From cars to crabs, Wilton Library art show is diverse
WILTON — Two series of paintings — one a study of horseshoe crabs and the other featuring the Merritt Parkway — are among the 71 works of art lining Wilton Library’s walls in the show, Harvest of Hues, that opened Nov. 15 and will run through Jan. 2.
The artists featured are Randi Jane Davis, Drew Lambert, Cynthia Mullins, Kelly Rossetti, Dennis Stevens, Trish Wend and Susan Acker Yun. Unlike some of the library’s other shows, which often feature groups of artists that are connected to a studio, these artists came independently to the attention of Ed MacEwen, the library’s art director.
“All the artists had shown an interest in showing here,” MacEwen said at the opening reception. He said once or twice a year he mounts a show in this way after visiting each artist and evaluating their work.
He believes this show, which ranges from the realistic to the abstract done in a variety of mediums, is “extremely good.”
“When you hang a show, it’s so important what’s next to each other so they don’t clash in terms of color, composition or subject matter,” he said. He also avoids grouping the works of each artist, but this time he was faced with two series and he could not see any other way to present them.
Wilton artist Drew Lambert’s series of eight paintings called Horseshoe Bay was inspired by his summer vacations as a child on Cape Cod.
“There were horseshoe crabs all over the place,” he said. “I collected them as a kid.”
The shells that make up these three-dimensional works of art Lambert collected in Westport.
“I started playing around with color combinations,” he said. Each shell, painted a deep, bright pink, is on a blue and white background intended to create a sense of motion.
“I’ve never seen them used in this way,” Lambert said. He tried different colors — silver and blue — but said the pink “leapt off the canvas. I really wanted bright colors.”
This is the first show for Lambert, who was recently accepted into the St. Philip Artists’ Guild (SPAG) in Norwalk. He is so happy with the series he is thinking of doing a single larger piece.
“Depending on the time of year, you can find crabs of all sizes,” he said.
A card on the wall by the series explains that no crabs were harmed since Lambert used only shells the crabs had shed.
Artists have been known to paint on many things, but it is probably safe to say Cynthia Mullins’ Merritt Parkway series is the first at Wilton Library to include hubcaps as a canvas.
“I have driven the Merritt either with my parents or alone for a lot of my life,” Mullins said. She finished a few paintings and had a show at the Merritt Parkway Conservancy where she discovered how beloved the parkway is by many. She has since completed about 43 oil paintings of it over 10 years.
Like many, she appreciates the beauty of the parkway and the artistry of the bridges. “Every one is different,” she said.
The hubcaps she paints on are stainless steel by Saab, which she finds on e-Bay. Each one has been on a car.
The Ridgefield artist also does contemporary florals, and she has several examples in the library show. One piece, Silver & Black VII, is of black oil on silver board that she painted with a squeegee.
Odyssey of Irises is a combination of squeegee work and meticulous hand painting.
“I like painting flowers because they offer malleability,” she said. “I can move and arrange them any way I want.”
Originally a teacher of the hearing-impaired, Mullins took up painting in earnest 20 years ago. A member of the Ridgefield Guild of Artists and Silvermine, she views it as her “second or third career.”
Randi Jane Davis, also from Ridgefield, views herself as a storyteller, comfortable painting scenes of New York City as well as third-world countries.
She found a “wonderful story” on a trip to Cuba with Plein Air magazine.
“You set up and paint outside for three hours, you’re paying homage to the life of the community. There’s beauty there,” she said. “You’re making it something special.”
“For me, third-world countries, where the people are struggling, is a much stronger story,” she said.
Last year, she connected with an NGO in Cambodia and taught art at a school at Angkor Wat. She is returning to Cambodia next year.
But she doesn’t have to go around the world to tell compelling stories. “New York has everything,” she said, from crowds to carousels.
“A lot of times I’ll paint the disconnect, how social media has come into our lives, how people are alone,” she said. “To go around and tell stories is important for our society.”
A majority of the works on display are for sale, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the library. For information, visit www.wiltonlibrary.org or call 203-762-3950.