Dedicated to covering the visual arts community in Connecticut.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Artist reception Sat., Nov. 1, for Occupy New Haven photo show at New Haven Free Public Library

New Haven Free Public Library Art Gallery
133 Elm St., New Haven
$ NOT FREE SPEECH: Photographs of Occupy New Haven by Byron Lembo-Frey Oct. 29—Dec. 3, 2014.
Artist's reception: Sat., Nov. 1, 2—4 p.m.

Press release from Azoth Gallery

Photographer Byron Lembo-Frey's photographs of the Occupy New Haven activist encampment will be on view in the Business/Periodicals Room of the New Haven Free Public Library through Dec. 3. The artist's reception is Sat., Nov. 1, from 2—4 p.m.

Byron Lembo-Frey was born in Nuremburg, West Germany in 1987. Through his childhood, he did drawings that featured a lot of colors, lines and symbols. He received a fellowship to Vermont Studio Center in August 2009 and graduated from Johnson State College in May 2010. His senior college exhibition focused on abstract art. Witnessing poverty, animal abuse, child abuse, alcoholism, domestic violence and arrests in his community, Byron felt a strong empowerment to focus more on social issue art to better his community.

Artist statement:

Occupy New Haven was a very controversial, but insightful movement that should be remembered. The people who really cared about this movement believed in creating a better world: They wanted more awareness of social, political and economic injustices; they wanted equal economic redistribution and political justice; they wanted healthcare for all people; they wanted to see an end to wars and job creation.

I attended an Occupy New Haven meeting to honor my grandmother, whom I promised at her wake that I would make something of myself. The first night I went to Occupy New Haven, I saw two homeless people share a cupcake; still to this day, it breaks me up inside to see how selfless they were and to see how much they reminded me of who I really was. After that experience, I felt an obligation to document Occupy New Haven.

Byron Lembo-Frey: "$ NOT FREE SPEECH—Occupy New Haven"
I graduated from college in 2010 and I struggled with finding a full time job for three years. I found part-time work at a place where I endured and I witnessed much unprofessionalism: supervisors publicly berated me and other employees; managers sabotaged workers; I was assigned embarrassing jobs as mopping the sidewalk; I was intimidated into doing my bosses’ work; supervisors manipulated employees into stopping shoplifters and then disturbingly scared employees to avoid giving them the ‘stopping the shoplifter’ bonus; supervisors made jokes about when guns were aimed at me during a robbery and also made jokes about my grandma passing away.

There was a robbery committed by the store guards. When it happened, a female boss was assaulted and a gun was aimed at her head, and two guns were aimed at my chest by two police officers. I earned little as $16 a week sometimes, so I survived on fruit from clearance sales, from which I had to cut off the molds. The situation made me depressed, ill, furious, feel objectified and devalue myself, but my father’s guidance, my promise to my grandma and seeing the goodness in people at Occupy New Haven, brought out the best in me again.

I also photographed Occupy New Haven because I felt connected with the movement through my experiences, and I want to be a symbol of perseverance for people who are going through same situations that I had endured.

As I documented Occupy New Haven, I watched many social issue movies: "Midnight Cowboy," "A Panic in Needle Park," "The French Connection," "The Harder They Come," "Last Tango in Paris," "Taxi Driver," "The Deer Hunter," "Talk Radio," "Born on the Fourth of July," "Boyz in the Hood," "American History X" and "North Country." "Midnight Cowboy" is my all-time favorite film, because it unflinchingly depicts poverty, depicts a character with traumatic experiences, humanizes homeless people and it is a realistic take on the American Dream; it pushed me to bravely take pictures of my content.

I was also strongly influenced by Soviet Montage Theory directors. Sergei Eisenstein believed a film shot can be crafted to create a metaphorical effect. I used this technique when I photographed Occupy New Haven and the Trayvon Martin protestors together, with the statue behind them. The statue looks down at all of them and it looks sad. Since the statue represents justice, the image is a metaphor of justice being saddened by the verdict.

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Three solo shows open Nov. 9 at Silvermine Art Center

Silvermine Guild Art Center
1037 Silvermine Rd., New Canaan, (203) 966-9700
J Henry Fair: The Hand of Man
Carlos Davila: Neo-Archaism
June Ahrens: What's Left
Nov. 9—Dec. 23, 2014.
Opening Reception: Sun., Nov. 9, 2—4 p.m.

Press release from Silvermine Arts Center

Three new exhibits open at Silvermine Arts Center on Sun., Nov. 9. Three artists explore themes of beauty and ruin, broken landscapes and lost symbols in photography, sculpture and a site-specific work in which video is a predominant element.

J Henry Fair’s stunning abstract compositions are full of organic forms and graphic patterns: plumes, branches, rivulets, as well as grids and softened geometric forms. But in Fair’s large-scale photographs, beauty and horror coexist. Fair’s subject in The Hand of Man is a damaged environment: de-forested landscapes, polluted waterways, hydraulic fracturing sites, and waste from refinery operations and other industrial practices. His goal is to “produce beautiful images that stimulate an aesthetic response, then curiosity, then personal involvement.”

Photo by J Henry Fair

“Flying over these sites is the only way to see things,” Fair has said. “The aerial perspective is inherently intriguing to land-based animals.” It is the aerial view that is his particular angle of vision—the distant view, not of the peaceful blue planet, but of the compromised landscape of a world that even in the digital era is still predominantly industrial.

J Henry Fair’s photography has been the subject of solo exhibitions throughout the U.S. and in Norway, Germany, and the Netherlands. Fair has been a member of the SIlvermine Guild of Artists since 2011.

In Neo-Archaism, Carlos Davila creates a visual landscape that abstracts the symbols and forms of ancient cultures and combines them with those of advanced technology and modern industry. He explores the relationship between the modern, highly mechanized age that we live in and a totemic, stylized symbolism of a variety of ancient cultures from Egypt, South America, and Africa.

Carlos Davila: "Medusa"

Davila abstracts line, form, and color to create sculptures, three-dimensional wall pieces, and large-scale diptychs and triptychs. His mechanical and industrial elements coalesce into a layered, three-dimensional geometry that is textural and drenched in brilliant color. His is a figurative landscape at once familiar and alien.

After earning his MFA, Davila participated in the reconstruction of the ancient city of Chan Chan, Peru. His work at this Pre-Columbian archaeological dig led to a fascination with ancient and lost cultures, and the experience profoundly affected the course of his work. Carlos Davila’s art has been the subject of solo exhibitions from Lima, Santiago, and Bogota to New York, Boston, and Miami. Born and educated in Lima, Peru, he lived for many years in New York City. He currently lives in Ridgefield, Connecticut, and maintains a studio in a loft in Bridgeport. He has been a member of the Silvermine Guild of Artists since 2012.

In her recent work, June Ahrens has explored repurposed and broken glass as material and metaphor. What’s Left is a new turn for Ahrens—a unified environment made up of a video surrounded by blue walls that are layered with dried pigment mixed with salt. This site-dependent piece, created for the Hays Gallery at the Silvermine Arts Center, evokes loss and fragility while channeling light through a landscape of broken glass.

The video serves as the primary element in the composition and contains many of the materials used in her environment. The integration of materials and images (including images of a human face and hands) invites the viewer to explore and embrace the residue of lives. Salt and glass enhance the imperfections of the walls, which become a metaphor for the imperfections in each of us. The surface partially hides some of the scarring but salt and pigment reveal it in a new way. Repurposed broken glass (clear or blue) is also part of the installation—random patterns of fallen shards will pool and reflect danger, pain, and vulnerability. Ahrens calls the work “a map of awareness.

June Ahrens: Still from video

June Ahrens’s work has been exhibited at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City; at the Edinburgh College of Art in Scotland; in Strong Women Artists, a group exhibit in Matera, Italy; and in many other exhibitions throughout the U.S. She lives in New Canaan, Connecticut, and has been a member of the Silvermine Guild since 1993.

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Thursday, October 09, 2014

Dow, Gunderson show opens Friday at Giampietro Gallery in New Haven

Giampietro Gallery—Works of Art
91 Orange St., New Haven, (203) 777-7760
Cross Currents: Karen Dow and Laurie Gunderson
Oct. 10—Nov. 22, 2014.
Reception: Fri., Oct. 10, 6—8 p.m.

Press release from Giampietro Gallery

Fred Giampietro Gallery is pleased to present new works by Karen Dow and Laurie Gundersen in an exhibition titled Cross Currents. This show will be on view at the 91 Orange St. location in New Haven from Oct. 10 through Nov. 22. There is an opening reception on Fri., Oct. 10, from 6—8 p.m.

Jeff Bergman writes:

Karen Dow makes flat work, yet the architectural and sculptural elements within belie their flatness. The distinct layers in the artist's newest body of work act in surprising ways, exposing forms while ghost images reveal themselves under marble dust gray. Like exposed composite rock segments, striations appear. Stacked and patchworked forms assert themselves as the gray fogs over layered and masked formations. Most of these solid forms are the final layer, completing the balancing act. Within Dow's painting, there is always the possibility of imbalance and irregular shapes ready to topple at the slightest breeze.

Art by Karen Dow

Dow has spent the last few years using printmaking techniques to create unique works on paper. The act of creating these monoprints itself has influenced the artists approach to the painting process. By inking hand cut materials, variable color and texture appear in the print process. Dow has recreated this indeterminacy by masking her canvas laid affixed to board with a hand cut frisket, an opaque vinyl material that adheres to the surface. The hand cut line wobbles, making both the mask another way for the artists hand to come across. By painting over all but these masked areas, the artist creates an "Aha" moment when she excavates the relics left behind. Louise Nevelson's irregular forms, composed of collaged remnants, serve as both an apt comparison as well the artists’ inspiration. Rather than work with collage, the artist builds a thorough world beneath and chooses her own remnants.

"Signal," 2014 is a multi­tiered work, containing several blocks of color. In the upper left, a square is divided black on the left and gray on the right. It appears to be right at the front of the plane, helped some by a red/orange layer behind it. This small area recalls Barnett Newman's zips as well as Pat Steir's large nearly monochromatic diptychs. The red and orange area in the middle left of the plane, also propped on a ledge, is a focal point and causes the eye to draw up to the dark area and then over to the right to view the "flag." The flag is an area with a four segment square. All around the gray midtone, adds a muted field of light. With "Signal," soft, dusty colors recede and bring to mind Giorgio Morandi's Etruscan palate. The dominant colors, autumnal yellow and orange and gauzy sky blue, light the way. Everywhere a counter balance of color is assumed, dispersing weight around the plane.

Laurie Gundersen writes in a recent statement:

I am a utilitarian folk artist: a dyer, spinner, weaver, quilter and basket maker. Primarily self-taught, I have explored these various media by diving into materials close at hand. Fascinated by the creative ways of making folk art from scrap, I make textiles reflecting that spirit and my love for blending contemporary designs with traditional techniques.

This collection of small textiles has helped me reflect and remember the people whose work in textiles have inspired me and provided movement in my life. Annie Albers, Lenore Tawney, Mary Hambridge, Randall Darwall, Hiroko Harada & Yoshiko Wada to name a few. Over the past decades my craft has slowly evolved, eventually leaving the art-to-wear movement behind. However, I have been gathering textiles over the last three decades in hopes of constructing art with it. Here is the new beginning of that process.

Gundersen lives and works in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Her studio/showroom is called Appalachian Piecework and is located at the train depot in Staunton.

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