Monday, December 20, 2010

Area shows....

In the flurry of holiday preparations you may, like I did, need to make the time to attend two art shows in the area. A theme of both exhibitions focuses on conceptualizing nature. The Millbrook School galleries have opened with work by Scot Wittman. This solo show explores cloning technology. Based in the New York / Philadelphia metro area, Wittman chairs a department at Rutgers Prep school in New Jersey and is president of ISAIA, (Independent School Art Instructors Association). Wittman’s map silhouette series blends the humorous, the charming, and the grotesque in aesthetically pleasing combinations of crisp glossy surface isolated on buff pristine sheets of paper. A small sampling of isolated images of state birds cut from city maps provides commentary on the nation’s varying cloning laws, with audio elements included. Viewers are invited to hear the birdcalls and fruitless phone calls from each location. The exhibition included varied installations such as a hanging sculpture, chocolate covered skeleton, large-scale photography, live video-feed, and Houdini memorabilia. According to the statement, Wittman visited stem cell institutes in the United States and Europe to collect stories and rare documentation. Available were business type cards with his Twitter name, where you can search or follow his tweets of breaking stem cell news… like the oldest living tree, and the immortality of Henrietta Lack. Really, a glut of information fuels the imagery and promises the viewer interest in trivial, significant and, because it is art: aesthetic merit. Whether Wittman is an advocate or a critic of cloning remains unclear. The presentation straddles art and science and is held in both the Warner Gallery and the MASC (Math and Science Center) Gallery. The galleries are open: 8AM - 4PM, Monday through Friday and 8AM - 1PM on Saturdays.

Another art show of interest is at the Eckert Gallery, across the border in Kent, CT. When I arrived the gallery was crowded with smiling viewers, and the streets seemed full of people on their way there. In the center of the space Gabrielle Vallarino of Millbrook displayed her assembled natural stone jewelry. Vallarino, creator of Circa Designs, goes south to collect her semi-precious stones and exotic pearls. She finds the unusual, such as white egg-shaped Turquoise and Picture Jasper with miniature landscape-like inclusions. She embraces the overlooked by collecting sticks and then casting them in bronze. These casts as well as cast stones are combined in unique and fairly musical strands, adding another meaning to her name for the jeweled series- Brass Fusion.

On the back wall hang exquisite botanical watercolors by Jessica Tcherpine, also of Millbrook. Her wreaths of flowers and delicate nest are beautifully rendered and composed. She is well published and has served as founding member of the American Society of Botanical artists and is a director of the Horticultural Society of New York. Her work is renowned on both sides of the Atlantic. She is a master. Tcherpine does not have a website and to see her work you have this great opportunity to go to the gallery.

The show will run through December 31, 2010. Eckert Fine Art–Connecticut is located in the Kent Town Center at 27 North Main Street in Kent, CT. The gallery is open Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Sunday from Noon – 5:00 p.m.

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