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Joe Fig, Petah Coyne: May 9, 2013, 2014, Mixed media, 17 3/4" x 21 1/4" x 21 1/4". Courtesy of Tierney Gardarin Gallery

NEW/NOW: Joe Fig
Apr. 19–July 20, 2014
Opening Reception
3:30-5 p.m., Sunday, Apr. 27, 2014
Artist's remarks at 4 p.m.
followed by book signing

When walking through a museum it is easy to forget that the perfectly hung paintings and well-lit sculptures are products of a long and arduous process. They are the end results of many moments of creative inspiration, but also a myriad of physical and logistical details. It is these details—aspects of an artist’s daily routine—that motivated the artist Joe Fig to embark on a life-long exploration of the working lives of his fellow professional artists. This exhibition, entitled NEW/NOW: JOE FIG, presents a series of sculptures and paintings representing the studios of some of today’s leading contemporary artists, including Petah Coyne, Tara Donovan and Ursula Von Rydingsvard. All of the artists represented are women working in the New York area, and each portrait reflects the intimacies and subtleties of who they are as people and what they do as artists.

Fig visits and interviews each artist in order to fully and accurately document their process. This allows for a rare look into the self-made universe of the artist’s studio. The resulting artworks are both a celebration of the wonders of the creative process and a revelation regarding the rather mundane tasks involved in making art. Fig’s process of documentation and translation gradually evolves into a portrait of the artist and her creative process.

Joe Fig's studio is in Collinsville, Connecticut. His work has been exhibited extensively throughout the United States and his sculptures, paintings and photographs can be found in numerous museums, including the Parrish Art Museum, the Norton Museum and the Fogg Art Museum. His acclaimed book Inside the Painter’s Studio explores the day-to-day practicalities of 24 leading contemporary artists and is currently in its sixth printing. He received both his BFA and MFA from the School of Visual Arts and is represented by Tierney Gardarin Gallery in New York.

The NEW/NOW Series is made possible by the generous support of Marzena and Greg Silpe.


Sholes & Glidden, Decorated, 1876, 15 x 16 x 16 in., Collection of Greg Fudacz

Click! Clack! Ding!
The American Typewriter
Mar. 8–June 1, 2014
Opening Reception
5:30-7:30 p.m., Thursday, Mar. 13, 2014

This exhibition will include over 20 machines and wartime badges that span nearly 100 years, dating from 1873 to 1966. All the typewriters are American made, with a focus on models built in Connecticut. One of the highlights to be displayed is a Sholes and Glidden dated 1876, three years after the first commercially successful typewriter was produced. There were 3,000 decorated models that were originally made by Remington at their sewing machine factory in Ilion, NY. Roughly 200 of these rare and extremely desirable machines have been found as of today.

A typewriter is not only an object of precision and design, but a tool used to communicate ideas. During the Industrial Revolution, as more and more of the population became educated, the need to communicate to an increasingly educated population made the typewriter an indispensable tool to produce text more quickly. When typewriters were first introduced, design was an important element; they were expensive so they needed to be attractive as objects.

Collector Greg Fudacz looks for attractive, well-built and well-designed machines that are hard to come by. What he finds most thrilling about collecting, is the hunt. He confesses “Letting them go is hard, if I have three or four of anything, I want more.”

Expect to fall in love with these once common household and workplace machines all over again.


 


James Prosek (b. 1975), Blue Marlin, 2011, Watercolor, graphite, gouache, and mica powder on tea-stained paper, 60 x 180 in., New Britain Museum of American Art, Grant from the Richard P. Garmany Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, 2012.07

James Prosek: Wondrous Strange
Feb. 22–June 8, 2014
Opening Reception
2-3:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 22
Artist remarks at 2:30 p.m.

James Prosek: Wondrous Strange is the first exhibition to bring together the multi-faceted, multi-media works of James Prosek—painting, sculpture and installation.

James Prosek’s work takes its inspiration from the long tradition of natural history painting; from animal depictions on cave walls to the works of Albrecht Dürer, William Blake, and John James Audubon. His contemporary influences are wide-ranging, from Lee Bontecou and Mark Dion to Martin Puryear and Eero Saarinen. In particular, Prosek’s work is conceptually focused on how we name and order nature, including the limitations of language in describing biological diversity. His art challenges us to reflect on how our culture, our priorities, and our values are manifested in systems we use to classify and harness nature.

The paintings, monumental watercolors, and sculptures in the exhibition range from realistic to fanciful, though all are rendered with meticulous precision and detail. Many are the result of extensive travel, collecting trips and biological expeditions to places as distant
and diverse as Suriname and Kyrgyzstan. Ultimately, it’s the realms that science cannot quantify or solve and the power of personal experience that are Prosek’s fertile ground.

A native of Easton, Connecticut, Prosek graduated from Yale University and is a writer and naturalist in addition to being an artist. His work has recently been exhibited at the Addison Gallery of American Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the National Academy of Sciences, among many other institutions. His documentary film The Mystery of Eels debuted on PBS in 2013.

This exhibition is made possible by a grant from the Richard P. Garmany Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving



Soo Sunny Park Concept

Soo Sunny Park
Opening Reception
2-3:30 p.m., Sunday, Mar. 9, 2014

The Museum is delighted to announce plans to unveil the third site-specific installation for February 2014 to animate the LeWitt Family Staircase where undulating, effervescent abstract forms seemingly float above the staircase landing. The artist, Soo Sunny Park, is known for creating otherworldly, immersive installations that transform their environments into seas of dancing light, reflection and shadow. Her proposal for the LeWitt Family Staircase is no exception.

As the artist explains, “The space will be filled with sinuous, large, sprawling structures on two opposing walls (units composed of weaving of metal grid and clear, iridescent, “edge glowing” Plexi glass), which transmit, reflect, and refract light while the painted dark walls of the gallery are enclosed with images that echo the shadows and reflections of the gleaming sculpture. The images are articulated with charcoal and graphite.” Changing light conditions will reveal different facets of the sculpture, so that during different times of day it will be transformed from translucent and clear to colorful and prismatic. The installation will harness daylight and artificial light as mediums with which to create, blurring the line between the physical drawing and the light drawing.

Born in Seoul, South Korea, Soo Sunny Park received her BFA in painting and sculpture from Columbus College of Art & Design in Columbus, Ohio and a MFA in sculpture from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Park is a recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA Grant; Grand Prize winner of the 19th Annual Michigan Fine Arts Competition; The Helen Foster Barnett Prize, National Academy Museum, New York; Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture residency, Skowhegan, Maine; Cité Internationale des Arts studio residency, Paris, France, and the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Arts & Literary Arts Residency, Bellagio, Italy.

Her most recent installations are Capturing Resonance (2011–12), created with composer Spencer Topel for the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts, and Unwoven Light (2013) for Rice Gallery in Houston, Texas. Park lives and works in Hanover, New Hampshire, where she is Associate Professor of Studio Art at Dartmouth College.



The artist's concept sketch for The Fallen Sky Chronicles: You and What Army? in the NBMAA's New Media nook

New Media: Ivan Toth Depeña
Dec. 14, 2013–Apr. 20, 2014

Ivan Toth Depeña has created a multi-sensory installation using custom software to abstract a group of images mined from the Internet. These images were randomly selected by Google-searching the key words "rainbow" and "spectrum." The software loads the images, examines their color information, "unwraps" them pixel by pixel and finally rearranges them into gradients of color. These pixel gradients are then displayed sequentially in the order that the images are loaded and played at a predetermined rate.

In addition to examining the idea of chance, this project also explores the concept and experience of "synesthesia." Synesthesia can be defined as "a neurological condition in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway." In this case, the color information from each of the "rainbow" images is used to directly affect audio, creating a surreal collision of sound and image. Judy Garland's Over the Rainbow is sped up, slowed down and scrambled according to the hue and saturation of the colors being displayed on the screen. The title deals with our inherent compulsion to understand and often recreate the undefinable aspects of our realities, natural phenomena, and universe.

Based out of Brooklyn, Depeña studied art, architecture and graphic design at Pratt Institute and the University of Miami. He earned his M.Arch. from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. His recent projects include a number of exciting public art commissions in Florida and Colorado. His work has been shown throughout the U.S., including at the Frost Museum of Art, Miami; School of Visual Arts in New York City; Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale; and the Miami Art Museum.



Joseph Nawahi, View of Hilo Bay, Hawaii, detail, ca 1868–70, Oil on canvas, 20 x 36 in., Collection of Melinda and Paul Sullivan.

Aloha: Hawaiian Art and Artifacts from the Sullivan Collection
Nov. 30, 2013–Mar. 2, 2014
Low Illustration Gallery ends April 27, 2014
Opening Reception
2 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013
Remarks at 2:30 p.m.

Traveling nearly 5,000 miles from Hawaii to the New Britain Museum of American Art, the Sullivan Collection will present a cross section of the culture, beauty, and history of the Islands of Aloha. Despite the geographical distance between Connecticut and Hawaii, the two states' histories intertwined beginning in the 1820s, when many Connecticut missionary families such as the Lymans, Coans, Cookes, Wilcoxes, and Baldwins came to the Islands.

Longtime Museum benefactors Melinda and Paul Sullivan have carefully collected works from a wide range of artists, mediums, and contexts over the years. Selections from their extensive holdings of historical and contemporary works include paintings, works on paper, furniture, and crafts spanning over two centuries of Hawaii’s vibrant history.

Eighteenth-century engravings by John Webber (1751–1793) depict the islands as they appeared when English explorer Captain James Cook reached Hawaii in 1778. Other pieces also capture the Western impression of the Islands, but most celebrate the state’s natural beauty through the eyes of native artists.

One of the highlights of the Collection is a nineteenth-century oil painting by artist, politician, scholar and activist Joseph N¯awahi (1842–1896). Although he received no formal art training, N¯awahi became the first Hawaiian-born artist to paint in a naturalistic “Western” style.

Other treasures such as quilts made in the traditional Hawaiian style, furniture crafted of native Koa wood and shell necklaces from the remote island of Niihau will also be on display. Visitors will have the opportunity to travel through more than 200 years of history, as well as become acquainted with artists living and working in the Aloha State today.

Selections from the Sullivan Collection offer a rare glimpse into the art and history of the Islands of Aloha.

 

© 2010 New Britain Museum of American Art.
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