Buddha among the subjects of new art show

The works of Wilton resident Jill Morton and 11 other NEST Arts Factory members will be on display during Wilton Library’s NEST Art Exhibition, sponsored by The Wilton Bulletin, this June.

The NEST Arts Factory is a community of artists inspired by their surroundings in a
reimagined factory building in Bridgeport. The group’s mission is to “showcase and nurture artists, musicians, and the creative process” and “provide a unique and inspiring environment to explore and discover art and music while enabling artists and musicians to experiment and collaborate across disciplines and media.”

Wilton Library will hold a free, public opening reception for the exhibition on Friday, June 1, from 6 to 7:30.

Featured will be 70 works of art by Morton and fellow NEST artists:

  • Bridgeport residents Carlos Davila, Jane Davila and Meighan Morrison;

  • Easton residents Patrice Barrett and Kristin Merrill;

  • Fairfield resident Kristen Ambrosi;

  • Monroe resident Susan Taylor Murray;

  • Oxford resident Gwen Hendrix;

  • Redding residents Denise Susalka and Janice Sweetwater;

  • Westport resident Phyllis Lee.

Their works showcase a diversity of media, including watercolor, oil, acrylic, pastel, graphics, mixed media, sculpture and framed jewelry; with subject matter that incorporates a wide range of styles, including portraits, still life, abstracts, botanicals and landscapes.

Through her painting of Buddha, Morton said, she is “trying recreate the peacefulness and beauty” she sees when she looks at “certain Buddha sculptures.”

“Having travelled throughout Asia many years ago, I still have wonderful memories of visiting temples and seeing Buddhas everywhere,” said Morton, a Wilton resident and art teacher in the Darien Public School District.

“My first painting of Buddha came from observing a garden statue of Buddha my husband brought home a few years ago. Feeling satisfied with the results of Buddha in a still-life painting, I began other works with more curiosity, and thus Buddha became this unintended muse.”

Morton said she looks for inspiration by searching for images of Buddha online and looking in museum collections.

“Re-presenting the image of Buddha two-dimensionally to the viewer in different colors … makes me feel excited and experimental with my medium,” she said.

Morton said she enjoys using acrylics because she can make thin waves “like watercolor.”

“I splash, spray and roll the color around on the canvas ,which is how I first start to create a ground for my Buddha,” she said. “When dry, I begin my preliminary sketch directly on the canvas.”

Morton said her goal is to translate "some of the solitude and beauty” of Buddha into her painting.

The NEST Art Exhibition will run through June 28 and be open during regular library hours. The library will be closed on Sundays beginning June 24.

Most of the works will be available to purchase with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the library. Information: www.wiltonlibrary.org, 203-762-6334.

To learn more about the NEST Arts Factory, visit nestartsfactory.com.