Summer Show brings out the art in Wilton

Jeannette Ross photos
It’s no doubt there are many talented people in Wilton, and the work of about 90 of them is on display at Wilton Library’s Summer Show, which opened July 14 and will run through Aug. 23. The show is a celebration of the work of artists from Wilton.

“This is one of the best shows … it’s just terrific,” said Ed MacEwen, the library’s art director and the show’s curator. There were 117 submissions encompassing works in oil, watercolor, acrylics, pastels, colored pencil, pen and ink, and charcoal, as well as prints, mixed media, collage, needlework, clay, cardboard and wire sculptures, as well as one work in “discarded PVC jewel cases.”

That last piece was one of two works entered by MacEwen.

“It’s my first piece of sculpture,” he said with a smile. MacEwen’s wife, Jan, volunteers with the library’s book sales and often people think they are donating CDs, but the cases turn out to be empty.

“I told her not to throw them away,” he said. “I had this idea.”

Tower Triptich — Shapes, Stripes, Curves is the result, three colorful towers, like skyscrapers in miniature.

MacEwen’s work is not the only arresting piece in the show and he would be the first to direct a visitor’s attention to the circulation desk where an eye-catching portrait, “Stephanie,” and a very large charcoal rendering of a vintage Volkswagen Beetle hang.

The Beetle was drawn by Erik Kaeyer, an architect with an office in Mount Kisco, N.Y. The sizeable drawing is the result of his picking up drawing again just six months ago.

Like most architects who studied before computers were widely used, Kaeyer needed to be adept at drawing by hand. Why did he go back to it?

“Architecture takes a very long time,” he said. It can be three to five years before a plan comes to fruition, if at all.

With art, however, “I can sit down, clear my head, and focus on the design at hand in hours or days and have a product and feel a sense of accomplishment,” he said.

The Volkswagen was his first car. “It was my grandmother’s car and I inherited it,” he said of the model he drove in his hometown of Bedford, N.Y.

“One of the fun challenges of [drawing] cars is the metal and glass have sheen. Charcoal is flat. The reflections in the headlamps and bumpers make it pop,” he said.

While the original is not for sale, he is selling prints on paper and eventually would like to print it on metal. “Then it will really punch,” he said.

Kaeyer is considering doing a series on iconic vehicles like a vintage Mustang or Harley.

Sean Keating

“Stephanie” is an entry by Sean Keating, but another, more arresting work greets visitors who walk through the library’s reference room. It is his self-portrait.

Owner of a landscaping company by day, Keating has been painting for 16 years. While his work lets him “create in nature,” art “occupies a more spiritual aspect of myself.”

Keating started with watercolor but gravitated toward oil for its “magnitude.” He quoted a past mentor who likened oil to a “true love” while watercolor was more like a new romance, exciting but unpredictable.

He has had no formal artistic training save for growing up in a family where the arts were important. His late father was the actor Charles Keating, his mother, the actress-singer Mary Keating.

Scanning the gallery walls he remarked that it was “amazing how many painters there are in Wilton.

“We all face the same challenge — a blank canvas. We are all trying to say something. Every painting is autobiographical.”

Because he is outdoors all day, Keating prefers to paint people, although he turns them around when he is working on a portrait because there are “too many voices.”

Unlike painting portraits on commission, where a certain amount of flattery is required, a self-portrait, Keating said, is “very freeing” although “trying to get to something that says something meaningful is the hard part. It’s more about what you go through to make the picture.”