Dedicated to covering the visual arts community in Connecticut.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Receptions for two shows at Middlesex Community College on Tues., Apr. 8

Middlesex Community College Pegasus Gallery
100 Training Hill Road, Middletown, 1-800-818-5501
Mari Skarp-Bogli: Architecture of a Memory in the Pegasus Gallery (Pegasus Gallery is located within the library on the first floor of Chapman Hall)
Mar. 24—May 3, 2014.
Kevin Fletcher: Glass Works—Linear Radiation in The Niche (The Niche is located in Founders Hall across from the Registrar’s Office.)
Mar. 24—May 8, 2014.
Reception for both shows: Tues., Apr. 8, 6—7:30 p.m.

Press release from Middlesex Community College

Two new shows at Middlesex Community College will have their artists' receptions on Tues., Apr. 8, from 6—7:30 p.m.

Mari Skarp-Bogli’s Architecture of a Memory addresses the subject of memory and its operation within the human brain. Skarp-Bogli's paintings, sculpture and interactive drawings employ abandoned locations, discarded materials and objects that transmit associations of loss, abandon and decay. These works are assemblages of memory evoking relics of attics, basements, barns and the garages of home in as much as representations of the physiological, psychological and neurological functions they interpret.

Mari Skarp-Bogli: "Synaptic Plasticity II"

Skarp-Bogli earned her M.F.A. from Maine College of Art and B.F.A.’s in both painting and sculpture from the University of Hartford. She is an adjunct art instructor at Tunxis Community College and at the University of Hartford.

Kevin Fletcher’s sculptures unite the complex and associative nature of line and the dynamic energy of glass. Works like "Radiate" exploit the similarities between the animate light of neon with that of molten hot glass.

Kevin Fletcher: "Radiate"

Fletcher has a B.F.A. in Glass from the Appalachian Center for Craft and a B.A. in Business Administration from Marist College. He has also studied glass at Penland School for Crafts, Urban Glass and Franklin Pierce University.

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Reception Sun., Apr. 6, for "Explorations in Embellishment" at Mercy Center gallery

Mercy Center at Madison Mary C. Daly, RSM Art Gallery
167 Neck Rd., Madison, (203) 245-0401
Rachel Hellerich: Explorations in Embellishment
Mar. 31—Apr. 25, 2014.
Artist's Reception: Sun., Apr. 6, 2—4 p.m.

Press release from the Mercy Center at Madison

Explorations in Embellishment is the second solo exhibition for Milford-based artist, Rachel Hellerich. The show will include more than 20 drawings and paintings spanning from 2005 to the present. Hellerich’s work will be on display at the Mary C. Daly, RSM Art Gallery, Mercy Center at Madison, 167 Neck Road, Madison, CT from Mar. 31—Apr. 25.

Rachel Hellerich: "Emerald Erosions"

With a background heavily rooted in sculpture and installation, Hellerich’s return home to Connecticut in 2004 marked a new phase of creative development focused on drawing and painting on canvas and panel. From its conception, this body of work has been influenced by the themes and aesthetics of Asian art, science fiction, fashion and military history. Her drawings have been a source of reflection, serving as blueprints for larger scale, atmospheric paintings. The work encompasses a range of media including watercolor, ink and vinyl paint, each painting or drawing considered three-dimensionally from the compositional development of their subjects to their physical realization with brush, pen and palette knife. The process of working in multiples on a modular level, with repetitive, textile-like references, has been a recurring exercise; as an obsessive means to connect with each piece physically, providing a gateway to meditate and reflect on a particular memory or place.

There will be an opening reception on Sun. Apr. 6 at the Mercy Center from 2—4 p.m. Both the exhibition and the reception are free and open to the public.

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Chuck Webster show opens at Giampietro Gallery at Erector Square Sat., Apr. 5, from 6—8 p.m.

Giampietro Gallery—Works of Art
91 Orange St., New Haven, (203) 777-7760
Chuck Webster: Shelter with works by Martín Ramírez, Thornton Dial, William Hawkins, and Marsden Hartley
Apr. 4—May 3, 2014.
Reception: Sat., Apr. 5, 6—8 p.m.

Press release from Giampietro Gallery

Fred Giampietro Gallery is pleased to announce the solo-exhibition of new works by artist Chuck Webster. The shows will be on view from Apr. 4—May 3, with an opening reception on Sat., Apr. 5, from 6—8 p.m.

From Ross Simonini, a writer, artist and musician based in New York and Interviews Editor for The Believer Magazine:

Chuck paints on wood. Sometimes he uses paper, which comes from wood, but mostly he works on thick, pale panels made of birch. Some of them are small enough to be handheld. Others are so large they could be mistaken for walls, and he heaves and slides these around his studio with chest-puffing exertion. He lays panels on the floor so he can pour liquids that accrete in a thin meniscus on their wooden surfaces. If he wants to paint outside the studio, he'll strap a panel to the roof of his Volvo station wagon, drive out to Rockaway Beach, and set himself up to work alfresco. The painted canvas is often described as a window; For Chuck, the wood panel is a roof, wall, and ceiling.

When he works, he puts the paint onto the wood with brush and hands. If he doesn't have gloves, he uses bare fingers and the pigment gets trapped under his nails for days. Even when he scrubs his hands feverishly with corn oil, the color stays put. Sometimes he'll make a painting in 2 hours, slathering on translucent textures that echo the whorling wood grain beneath the gesso, hues ranging from romantic, demonic maroon to thick, frosting-like applications of periwinkle.

Chuck Webster: "Perfect Home"

When he's finished, the images look like portraits and landscapes, a form of abstraction that remains connected to the physical world, governed by gravity. They often appear architectural, as houses upon undulating earth. Sometimes they're figures. He resists the term characters - preferring the more open-ended term "souls" - but embraces the possibility of narrative, and uses the words, "whip-tail" and doingle" to describe the ornamentations that flutter around his souls. Recently he's become compelled by a particular soul: a small octagonal shape with an ocular hole at its bellybutton that he stacks and bends, leans and constellates. It appears in almost every drawing and painting he makes.

The wood that surrounds Chuck is his home. He coats it with the full-armed technique of mural painting, something he was involved with for six years in the Barnstormers collective. He makes work near constantly - along the side of the highway, sitting the gallery during his exhibitions, or in a hotel room, where he recently got evicted and escorted from the premises for spilling paint on the desk and floor. When not creating, he is hungrily looking: at art in galleries or in the monographs stuffed into shelves of his studio at home. He curates often. Recently, he packed a gallery with small drawings by Picabia, Richard Tuttle, Mary Heilman and countless others. Soon, he will fill a space with devotional art by contemporary artists.

The works in this show by William Hawkins, Martin Ramirez, Marsden Hartley and Thornton Dial resonate with Chuck's sturdy, wooden, structural approach, and all of them have served as inspiration for his own paintings. He refers to these artists as "heroes," and he has spent considerable time poring over their works. They are his shelter. They are the foundation and building within which he constructs his own images. Under the roof of this gallery, his works and the work of his artistic architects can cohabitate.

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Phyllis Crowley photo exhibit "Splash" reception Sat., Apr. 5, at City Gallery

City Gallery
994 State St., New Haven, (203) 782-2489
Phyllis Crowley: Splash
Apr. 3—27, 2014.
Opening Reception: Sat., Apr. 5, 2—5 p.m.

Press release from City Gallery

City Gallery presents Splash, Phyllis Crowley’s photographs of swimmers, pools and fountains from Apr. 3—27. The opening reception is on Sat., Apr. 5, from 2—5 p.m.

Crowley shows the joy and ebullience of human motion in water, with hints of the risks of staying under. The abstract images of water dripping and gushing from fountains and pools convey the beauty we see in this life force.

Phyllis Crowley: "Touching Bottom"

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"Artist. Art Therapist" opens Fri., Apr. 4, at Sumner McKnight Crosby Jr. Gallery

Sumner McKnight Crosby Jr. Gallery
70 Audubon St., 2nd floor, New Haven, (203) 772-2788
Artist. Art Therapist
Apr. 3—May 9, 2014.
Artists' reception: Fri., Apr. 4, 5—7 p.m.

Press release from the Arts Council of Greater New Haven

The Arts Council of Greater New Haven presents Artist. Art Therapist in the Sumner McKnight Crosby Jr. Gallery at the Arts Council of Greater New Haven. Organized by Debbie Hesse, this exhibition will be on display from Thurs., Apr. 3, through Fri., May 9. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A public reception is scheduled for Fri., Apr. 4, from 5 to 7 p.m.

Artist. Art Therapist looks at artwork created by art therapists and considers the relationship between these two different sides of the creative self. The exhibition aims to answer the following questions art therapists are faced with on a daily basis: How do the passion to help and the passion to create impact one’s own artistic output? How do they inform each other? As an artist and art therapist, how does one navigate between one’s private, meditative and public self—emotionally, physically and spiritually?

Regional and local art therapists are invited to present their work and share stories on the exhibition blog. To submit artwork visit, or contact Debbie Hesse at the Arts Council, (203) 772-2788.

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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Two openings at Gallery on the Green in Canton weekend of Mar. 22-23

Gallery on the Green
Corner of Dowd and Route 44, Canton, (860) 693-4102
Michelle Thomas: Small Wonders
Ruth Jacobson
Reception: Sat., Mar. 22, 6—9 p.m. Emerging Talent
Reception: Sun., Mar. 23, 2—5 p.m.
Mar. 21—Apr. 20, 2014.

Press release from Gallery on the Green

The Gallery on the Green in Canton will be presenting three new shows running from Mar. 21 through Apr 20.

Emerging Talent in the downstairs Founder’s Gallery features outstanding artwork done by regional high school juniors and seniors. The juror of this show is Noelle Croce, manager of Five-Points Gallery in Torrington. Students from high schools in Avon, Bloomfield, Canton, West Hartford, Simsbury, Farmington, Ethel Walker, The Master’s School, Miss Porter’s, Pathways Academy for Technology and Design and the Gilbert School will be participating in this show. The opening reception will be held on Sun., Mar. 23, from 2—5 p.m. Awards will be presented during the reception. A scholarship will be offered to a student in the exhibition whose work would qualify for admission to the Hartford Art School at the University of Hartford.

Michelle Thomas will be featured in the Spotlight Gallery with a show titled Small Wonders. Thomas focuses on the season of Spring as a time of renewal. She is inspired by images from nature, especially the butterfly. For her, the image of a butterfly represents transformation and renewal and is a symbol of hope. Her process for this show brings together different materials to create a transformative layering effect. She uses newspaper, tissue, watercolor and acrylic paint, graphite, pastel and ink to create a scaffold effect of moving in and through the elements. Her desire is to have you think about the process of creation, whether in art or in nature.

Michelle Thomas: "Butterfly 4"

Ruth Jacobson will be featured in the Upstairs Gallery. She describes her work as colors, energy and motion. Her goal is to capture depth and vibrancy by both layering colors and by placing them next to one another. "I want the viewer to see that light coming from within each person-to experience what I experience; the light, the vitality, the dignity in each of us and in all of nature."

The opening receptions for the Spotlight and Upstairs shows will be held on Sat., Mar. 22 from 6—9 p.m. and the public is warmly invited.

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Lindroth photography exhibit opens at Giampietro Gallery on Orange Street Fri., Mar. 21

Giampietro Gallery—Works of Art
91 Orange St., New Haven, (203) 777-7760
Linda Lindroth: Recent Disturbances
Mar. 21—Apr. 19, 2014.
Reception: Fri., Mar. 21, 6—8 p.m.
Artists' Talk: Sat., Apr. 5, 2 p.m.
Press release from Giampietro Gallery

Fred Giampietro Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of new works by Linda Lindroth. This exhibition will be Lindroth’s second solo exhibition with the Gallery and is entitled Recent Disturbances. The shows will be on view from Mar. 21—Apr. 19 at the Orange Street location, with an opening reception on Fri., Mar. 21, from 6—8 p.m. and an artists' talk on Sat., Mar. 15, at 2 p.m.

Lindroth’s large-scale work utilizes vintage packaging and ephemera as a source. The artist manually manipulates, digitizes and prints these objects over-sized, creating a situation where they are taken out of context. All work is printed on archival Epson Hot Press Natural and presented allowing the paper to float in the frames.

Linda Lindroth: "Tower"

Lindroth’s artworks are included in many important public collections including the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the High Museum in Atlanta, the Princeton University Art Gallery, and the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. She has won numerous grants and prizes including ones from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts, the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Art, The National Endowment for the Arts, The New England Foundation for the Arts, and the Architecture League of New York. She earned her Master of Fine Arts degree from Rutgers University and is an adjunct professor at Quinnipiac University.

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ArtSpot! happy hour networking event in New Haven to resume Thurs., Mar. 27

Arts Council of Greater New Haven
70 Audubon St., 2nd floor, New Haven, (203) 772-2788
Mar. 27, 2014 at Fred Giampietro Gallery at Erector Square.

Press release from the Arts Council of Greater New Haven

The Arts Council of Greater New Haven is happy to announce the return of ArtSpot! The art inspired happy hour will kick off on Thurs., Mar. 27, from 5:30—7:30 p.m. at Fred Giampietro Gallery, 315 Peck Street in New Haven, CT. It is the first of a series of seasonal events. On view in the gallery will be artwork by Richard Lytle and Blinn Jacobs. Join us for a night of art, live jazz, drinks and mingling. Tickets are $10 for Arts Council members and $15 for non-members. Ticket includes two free drinks and refreshments.

For nearly 6 years ArtSpot! served as a regular monthly event for business professionals at various New Haven arts institutions before it ended in 2008. The events provided a wonderful way for the community to discover the arts, meet new friends and make a few lasting memories.

Our goal for the new ArtSpot! is to host the event once per season to help foster conversations about art, inspire professional and artistic collaborations and to provide a great and exciting event that the entire New Haven community can be part of. Check out our ArtSpot! article on the new #ARTNHV Blog.

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"Slight of Hand" reception this evening, Thurs., Mar. 13, at Seton Art Gallery

Seton Art Gallery at the University of New Haven
Doods Hall, University of New Haven, 300 Boston Post Rd., West Haven, (203) 931-6065
Slight of Hand
Through Mar. 21, 2014.
Reception: Thurs., Mar. 13, 6—8 p.m.; (Preceded by and concurrent with bake sale from 2—8 p.m.)

Press release from Seton Art Gallery

The group exhibit Slight of Hand will be marked by a reception this evening, Thurs., Mar. 13, from 6—8 pm. In the Seton Art Gallery at the University of New Haven. A bake sale will begin at 2 p.m. in the gallery and run through the reception. Participating artists are Geoffrey Detrani, Rachel Hellerich, Debbie Hesse, Jeanne Heifetz, Tim Nikiforuk and Rachel A. Vaters-Carr.

Intended to be a play on words: slight, refers to modest, handmade gestures that form interplays of spatial configurations. When wnvisioning space in the mind's eye, memories fade and certain details come into focus. Often our memory of particular space conflicts with physical rules, and the mind has a unique way of imposing elements from one space with those of another. Whether those space recall chaos theories, explore organic matter, and/or expose socio-political histories, each participating artist addresses his and her own spatial perceptions.

Jeanne Heifetz: "Working the Line 7"

From the layered abstractions of Geoffrey Detrani to the iconic geysers and volcanoes of Rachel A. Vaters-Carr, this exhibit attempts to capture spaces that are familiar but vaguely distant. Rachel Hellerich's detailed paintings draw on a variety of architectural references from German WWII style structures to Islamic patterns, depicting representational and embellished spaces. Debbie Hesse assembles plant matter with plastic and foam, alluding to the fragile balance between humans and nature. Jeanne Heifetz works with quartzite, bronze, zinc, nickel and wax to generate sinuous lines that recall ridges and other natural formations. Tim Nikiforuk, University of New Haven Art and Design faculty member, references biological entities and systems through condensed layering. Through line, pattern and textured surfaces, the artists in Slight of Hand employ highly crafted techniques that are subtle yet evocative.

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Thursday, March 06, 2014

"White Whale" opens at Pongratz Fine Art in Glastonbury Mar. 14

Pongratz Fine Art
51 Trumbull Street, New Haven39 New London Tpk., Glastonbury, (860) 430-1559
White Whale
Mar. 14—Apr. 20, 2014
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony: Fri., Mar. 14, Noon.
Reception: Fri., Mar. 14, 8—11 p.m.

Press release from Pongratz Fine Art

White Whale is the grand opening group exhibition for Pongratz Fine Art, the fruition of artist Jacob Pongratz’s Successful Kickstarter crowd sourcing campaign. Pongratz Fine Art is the first contemporary gallery in Glastonbury CT located at the freshly reimagined Glen Lochen Center.

The show focuses on contemporary works by artists from the NY and CT areas. In Pongratz’s words, "What white whale means to me is the single minded determination to obtain an almost unreachable goal, in regards to my journey, as well as the artists I represent."

Artists: Michelle Asfalg, Anne Bjorkland, John Downing Bonafede, Scott Cousins, Jackie Allen Doucot, Richard Falco, Josh Jayne, Phil Lique, Laura Marsh, Ted Mikulski, CJ Nye, Elisa Pritzker, Ted Salmon, Susan Stiller, David Taylor and Dwight Teal.

A Ribbon Cutting Ceremony hosted by the Glastonbury Chamber of Commerce will be held prior to the Grand Opening White Whale Reception on Fri., Mar. 14, at noon.

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Sunday, March 02, 2014

Juried "How Simple Can You Get?" show opens Friday at Creative Arts Workshop

Creative Arts Workshop Hilles Gallery
80 Audubon St., New Haven, (203) 562-4927
How Simple Can You Get: Hillary Charnas, Rebecca Murtaugh
Mar. 7—Apr. 3, 2014.
Opening reception: Fri., Mar. 7, 5—7 p.m.

Press release from Creative Arts Workshop

Creative Arts Workshop (CAW) presents new work by Hillary Charnas (Glastonbury, CT) and Rebecca Murtaugh (Brooklyn, NY), prizewinners of the 2013 juried exhibition How Simple Can You Get? Robert Storr, Professor of Painting and Dean of the School of Art at Yale University, served as juror. The Prizewinners show will be on view in CAW’s Hilles Gallery from Mar.7 to Apr. 3, 2014. An opening reception is scheduled for Fri., Mar. 7 from 5—7 pm. The public is invited to attend.

The juror’s intent for the exhibition from which he chose Charnas and Murtaugh, was to assemble a collection of artwork in which "complexity has been reduced to its most essential and visually arresting expression." Open to any visual media, the juried show ultimately included pieces that ranged from minimalist forms to intricate constructions.

Multimedia artist Hillary Charnas presents a selection of work from her series In A New Light, a collection of photographs that feature found objects reimagined and resurrected into two-dimensional abstract forms. It appears to the viewer that the artist has discovered and examined overlooked and neglected items that might once have occupied a place of belonging. By depicting the objects as specimens, Charnas has stripped away the ephemeral nature of familiarity, leaving the audience with images to decipher as they will.

Hillary Charnas: "Stanton Twins"

Rebecca Murtaugh will exhibit a collection of sculptures from her project entitled Alluring Repulsions. The three-dimensional abstract forms are created using a variety of materials and techniques that draw from both painting and sculpture. Murtaugh describes her interest "in alchemy and the history of objects and materials for their transformative potential… improvisation and intuition drive my actions along with a strong desire and consideration of beauty, form and color." Similar to themes in Charnas' work, Murtaugh gives discarded materials a new life. With titles like "Aequalis: Sunburst and Russian Violet" and "Stand: Regatta and Reflecting Pool," the artist’s non-representational sculptures offer particular references from which the viewer can engage on an aesthetic and intellectual level.

Rebecca Murtaugh: "Aperture: Rain and Cool Lava"

Concurrent with Prizewinners: Hillary Charnas | Rebecca Murtaugh, the Creative Works Gallery will feature two exhibitions. Detroit Dalliance is a collection of photographs by Bart Connors Szczarba, on display from Mar. 7 through 21. An opening reception will be held on Mar. 7 from 5 to 7 pm. Following will be an exhibition sponsored by Susan Foshauer, featuring the work of multiple artists working across a variety of mediums. This group show will be on display from Mar. 28 through Apr. 11. The opening reception will take place on Mar. 28 from 5—7 pm.

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Memorial for Joan Gardner Sun., Mar. 9, from noon to 2 p.m.

John Slade Ely House Center for Contemporary Art
51 Trumbull Street, New Haven, (203) 624-8055
Memorial for Joan Gardner
Sun., Mar. 9, Noon—2 p.m..

From Anna Broell Bresnick and Paul Clabby, director and curator at the John Slade Ely House comes an announcement of a memorial event for Joan Gardner, a gifted local artist who passed away Feb. 16:
The John Slade Ely House is hosting a Memorial Event for Joan Gardner on Sun., Mar. 9, from noon until 2 p.m. We hope that many of you will attend and that some will share a memory or two of your mutual friendship. Her husband, Frank, will join us and will most surely enjoy seeing a number of friends again. We look forward to seeing you there.

From Anna Broell Bresnick's announcement of Joan Gardner's passing:

It is with great sadness that our cultural community has lost one of its most vital artists. Joan Gardner passed away on February 16th at Hospice. She had been living at The Grimes Rehabilitation Center in New Haven for the past year and a half with her husband, Frank Gardner. She and her husband lived and worked in East Haven, and also maintain a loft on Bowery St. in New York City for many years.

Joan Gardner has been making art for over 40 years, and her primary interests have included painting, printmaking and bookmaking. Her creative ventures also included explorations in film and shadow puppetry. A puppet production of "Rooms" by Andrew Drummond was performed at the 42nd Street Theater in New York. She had been a member of 55 Mercer Gallery in Soho since 1973 until its closing at that location in early 2000.
Joan Gardner at Erector Square during City-Wide Open Studios, 2007

Joan Gardner’s prolific career as a painter has focused primarily on the world of fantasy and parody. The unrestrained creative energy of her work is achieved through the use of playful and whimsical imagery interspersed with the darker side of fantasy. Her vocabulary is grabbed in bits and pieces from all over the art world as well as from her own autobiography. This material is brilliantly painted, colored and collaged into large and small theatrical allegories. Medieval imagery, Bruegel, Rousseau, the artist’s friends and lovers, Indonesian tales and chimeras (like the monkey and lion) all find a place in Joan’s richly painted narratives. Her profound love of paint, vigorous gesture, rich psychological content and art historical references were the sources and inspirations of her remarkable work. Vibrant colors and whimsical imagery lure us into the paintings—they capture and delight us with their enticing, nightmarish humor.

"My images come from many sources including a large collection of masks and puppets from around the world. I have developed a style of intensity with color, form and gesture, which enhances the mood, mystery and ambiguity in my work. Humor plays a major role in my work as well. It must be subtle. I would like evoke a smile but never laughter."

Joan Gardner’s education included a B.F.A. and M.F.A. from the University of Illinois, and a Yale-Norfolk Summer School fellowship. She taught at Connecticut State University, The University of New Haven, Kent State University, Lane College, Jackson, Tenn. and The University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Not only was Joan Gardner a highly imaginative, gifted painter, she also explored to great success various other mediums such as printmaking, bookmaking, installation at and film. Her two dimensional work has been shown in solo and group shows in New Haven, New York and in many museums and galleries across the United States including The John Slade Ely House (a solo retrospective, and one in conjunction with her husband), Artspace, Real Art Ways, Clock Tower, Tuthill Gimprich Gallery and 55 Mercer Galleries, all in NYC, as well as the New Britain Museum of American Art, the Akron Museum, Akron, OH, and the Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art, Cleveland, OH.

In the late 60's and early 70's Joan and her husband, Frank, made a number of experimental films. Her own stop motion animation films as well as those made in collaboration with her husband were shown and won numerous awards in many film festivals across the United States including Yale (three), Monterey, Harvard and two Ann Arbor Film Festivals. Lawrence Alloway praised Joan's film, "JigJag," in The Nation and ArtNews, and it was mentioned again in a review of her work in Art in America 20 years later. is a website-in-progress created in remembrance of Joan as well as in preparation of a documentary about their film making process.

A Connecticut Commission On The Arts Grant, Yale Law School Film Grant and a N.E.T (New Hampshire) Film Grant are among Joan Gardner’s awards, and her work is in many private collections as well as those of Franklin Furnace, Lyman Allyn Museum, Yale University and The Museum of Modern Art.

"Hers (Joan Gardner) is a deeply original and inventive art." Michael Rush – Art New England and The New York Times.

"Joan Gardner has been producing an accomplished, diverse, and innovative body of work for almost four decades. She deserves a place of prominence in the annals of Contemporary American Art." Lawrence Campbell

We will very much miss Joan's vibrant contributions to our art community. She leaves behind her husband, Frank Gardner, and condolences may be sent to him at Frank Gardner, Grimes Rehabilitation Center, 1350 Chapel Street, New Haven, CT 06511.

Joan Gardner: "Virgin and Chimp"

 In 2010, I reviewed a retrospective show featuring the works of both Joan and Frank Gardner at the Ely House for the New Haven Advocate. As the corporate owners of the now-defunct Advocate haven't bothered to maintain an online archive, I will quote here from what I wrote about Joan Gardner's works in that show:

Joan Gardner's work pulses with emotional immediacy. Her paintings overall are characterized by darker subject matter and a darker color palette. Many of her drawings and mixed media paintings set figures and landscape against a black background or sky. Like fever dreams in a spooky children's book, her images feature trickster figures like anthropomorphic monkeys and cats, barking dogs, wild-eyed birds. In one painting, corpse-like face float in a steamy sea. Dragons, demons, bizarre masks, chaos haunts many of her tableaux.

In "In the Soup," the meal of two diners -- possibly the Gardners themselves -- is disrupted by one monkey chasing another across the dinner table, knocking over a wine bottle vase filled with flowers. Like many of her paintings, the pleasure of "In the Soup" derives from more than just the absurdity of the scene. Using a combination of paint, oil stick and crayon, she layers shade upon color shade, investing the static moment with vigorous energy. Similarly, in "Virgin and Chimp," the marks and colors seem to dance within the frame. It's mysterious and beautiful, rife with intimations of the unconscious.

Joan's passing is a tremendous loss. She was a truly gifted visionary artist. My condolences go out to her husband Frank Gardner.

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