Six women, six views of art

Perhaps the first thing you need to know about The Winter Show, which opens at Wilton Library with a reception on Friday evening, Jan. 23, from 6 to 7:30, is that it has nothing to do with the season. What it does have a lot to do with is color, form and a variety of subject matter.

Fully titled The Winter Show — Six Women Artists, it features the work of six women, five of whom have exhibited in the library’s summer exhibitions. Ed MacEwen, who manages the library’s art shows, said he was impressed with all their work. “There was some good contrast,” he said. “These six, I felt, worked well together and make a very interesting show.”

There are four women from Wilton: Joan Bepler, Katya Lebrija, Renée Santhouse, and Kathleen Wrampe, as well as Marion Pershan, who hails from New York and Florida but visits often because her daughter Diana Moskowitz lives here, and Berenice Pliskin of Peekskill, N.Y.

Kathleen Wrampe’s work is all about color, line and strokes on a canvas.

“Most are on a painted white background and from there I choose my palette,” she told The Bulletin. “I don’t have a preconceived idea, it’s more intuitive. Gestures and color speak to me, and that’s how I manage the painting.”

When she’s done, she puts each painting aside for a few days and sees if it needs more color, a different color or something else. “Then I finish up,” she said.

Although she and her husband, Peter, have lived in Wilton 35 years, the two have traveled internationally and have lived for years at a time in other cities, including Rio de Janeiro, Singapore, Shanghai, and Dusseldorf. They are all in the back of her mind, she said, when she starts painting and chooses her colors.

“I really started painting in Singapore,” she said, where she took watercolor classes. Back in the United States, she continued watercolor study at the Silvermine Arts Center. She found watercolor too representational, “so I went to acrylics and that gave me the opportunity to go more into the abstract,” she said.

She mixes her colors on the canvas, as opposed to her palette, which gives them a certain appearance.

“I wanted to do something that looks far away as one thing, but then when you get up close you realize you didn’t see all the goodies in there,” she said.

The white borders around each painting are a holdover from her watercolor days.

“A white mat gives it a whole different look,” she said. “I wanted to give it that feeling — it could have been but isn’t.” More of Ms. Wrampe’s work may be seen at

South of the border

It’s all about color for Katya Lebrija, who will show 10 canvases from her Urban Colors series. Done in mixed media — acrylics and collage — the series is about “buildings and doors and windows and those kinds of images,” she said. Urban themes “attract me and have a story in them,” she added.

In a statement about her work she said, “As a graphic designer, I was trained to observe everything around me and to always look for interesting shapes, colors, shadows, and lines everywhere I go. … I want the viewer to have a conversation with the painting and discover different stories in it. I believe that each piece communicates the joy, noise and colors that we find in daily life.”

Ms. Lebrija is a native of Mexico City, and the bright colors she uses “come from inside me,” she said. “I don’t know if it is because I miss my country and my culture.” After completing her series on buildings, she is working on a series on ladders and another on bicycles.

Ms. Lebrija moved to the United States from Mexico with her husband, Carlos, 15 years ago. After living in Norwalk they moved to Wilton six years ago. In addition to the weather, she said, a big change was living more independently here.

“You can get more help in Mexico City,” she said. “That was a huge change, but now that I am used to it I love it. I find myself more independent because I do things for myself. … I am more confident about doing things.

“I became more handy,” she added with a laugh.

A teacher at Regina Pacis Academy in Norwalk, she has a website at


Joan Bepler, who grew up in Wilton and has lived here on and off her entire life, has been involved in art most of her life, having been inspired by a Wilton High School teacher. She has exhibited extensively in mixed media collage work in both juried and solo shows, but she also loves to draw. With a background of working with people in art therapy and teaching art, moving on to portraiture appealed to her. She will show a collection of portraits in this show.

“Some are friends of family and some are models,” she said of her subjects. “I’m interested in people in general. I’m not interested in doing an idealized portrait, I’m just trying to see the way someone looks and something about them of interest.”

In her statement she said, “People continually fascinate me; the way they look as well as who they are beneath the surface. Creating a portrait is a process of contemplating the image of a person and the personality that is embodied there. There is a collaboration that occurs, an interchange, which is extremely personal and different from creating any other form of art. Through portraiture I try to explore the ever-compelling quality of human nature and the beauty of the human form in a simple and straightforward way. While I am inspired by the clarity of vision in classical portraiture, I hope to create portraits that reflect a sense of people of our own time.”

Ms. Bepler learned earlier this week that a painting she entered in the Faces and Figures show at the Stamford Art Association will receive an honorable mention.

Renée Santhouse, who divides her time between Wilton and California, explores through her work the abstraction and celebration of earthscapes, geological formations and dramatic events in time, based on history and on-site exploration. Her original prints in the exhibition use the artistic process of monotype, a free-form technique that requires quick execution, and emphasizes atmosphere and color. Her paintings on canvas are executed en plein air using acrylics, and subsequently modified in the studio.

Marion Pershan has been painting and drawing for more than six decades. While in high school she had drawings printed in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle newspaper and later worked as an art coordinator and   teacher within the New York City public school system.

Berenice Pliskin paints on silk and has exhibited in area shows for nearly 20 years. She is a member of the National Association of Women in the Arts, Katonah Museum Artist Association and Surface Design Association.

Information: 203-762-3950 or