Saturday Night Hartford Outing

Last Saturday was one of the coldest nights we have had in Connecticut.  The day before Valentine’s, which had a record this year of being the coldest Valentine’s Day since they started to record the highs and lows.

But, for one reason or another, we decided it was a good night to take in some culture from around town.

My husband and I put on a bunch of layers and made our way to Hartford’s Artspace gallery.  If you live in CT and don’t know about it or have never been there, you should.  The gallery resides in the first floor of the beautiful apartment building right across the train station in Hartford.  The apartments are beautiful, just the kind I dream about converting into a studio, high ceilings, lots of natural lighting, and a bit of an industrial feel.

The Artspace gallery is volunteer-run by Tao LaBossiere and his wife.  They are both active in the art scene all throughout Hartford County.  And the shows they put on at the gallery are well worth the trip downtown.

Some friends met us at the gallery for the opening exhibition of “Elsewhere” which featured: Andres Chaparro, Hong Hong, Jourdan Joly, Terrance Regan, Sarah Rohlfing, Adam Viens, Amy Vensel.  Let me tell you, this show did not disappoint.

From Chaparro’s emotive and musical mixed media paintings to the simplified paintings but full of depth and texture by Amy Vensel and a great installation piece by my friend Terrance Regan, the show couldn’t have ever let me down.

Check out some of the photos I snapped:

Art in the state of Connecticut

Fall is the time of year known for the abundance of apples growing, the Oktoberfest events happening everywhere, Thanksgiving plans stewing, and the bright alluring colors of the foliage.

If you are an artist you are probably enjoying all these great attributes of the season, but you are also probably very busy creating work for one or multiple autumn art festivals.  For now I am keeping my head afloat with new work, but the first show is coming up in three weeks and there’s still so much to do!

This is the time to get organized to be efficient.

So what is happening in Connecticut that has me excited and busy all at once, you ask?  This year I am first-time participant of Open Studios in Hartford, a city-wide event where.  This will be happening Saturday & Sunday, November 14 & 15, 2015.  There are close to 250 artists participating in this event, it is sure to leave your art yearning satisfied!!

There are 22 locations throughout Hartford that will be featuring art and artists from around the area.  Below is the list of locations with addresses:

#1 Oak Hill Art Studio, 120 Holcombe Street
#2 Hartford Weaving Center, 40 Woodland Street
#3 Connecticut Historical Society, One Elizabeth Street
#4 Venom Vintage & Creative Art Space, 11 Whitney Street
#5 Passages Gallery, 509 Farmington Avenue
#6 Majorca, 2074 Park Street
#7 Arbor Arts Center, 56 Arbor Street
#8 Real Art Ways, 56 Arbor Street
#9 30 Arbor Street, 30 Arbor Street
#10 The Dirt Salon, 50 Bartholomew Avenue
#11 1429 New Park & Bartholomew
#12 Trinity College Fifth Year Fellows, Trinity College
#13 Kempczynski Gallery & Studio, 130 Washington Street
#14 Colt Gateway, 140 Huyshope Avenue
#15 Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts @ Colt Gateway
#16 First Presbyterian Church, 136 Capitol Avenue
#17 Hartford Artisan Showcase, CT Convention Center
#18 Hartford Dada Art Show, Capital Community College, 950 Main
#19 Hartford Prints, 42 1/2 Pratt Street
#19 Lindsey Fyfe Studio, 75 Pratt Street #504
#19 The Tobacco Shop Gallery, 89 Pratt Street
#20 ArtSpace Hartford, 555 Asylum Street
#20 Union Station Great Hall, One Union Place
#22 M. D. Robertson Photo Arts, 69 Myrtle Street C2

Here is a postcard that has been going around, but if you need more information, be sure to check out their website at: openstudiohartford.com/  

Hope to see you there!  I have been working on a lot of new work for this show.  At my table you can find some awesome sculptures, big and little, as well as some great practical pieces like coffee mugs, bowls, pitchers, tumblers, etc.  I want to leave you all wanting more, so come see me at the Colt Gateway (#14)!!

Call for Artists from CAFA

Phew, it’s hard to believe the whole first month of the year is already behind us.  And yet I find myself thinking about June.  Can anyone out there believe I am already thinking about June?!?  As the blizzard cold creeps into the house, I cannot help but wish for the June sun and heat.

So what’s so special about June?

CAFA’s Annual Exhibition opens June 19th at the Mystic Arts Center (MAC) in Mystic, Connecticut.  So what does that mean for artists out there?  Get your art ready, we are already receiving art work submissions online.  Visit: www.ctacademy.org for all the details.

The online entry deadline is April 10, so while you have a little bit of time, those months seem to fly by when you are having fun.  The carry-in entry date is June 14 & 15.

Expect CAFA’s 104th Annual Exhibition to be bigger and better.  Why, you ask?  For starters, we have two great jurors, Jaclyn Conley and Mark Patnode.  Click on their names, check out their websites, you will not be disappointed.  Another reason for bigger and better, we have increased some existing awards and we have added some awards, including President’s Award for $250.

If you are not an artist but are interested in visiting the gallery for an amazingly interesting and diverse collection of art, don’t miss our Awards Reception on July 2, 2015.  Details will be posted here and on our website: www.ctacademy.org, and in the Mystic Arts Center website: www.mysticarts.org.

Good luck to all who enter the competition!

Faculty Exhibition: Visual Recap

Busy Bee Representing CAFA

Yes, I have been very busy going around representing the Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts.  It’s surprising to me the busier I find myself lately the more I try to accomplish.  It’s a damn good feeling.

Since the CAFA website has been up and running there has been some minor tweaks to take care of, but it has been running smoothly.  The exciting part of all this is receiving the submissions for either the 103rd Annual Exhibition, or submission files for artist pages for existing CAFA members.

As much as I must give thanks to my husband for all the technical work done on the website, I have to credit him even more so.  Not only did he design and coded the entire CAFA site, but in the process he has also been advancing my skills in Dreamweaver, Fireworks, and HTML.  If you don’t know by now, I will be a perpetual student because I love to learn.

What’s even more fascinating than adding skills to my résumé is the amazing talent that we have in our CAFA organization.  Having worked closely with the member artists’ artwork images, I have seen some of the coolest and most evocative contemporary artwork.

This past week, CAFA’s president and an advisor of the organization met with me to continue integrating strategies to keep CAFA going strong long after this year’s annual exhibition.  We have many good things brewing for artists and art admirers everywhere.  For now, I am focusing on promoting the 103rd Annual Exhibition to all artists in the country.  By going out to gallery exhibitions and meeting artists is a great way to achieve this, and seeing the art when it’s fresh on the spot is a great added bonus.

As the face of CAFA, I must portray a certain attitude of confidence.  This .pdf CAFA-Exhibitionpromo is one of many future ones that will contain my picture I’m sure, but it features a wide range of information.

Please feel free to share.  Think of any artist you may know in the fields drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, graphics, mixed media, and collage.  The best part is the easy submission online, which mean you can enter wherever you may live in the United States.

With that I leave you in a hurry to get my hands muddy with clay.

Sunil Howlader - Harmony Acrylic on canvas, 30"x42"
Sunil Howlader – Harmony
Acrylic on canvas, 30″x42″

City Gallery Gals

Today, as 100+ million people are watching the Superbowl, I sit here writing about my exciting day and visit to City Gallery in New Haven, CT.

Since I started this blog, I have used certain websites to find art events to attend so that I have content to write about.  Well, I’ve found some good ones that I can use, not only for blog content, but also as an artist.  There are some many more entry call sites that I never knew about.  Also, these websites would be a great place to advertise the shows that happen at CCSU.

Anyway, for today I had set on my calendar an opening exhibition reception that looked promising.  My high school friend Erik came along with my husband and I.  None of us had lunch when we met up so we decided to grab some food on the way there.  We drove to New Haven and parked close to City Gallery on State Street, New Haven, and from there we found a nice little New York-chic restaurant called Oak Heaven Table & Bar.  Our outing was starting on a fantastic note.  With a modern twist for a style, they had a great selection of beer (all bottles at least for now), and a nice wine list.  However, my friend Erik was most interested in the bourbon they had in these miniature cask right on their bar.  I was more interested in the food because I was famished.  They only had a brunch menu but everything on it looked delectable.  I ordered the beet salad and a side of sausage hash.  You could tell, just looking at the ingredients, they are using seasonal vegetables and farmer’s market derived ingredients, as our bartender confirmed.  It’s a place I could go back to every day…guided by my stomach.

Enough about the delicious food — but really, go there if you’re in the New Haven area.

City Gallery was only a couple blocks away, but it felt good walking off the food we had just had.  We walked in the gallery immediately realizing that it’s a small space, and there’s a lot of people.  Only a great sign of good art bringing people together, I thought.  The gallery was painted all white and it felt minimal leading the way to the art.  In the front of the gallery, two gentlemen playing some nice tunes in a jazzy style guitar.  Lately, about 85% of the music I listen to is jazz, so I found myself immersed in the groovy ambiance.

The artists being exhibited were Sheila Kaczmarek and Jane Harris.

Sheila was presenting a collection consisting of ceramic sculptures and some paintings that reflected the clay body of work.  Her sculptures reminded me of an organic material, and it was as if you were walking through a forest of these white growths.  When I saw them within five feet from me I recognized the glaze on the surface of some of her sculptures, she was using mamo white.  The texture of the glaze along with the forms were reminiscent of corals.

2014-02-02 15.10.33
Sheila Kaczmarek

The artist, as it said in her statement provided, was inspired by the grafted, old growth vines that she saw in Northern California.  Her fascination with these forms found their glory in assembling them together.  These sculptures were laid out in the center the widest part of the gallery; they stood on some very simple wide rectangular display pedestals which formed a square doughnut shaped runway for the sculptures.

In all honesty, I enjoyed more looking at her paintings which were interpretations of the same inspiration.  Her two-dimensional work seemed better composed, and more alive such as the one pictured below which feels like a rhythmic dance.  Perhaps it was the dance of the sea, as it was titled after the ekman spirals, which are the sea currents.  The emphasis on color and the contrasting layers of texture caught my attention as I studied this piece.

Sheila Kaczmarek
Sheila Kaczmarek

Sheila and I were introduced, but didn’t get a chance to speak much more than hello because, as half owner the exhibition, she was very busy attending to all her guests.

There was someone nice enough to point me to the other artist Jane Harris.  She was an older lady with a young spirit sitting on the sidelines greeting people as they came by.  I took a seat on the empty chair next to her and introduced myself.  We didn’t chat very long either because she, too, was busy.  She told me that she is originally from Brooklyn, but now lives in Madison, CT.  My next question was about the body of work present in the gallery.  She said it was her most recent work which she works on each Wednesday at the art center in town, on which she relies for the wheel press.

Her mixed media collage/paintings were sophisticated in color and composition.  She maintains a strong balanced design with vertical and horizontal lines, and she adds interest with some old photographs of Brooklyn.  My favorite elements, which she used repeatedly in her work, were a variety of silks and handmade papers which gave the overall scheme a bit of obscurity like the veil on a blushing bride.

Jane Harris
Jane Harris
Jane Harris
Jane Harris

Another detail I liked about Jane Harris’ prints was how she purposely had certain double pressed prints just slightly off register.  This is the artist’s way of tipping her hat to the history of the printing press, which she uses to make her work.  I found all her work quite enthralling, studying layer upon layer of unique material, new and recycled, which she used to assemble her collage.  You can tell her pieces have gone through a long process of change and progress before finding its final placement.

Jane Harris has an Art History degree from Brown University.  She has also studied in the Art Students League of New York, and she has presented solo and collaborated work in CT for the past 15 or so years.  Jane and Sheila have also exhibited together previously.

Jane Harris
Jane Harris
Jane Harris
Jane Harris

All in all, I had an incredible ‘Superbowl Sunday.’  I wouldn’t have done it any other way.  I did, however, take a break to see the half-time show and thought that Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers did a pretty good job entertaining the crowds.  I hope you enjoyed the football game, and I hope that you catch this post and these artists as interesting as I did.