Wilton’s Spivak takes top prize in New Canaan show

Of 400 works of art submitted by 129 artists for consideration in the SPECTRUM exhibition in New Canaan, 80 paintings, sculptures, works on paper, and mixed media works were accepted.

Of those, Wilton artist Marcia Spivak’s steel sculpture, Second Chance, that of a horse with a raised foreleg, was singled out for the top prize by juror Dr. Jill Deupi. Ms. Spivak will receive the Betty Barker Best in Show award at the exhibition’s opening reception Friday, April 26, from 5:30 to 7:30 at the Carriage Barn Arts Center in Waveny Park. The reception is free and the community is invited.

“This is very exciting for me,” Ms. Spivak told The Bulletin. Two years ago she won first prize in the sculpture class.

“Usually painting gets it,” she said of the top prize, “so it is very exciting.”

“Spivak’s work has the cadence of a galloping horse racing the wind,” Dr. Deupi said in her comments. “We feel the power and kinetic authority of this magisterial creature as it pauses to gracefully lift its foreleg before disappearing over the horizon. In this, the artist has created magic — hitting the creative “sweet spot” that seamlessly melds tremendous technical skill with intelligence and sensitivity.  Brava!”

Dr. Deupi is founding director and chief curator of the Bellarmine Museum of Art at Fairfield University.

Ms. Spivak has been sculpting for 16 years. She works with steel, and Second Chance is primarily found steel with some cut pieces she had on hand after a commission.

It is so named, she said, because she began working on it a few years ago and left it unfinished. She went back to it late last year and it took her five months to create. She did all the welding herself on the piece, which measures about 72 inches by 48 inches by 14 inches, between one-half and three-fourths life size.

A rider since she was a young child, Ms. Spivak works on her abstract horses from memory and imagination. “Sometimes I’ll look at a pictures to check the conformation,” she said.

Ms. Spivak didn’t begin her artistic journey as a sculptor. She started out in painting and printmaking. She discovered an artist who did horse sculpture that she fell “wildly in love with,” and that got her started.

“The first piece of metal sculpture I made, I wanted to see if I knew intuitively … inside somehow I did know. … I started more abstract and got more realistic. This piece,” she said referring to Second Chance, “has less negative space than the work I usually do.”

Those who attended Project Return’s Birdhouse Auction at Rolling Hills Country Club earlier this month saw something different from Ms. Spivak. For that event she made a tall, elegant sculpture of a bird that was purchased for $4,200. While she is by no means abandoning her equestrian sculpture, she’s going to work on another bird for a friend, she said.

“It was sort of a hobby at one point,” Ms. Spivak said of her sculpture. “Now it’s a full-time job. It’s what I do and what I like to do.”

Images of Ms. Spivak’s work may be found online at marciaspivak.artspan.com. She has shown her work at many area galleries, including the Handwright Gallery, the Carriage Barn and Silvermine Gallery in New Canaan, Picture This in Westport, the Bearsford Gallery in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., Prince Street Gallery in New York City, and Lyme Art Association in Lyme. Currently she has a piece on loan at the governor’s mansion in Hartford and the Stamford Arboretum.

Now in its 24th year, SPECTRUM is presented by the New Canaan Society for the Arts and will run through May 24.

Information: carriagebarn.org or 203-972-1895.