The second annual winter “Mix It Up” show hosted by the Sharon Historical Society in the Litchfield Hills of Connecticut will juxtapose portraits by seven contemporary artists with five portraits from the museum collection by well-known folk artist Ammi Phillips (1788-1865). The exhibit runs through February 27th.
This year’s “Mix It Up” exhibit is designed to challenge the viewer to visually travel from early nineteenth century folk portraits of local Sharon residents painted by Phillips to contemporary portraits painted by Sharon (and other local) artists. Phillips, known locally by various monikers including the “Kent Limner”, painted in the Northwest Corner of Connecticut in the mid-1830s. By that time he was well established as an artist of some note, painting his first portraits probably as early as 1809/1810 in the area of Pittsfield, MA. Phillips painted at least five residents of the town of Sharon, Calvin and Phoebe Dowd Day, John Cotton Smith, and Ira and Melissa Williams. It is extremely likely that there are more Phillips’ portraits of Sharon residents in private collections, unsigned and/or unidentified. An exhibit featuring 26 of his portraits was organized and curated by the Sharon Historical Society and presented at the Tremaine Gallery of the Hotchkiss School in 1999.
In this exhibit all five Phillips portraits in the museum collection will be hung side-by-side with contemporary works by Duncan Hannah, Pieter Lefferts, Patty Mullins, Robert Andrew Parker, Warren Prindle, Richard T. Scott, and Peter Steiner. The exhibit hopes to challenge the viewer to evaluate the meaning of portraiture beyond the realm of “work of art”, and into the role of portrait as visual entrée into the historic record.
The Sharon Historical Society and Museum is located at 18 Main Street, Sharon, Connecticut 06069. For more information, call 860-364-5688 or visit http://www.sharonhist.org/.
Museum Hours are Wednesday & Saturday from 10AM – 2PM, Thursday & Friday from 10AM – 4PM and by appointment.
For information on the Litchfield Hills of Connecticut www.litchfieldhills.com