haven, (203) 772-2709
City-Wide Open Studios
Fri., Oct. 5, 5—8 p.m. Grand Opening Reception
Weekend 1: Oct. 6/7—"Passport Weekend" (individual studios in New Haven, Hamden and West Haven)
Weekend 2: Oct. 13/14—Erector Square
Weekend 3: Oct. 20/21—Alternative Space at the old New Haven Register building
Plus special events—see below

Press release from Artspace

Connecticut’s leading forum for visual artists returns to New Haven every October. City-Wide Open Studios invites the public to meet hundreds of visual artists, in studio and alternative spaces across New Haven, and to learn about the creative process. Nearly 300 artists will take part in the festival over the course of three consecutive weekends. Each weekend features different workspaces in New Haven; in all, more than 60 sites will be open. A grand opening reception, free and open to the public, takes place at Artspace on Fri., Oct. 5, from 5—8 p.m., followed by late night festivities throughout Ninth Square.

To mark the 15th year, Artspace has invited artists to draw inspiration from the crystal, whether in chemical, mathematical, geological, or polished form. Special themed tours and exhibitions will take place; prepare to be dazzled. In collaboration with Project Storefronts, the public is invited to the opening night Crystal Ball. Other special events are listed on the calendar and more will be announced in the coming weeks.

During the first weekend (October 6/7), visitors are invited to explore New Haven, Hamden, and West Haven to discover the area’s hidden artistic gems—the individual studios and small group spaces scattered throughout downtown and residential neighborhoods. A special gathering of artists making functional objects—furniture and crafts—will be featured at 14 Gilbert Street. A free, guided bike tour departs both Saturday and Sunday at 12:30 p.m. from the Devil’s Gear bike shop at 360 State Street (enter on Orange). Walking tours TBA.

The second weekend (October 13/14) features artists and demonstrations at Erector Square, 315 Peck Street, New Haven. Erector Square is New Haven’s largest concentration of studios, in a series of buildings that once housed the factory making Erector Sets; today over 100 artists maintain studios there. Studio Maps will be available at the entrance, along with a schedule of demonstrations. The visit is free; $5 donation is suggested. The studios will be open from noon-5 p.m.

The third weekend (October 20/21) will feature the Alternative Space, at the vacant, mid-century, New Haven Register Building, off of I-95. Admission is free; a $5 donation is suggested. The Alternative Space will be open from noon—5 p.m.

Throughout the festival, viewers are invited to visit the central Festival Exhibition at Artspace, which will feature a representative work by each participant, along with maps and information. A host committee of local individuals invites everyone to meet the artists at theopening reception on October 5. The Official Map & Guide of the event and a website with studio information will be available at the opening. Details for all of the events can be found at the City-Wide Open Studios Web site.

City-Wide Open Studios has been made possible thanks to First Niagara Bank Foundation, Yale University, the New Haven Register, the City of New Haven Economic Development Office, Yale-New Haven Hospital, and other local corporations. Eileen & Andrew Eder, Seth Brown & Ywe Ludwig, and the Honorable Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro chair the Host Committee, a group of art lovers and supporters.

Special Events:

• Fri., Oct. 5, 5—8 p.m. CWOS Grand Opening Reception

As part of the October’s first Friday, On 9, Artspace will hold the CWOS Grand Opening Reception. Also at Artspace, the opening of a special printmaking project created by Darwin Nix in collaboration with clients of Liberty Community Services. Free! At 8 p.m., explore LAMP, "Light Artists Making Places," throughout the Ninth Square.

• Saturdays and Sundays, Oct. 6/7, 13/14, 20/21 at The Lot. Curated by Marianne Bernstein

A modular cube, crystal clear, serves as temporary studio by day and a 4-sided, illuminated projection space by night at 812 Chapel Street. The schedule will be as follows: October 6/7 (Darwin Nix, abstract etchings), October 13/14 (Keily Anderson-Staley, tin types), and October 20/21 (Kirk Bacon, drawing and sculptural installation).

• Oct. 5—22. The Crystal Palace Experimental Film/Video Festival. Organized by Liena Vayzman.

Crystal Palace is an experimental film/video festival curated by Liena Vayzman for ArtSpace's 15th Anniversary—its crystal anniversary—which will feature crystal-themed, crystallizing, and multi-faceted video and films. Crystals, including snowflakes, diamonds, ice crystals, and gems will be featured; works will explore these references in both abstract and narrative forms, taking the cultural, scientific, and mathematical associations with crystal as a point of departure. Like the Crystal Palace plate-glass building, a marvel of engineering constructed by Joseph Paxton for the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London, ArtSpace's Crystal Palace aims to illuminate and amaze—the festival, held in Artspace’s gallery at 50 Orange Street, will feature non-narrative and experimental video installations, as well as more traditional films. Works in the festival will be screening continually during gallery hours (Tuesday–Thursday, noon—6 p.m.; Friday, noon—8 p.m.; Saturday–Sunday, noon—5 p.m.). After CWOS, the Crystal Palace Experimental Film/Video Festival will travel to the Kroswork Gallery in Oakland, California.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Refusing to be boxed in

Giampietro Gallery—Works of Art
315 Peck St., New Haven, (203) 777-7760
Linda Lindroth: Trickster in Flatland

Surface and not surface. Depth and depthlessness. Reality and illusion. Historicity and timelessness. Representation and abstraction.

Photographer Linda Lindroth is engaged in serious play in her show Trickster in Flatland, which just closed at the Giampietro Gallery in New Haven. Exhibiting 17 large images, all but a half dozen of which were made in the last two years, Lindroth disassembles a material reality to reassemble her own aesthetic vision.

In the literal sense, most of these photographs are of old cardboard boxes used to hold commercial products. Mundane, no? The corners of the boxes have either come part on their own—as is wont to happen with these types of objects over time—or been torn open by Lindroth herself. Stripped of their three-dimensionality, they are splayed open like mounted butterflies, a geometricity of flat processed color, torn edges, striking diagonals, worn surfaces, yellowed tape and brittle glue.

So the answer to the question "Mundane, no?" is "No." Somehow, these images are compelling rather than mundane. They are compelling because Lindroth sees in these objects all sorts of allusions—mostly but not only of an art historical nature—and has the photographic chops to convey her excitement about them and interpretation of them.

I noted before that they are "stripped of their three-dimensionality." That's true in the sense that the boxes have been deconstructed to lie flat. And, by the nature of being a photographic print, that flatness is—in a physical sense—absolute. But Lindroth's photography captures the not-flatness of that flatness—the layering of the different planes of folded cardboard, the sense of the material's thickness, the flare of shadows around the edges where the mounted object curls up from its white background.

This illusion of tactile presence particularly invited the touch—but don't touch!—in "Howard 2," which depicts the inside of a shallow square box with aquamarine flaps. There is a wealth of visual information to process in this deceptively simple image. The ink is peeling off the flaps like bark on a birch tree. The inner square is smeared with a thick framing of dried, cracked mucilage glue, the color of which morphs from a pale mustard yellow to a dark caramel. It is one of the few images that hints at actual human touch rather than mechanical creation. The swirl of glue is a gestural brush mark communicating the brisk movement of a human hand.

There is sly humor in "Automatic Drawing," which pairs the inside top and bottom pieces of an old box of pastels. The long-term jostling of the colored sticks created two complementary abstract "drawings"—the one on the left spare and subtle, the one on the right a profusion of layered marks. What is noticeable in do many of the images are the details—the mottled discoloration of the cardboard, the scruffy grit of time, the frayed fibers around the tears, the kinked edges. There are some interesting found color juxtapositions—a bold vertical of blue amid surroundings of beige, yellow and washed-out orange in "Le Contact"; the industrial gray hidden beneath the neon pink in "Elsa (Pink Schiaparelli Box)."

As Lindroth notes in some of her statements on the show, she sees in many of these images evocations of the work of prominent Modernist painters—Ellsworth Kelly, Robert Motherwell, among others. (Some of these allusions are suggested by their titles; "Howard 2," for example, refers to the British painter Howard Hodgkin.)

For my part, I see not just allusion but also meta-commentary—that the boundaries between abstraction and representation, between the throwaway object and the objet d'art, between surface and depth, between the past and the present are not fixed. The boxes into which we pack our preconceptions can be broken open and that is what Lindroth has done.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Picture book: Nathan Lewis reads the ruins

West Cove Studio Gallery
30 Elm St., West Haven, (203) 627-8030
Nathan Lewis: Reading the Ruins

Collapsing. Falling apart. The great industrial engine of the American economy increasingly decaying into ruin. Or let that be "ruins," plural. And in that desolation, some artists find visual inspiration.

One example of this was in the Anna Held Audette retrospective at the John Slade Ely House this past May. Audette concentrated on industrial sites and machinery as formal objects. Commentary was implicit and the art historical reference traced its lineage back to 18th and 19th Century painters who depicted ruins of ancient Greek and Roman antiquity. For the most part, Audette's paintings were industrial landscapes without a figurative presence.

In Nathan Lewis' painting show, Reading the Ruins, which closed this past weekend at A-Space Gallery in West Haven, the human element is present. The show features five large paintings, two smaller ones and four rough studies. In Lewis' paintings, people seem almost tourists of desolation, wandering dazed through factory rubble ("Orpheus") or stooping to pick up a small hardcover book off a detritus-strewn floor ("Book Keeper"). In "Light is the Lion That Comes Down to Drink," a bespectacled middle-aged man—seen through rusted diagonals of collapsed metal beams—carries what might be a piece of wood, a souvenir, in his right hand.

The backlit figure in "In the Dark"—not easily identifiable as a woman or man—reaches into a hole in a riven, peeling wall, searching for who knows what. The floor is strewn with debris and the old brick walls, painted white, are tagged with red and black graffiti. Lewis zeroes in on a tight cluster of seven upturned faces in the smaller painting "War Bells." The group—which includes local painters Paul Panamarenko and Larry Morelli as well as Anne Somsel, wife of art critic and curator Stephen Vincent Kobasa, and their daughter Claire—looks up at something outside the frame.

Hanging over these works is a sense of impersonal forces at work with the people in these spaces contemplating what has happened to their world. In fact, the only painting in which there is a real sense of active agency is "I Burn Today." In this work, the foregrounded figure—seen from waist down in torn blue jeans and sneakers—holds a kerosene can in their left hand (which has black-painted fingernails). Impersonal economic forces may have set in motion the demise of this factory but one individual can put the final nail in the coffin.

Lewis, who came to the gallery while I was visiting, says he has always been intrigued by these kinds of industrial ruins. He created the series as a challenge to himself to figure out how to depict this type of urban landscape. The results are exceptional. There is a tactile sense of the forms, capturing the feel of brick, rust, metal, wood and clusters of pink insulation material.

And the light. In "Light is the Lion That Comes Down to Drink," Lewis apprehends the nature of the foreground light—both the direct light coming down through holes in the ceiling, splashing on debris, and the surrounding diffuse light on the floor. Lewis tells me that seeing light as he hasn't seen it before is exciting. Similarly, in "Gate Keeper" (the large version), Lewis renders the subtle light in an essentially dark space; it is a painting primarily of shadow detail.

This series captures both a historical moment in late industrial capitalism and our response to that moment. Like the figures inside the frame, we absorb a certain kind of catastrophic beauty in these paintings like deer in the headlamps. Something is bearing down on us and it isn't good. But these paintings are. Very.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Two painters playing music Wednesday night at Best Video in Hamden

Best Video Performance Space
1842 Whitney Ave., Hamden, (203) 287-9286
Christopher Mir & Paul Panamarenko In Concert
Wed., Oct. 3, 7:30 p.m.

Picture this: Christopher Mir and Paul Panamarenko are known around the area as being highly regarded painters. But their artistry also extends to music-making. Mir and Panamarenko each will perform a solo acoustic set at Best Video Performance Space this Wed., Oct. 3, at 7:30 p.m.

Mir's music combines intertwined strands of folk music, murder ballads and indie rock. Or, as he tells me in an email: "Roll the stone up the hill, and it rolls back down. That's what writing songs is all about. Also it's about stealing lyrics from old Baptist hymns. The gods command!!!"

Paul Panamarenko is a Texas-born musician who immigrated to New Haven via Oakland, CA. He plays in the vein of Hank Williams, Leonard Cohen and Johnny Cash.

(No, this blog isn't going to start covering music as well as visual art. But I book the music shows at Best Video and thought it worth mentioning. The show is free and open to the public.)

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, October 01, 2012

Affordable Art photo show opens Saturday at Gallery at Still River Editions in Danbury

The Gallery at Still River Editions
128 East Liberty St., Danbury, (203) 791-1474 
2nd Annual Affordable Art Exhibition: Photography
Oct. 6—Dec. 21, 2012. Opening Reception: Sat., Oct. 6, 4—6 p.m.

Press release from The Gallery at Still River Editions

The Gallery at Still River Editions is pleased to announce its second Affordable Art Exhibition—an invitational group exhibition of archival digital prints of photographs by 16 Connecticut artists, and one artist from New Jersey. The exhibit takes place from Oct. 6 through Dec. 21, 2012. with an opening reception on Sat., Oct. 6, 2012 from 4—6 p.m. An opening reception will be held at the gallery on Saturday, October 6, 2012 from 4—6 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

The photographers are Shona Curtis (New Milford), Paul Berger (Newtown), David Blackett (Stratford), Garry Burdick (Southbury), Karl Decker (Monroe), Tony Donovan (Ivoryton), David Haislip (Danbury), Keith Johnson (Hamden, see image), Paul Jones (New Britain), Ben Larrabee (Darien), Jay Misencik (Monroe), Karen Neems (Stamford), Ann Reeves (Redding), Michele Russell (Stamford), Graham Scott (Deep River), Marko Susla (Edison, NJ), and Dennis Yates (Woodbury).

The photographs were archivally printed by Still River Editions. Each is sized at 16"x20" and priced at $100. Last year's exhibition featured print reproductions of work by 14 fine artists who work in a range of media including painting, printmaking, and drawing. This year's focus is on photography.

The Gallery at Still River Editions has hosted national and regional photographers and artists since 1989. In Spring 2011, after a brief hiatus from exhibiting new work, the gallery returned to hosting shows on a quarterly basis. The Gallery’s mission is to show traditional and digital prints of photographs and fine artwork, and to be a center of creativity and connection in the Danbury area.

Labels: ,

Saturday opening reception for "Making Room" at Institute Library

The Institute Library
847 Chapel St., New Haven, (203) 562-5045 
Making Room: Ten Interpretations
Oct. 6—Nov. 3, 2012.
Reception: Sat., Oct. 6, Noon—2 p.m.

Press release from Institute Library

Ten contemporary artists integrate their work into a 186 year-old space, emphasizing historic integrity while exploring new connections. The artwork exists between two and three dimensions, is site-specific and responds to the issues of material ingenuity, color, architecture and reductivist aesthetics. Making Room was curated by Suzan Shutan.

Exhibiting artists are Richard Bottwin (NY), Melanie Carr (CT), Kevin Daly (CT), Robert Gregson (CT), Adam Lister (VA), Faber Lorne (CT), Debra Ramsay (NY), Karen Schifano (NY, see image), Paul Theriault (CT) and Jill Vasileff (CA). The show will be on display from Oct. 6 through Nov. 3. There will be an artists' reception on Sat., Oct. 6, from noon to 2 p.m.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Opening reception at Reynolds Fine Art in New Haven Friday evening

Reynolds Fine Art
96 Orange St., New Haven, (203) 498-2200
Robert Reynolds & Mary Black
Oct. 5—27, 2012.
Opening Reception: Fri., Oct. 5, 5—8 p.m.

Press release from Reynolds Fine Art

Reynolds Fine Art is pleased to present a two-person exhibition featuring Mary Black, a California native, in her debut at the gallery, along side new work by Robert Reynolds.

Mary Black's primary concerns in her approach to art making have always been directed toward process, surface, and materials. Painting exclusively in encaustic paint for over a decade, Black has mastered an often unruly medium. Encaustic paint, a material comprised of wax, pigment, and dammar resin, that is heated and fused, is very difficult to control. The artist's relationship with this hot wax, however, is fluid and intuitive. She openly embraces the challenges that occur in the creation of a wide spectrum of surfaces, from flat and transparent, to dense and scarred.

Though Black has limited control over her material—it is her intention to trust her body's response to the medium—her work is a reflection of her interest in Jungian psychology, duality, and the unconscious mind. When viewed as a group, the array of oppositions in each piece, whether it is color, texture, or light and shadow, are ultimately attracted to each other like magnets to form a solid union. Black has said of her work, "There is a very destructive aspect to my work, as it is only through the process of destruction and creation that I am able to build the layered, raw surfaces I am attracted to...It's about creating chaos, organizing chaos, giving into unplanned responses, and then letting go of my intentions."

Robert Reynolds, the gallery owner and namesake, will be exhibiting a new series of work. Deriving from a collection of sketches made over the past twenty years, Reynolds has taken a bare bones approach to painting as a method of sorting through living. These minimalistic, abstracted oils on linen are documents of fragmented memories and disjointed pieces of time. Much like cut up negatives on a light box, each canvas is a vaguely remembered still frame from the artist's past.

This opening event will coincide with the Ninth Square first Friday event Create on 9, during which Mary Black, who will have flown from California to be with us at the event, will be available in the gallery to speak about her encaustic process. Additionally, this is the opening weekend of City-Wide Open Studios. Join us on Saturday as Robert Reynolds paints outside the gallery throughout the day.

Labels: , , , ,

Friday reception at Middlesex Community College for Paul Qaysi show

Middlesex Community College Pegasus Gallery
100 Training Hill Road, Middletown, 1-800-818-5501
Paul Qaysi: A Sea of Patterns in the Pegasus Gallery and The Niche (Pegasus Gallery is located within the library on the first floor of Chapman Hall)
Oct. 3—Nov. 1, 2012.
Opening Reception: Fri., Oct. 5, 1:30—3 p.m.

Press release from Middlesex Community College

In today’s anarchic media flux, governments and traditional media empires have lost much of their power to dictate what we see and believe. This erosion is the subject of Paul Qaysi’s recent work in which he scavenges, cuts, pastes and animates digital images from a variety of sources, interrogating the production of authority and truth.

The Arab Spring uprisings flared up with the aid of digital technologies and social media. Investigating these historic events in Actual Dots, Qaysi recycles, connects and dismantles official images of recently overthrown dictators. Portrait stills captured from YouTube are reduced to dot screens. The screens shift and dots enlarge, evoking newspapers, bullet holes and abstract painting. The more close-up the images of these corrupt leaders, the more meaningless they become. As the photos disintegrate, the floating dots form moiré patterns that briefly resemble Islamic tile designs, and we hear a multi-track sound collage of passionate crowds. By making a shorter version of the videos available for download as a screen saver, Qaysi invites viewers to look closer, participate and even celebrate in the corruption of these official images.

In "Drawdown," an official photo of armed U.S. marines exiting a destroyed building, the soldiers slowly melt before our eyes in animated layers–but the ruins behind them remain. Digitally isolating the soldiers, Qaysi animated a single frame. Primed by video games and film on how to react to this type of image, we expect sudden violence, but Qaysi elects a slow-burning approach that gives viewers time to think, time we usually do not spend before a single photo of this kind.

Attuned to temporal questions, Qaysi investigates the speed of world events, and our understanding of them and their long-term effects. He incites viewers to consider how we receive the news, what we choose to view, and the blurry line between information and entertainment. Paul Qaysi was born in 1963 in Baghdad, Iraq, and lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. He received his B.F.A. in sculpture from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY and M.F.A. in Program in Advanced Photographic Studies from Bard College-International Center of Photography in New York, NY.

Labels: , ,

Two artist show reception Tuesday at Gallery 195 in New Haven

Gallery 195
195 Church St., 4th floor (First Niagara Bank), New Haven, (203) 772-2788  
Sarah Beth Goncarova and Thomas Edwards
Through Dec. 14, 2012.
Opening reception: Tues., Oct. 2, 5-7 p.m.

Press release from The arts Council of Greater New Haven

The Arts Council of Greater New Haven presents an exhibition of works by artists Sarah Beth Goncarova and Thomas Edwards at First Niagara Bank, 195 Church St., 4th floor, in New Haven.

The exhibition will be on display during bank hours from September 18, 2012 through December 14, 2012. An artists' reception is scheduled for Tues., Oct. 2 from 5 to 7 p.m. The public is invited to attend and meet the artists.

Goncarova works with acrylic paint, watercolors, sculpture/textiles, and collage. She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in sculpture and extended media in 2002 and her Masters of Architecture in 2005.

For this exhibition, Goncarova will be showing intricate textile sculptures. In her artist's statement, she describes them as "undulating forms that crash and collide," and "sinuous shapes of light and shadow." Along with the use of sewn textiles, she has applied countless tiny crystals, which she intends to catch the light and "wink at you from the corner of your eye."

Goncarova has exhibited, among other places, in New Haven, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Brooklyn, Berkeley, and internationally in Norway and Germany. She also published a book, A Yearlong Summer, in 2010. You can see her work at

Thomas Edwards was also trained as an architect while fostering his artistic career making paintings, drawings and prints. He received his Bachelors of Architecture degree from Kansas State University in 1971, then went on to get two Master of Fine Arts degrees, one from Kansas State University in 1978 and another from Yale University in 1983.

"Drawing, for me, covers a vast array of activities that in some ways are akin to breathing and in other ways akin to surgery," explains Edwards in his artist's statement. His works are layered, both conceptually and actually. He continues to explain in his statement that he uses simple landscapes in his paintings to describe universal experiences (a fence as an enclosure/limitation, a backyard as a trigger for childhood memories/a safe haven of play, or a prairie to represent unlimited space with earth, sky, and wind.

Edwards has exhibited across the United States and has work included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Baltimore Museum of Art, and Library of Congress. His works can be seen at

Labels: , , , ,