Discovering the “New World”: Maps & Sea Charts from the Age of Exploration

There is a time honored fascination with maps and sea charts. The new exhibition at the Bruce Museum is featuring maps to be admired… not for navigation!
This exhibition features more than thirty maps and charts dated between 1511 and the 1757. The maps — woodcuts or metal-plate engravings, many with original hand-applied color — represent Renaissance-period attempts by European ateliers to edify their clientele by revealing our “new” hemisphere and its approaches, as discoveries and claims came ashore from those daring enough to pack their sea bags and head for the unknown.

Today, we live in routine harmony, with cartography: on television and the Web; in newspapers, books and magazines. Satellite maps signify weather; detail maps illustrate locales of crucial events; GPS screens send us, often correctly, to new locales. On land, at sea, and in the air—digitized geography helps deliver goods and people everywhere, often without human intervention.

It was not always so. More than five hundred years ago, two European empires began daringly (and competitively) seeking the most efficient seaborne routes to the riches of Arabia and The Orient—Spain sailing west; Portugal sailing east. Mapmakers back home (nearly all landlubbers happy to sit by the fire) scrambled to gather the latest explorers’ reports to enable them to draw up-to-date maps, print them as separate sheets, and sell them largely to the wealthy as bound atlases—massive compendia that glorified leather-filled libraries and enriched cultural reputations.

But much of the news sent home was erroneous, owing to imperfect navigation, honest misreadings of reality, or deliberate misrepresentations. (As he wandered around the Caribbean Sea, for example, Columbus believed he had found India.) Altogether, these factors make historic “New World” maps a fascinating study in geographic and human progress—and occasional regression.

The Bruce Museum is open Tuesday – Sunday 10 am – 5 pm, Doors close 1/2 hour before closing, and the last admission is at 4:30 pm. For additional information call 203-869-0376 or visit https://brucemuseum.org.

For area information www.visitfairfieldcountyct.com

Rick Shaefer Draws the Line at Housatonic Museum of Art

The Housatonic Museum of Art presents Rick Shaefer: Drawing the Line on view in the Burt Chernow Galleries, 900 Lafayette Blvd., Bridgeport, CT, from February 12 through March 27, 2015 with a reception open to the public on February 12 from 5:30-7:00 pm. The Burt Chernow Galleries are free and open seven days a week. Visit the website, www.HousatonicMuseum.org for gallery hours.

LIVE OAKS

Drawing is essential to the training of an artist. It is the most direct medium between the artist and his observations, thoughts, feelings and experiences—serving both as a record and as a revealer of truth. Drawing is both a cognitive and manual process that provides the foundation for painting, sculpture and architecture. Fairfield artist Rick Shaefer’s monumental, breath-taking drawings offer viewers an adventure in looking with his technically precise and visually poetic drawings of animals and nature.

At first glance, it is clear that Shaefer has more than a passing acquaintance with works of art across time. Of all the masters he has studied, it is Albrecht Durer that has influenced him most. In the 16th century, the natural world of animals and plants had become the focus of scientific and cultural interest as explorers returned from far-flung places carrying examples and illustrations of exotic new species. One of Durer’s best known pen drawings, Rhinoceros, 1515, demonstrates the artist’s fascination with recording the curiosities and wonders of the world. Paradoxically, Shaefer’s own African Rhinoceros, beautifully rendered in rich charcoal on vellum, comes full circle by documenting what now may be the waning days of these magnificent beasts.

BELGIAN BLUE

Shaefer’s trees, crowned with leaves or barren and in varying states of decay, are densely detailed and sensitively modeled through the use of tonal gradations. Majestic oaks and tangled vines allow the artist to mine the sculptural properties of a charcoal line, expressing not only what he observes but how he feels. A dramatic narrative unfolds before the eye, compelling the viewer to travel along through the light and into the shadows.

And, like the rhinoceros, these powerful and confident drawings circle around a common theme: the effects of human activity on nature. Climate change specifically could lead to the massive destruction of forests as well as the extinction of countless species. Global warming has led to the increase of forest fires as well as a proliferation of pests and diseases. Rick Shaefer: Drawing the Line looks to the rich tradition of drawing in order to explore the critical issues of our time.

For area event information www.visitfairfieldcountyct.com

Delightful, Delicious, Disgusting: Paintings by Mia Brownell 2003-2013 at the Housatonic Museum of Art

Twenty-eight of Mia Brownell’s paintings will be on display at the Housatonic Museum of Art in the Burt Chernow Galleries from through November 17, 2014. Luscious and sensuous, Mia Brownell’s paintings invite us to indulge in “earthly delights” and are themselves ripe with sexual innuendo.

SLwDoubleDoubleBIG

What Brownell asks us to contemplate is the brevity of life. “We begin in the madness of carnal desire and the transport of voluptuousness,” wrote the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, “we end in the dissolution of all our parts and the musty stench of corpses.” Seventeenth century Dutch still life paintings of tables laden with gastronomic delights served to remind viewers that all things perish but Brownell’s fruits invite us to relish the sweetness of now.

Although Mia Brownell’s paintings “may recall classical Vanitas paintings, her food-based compositions also invoke contemporary food politics. A critic of the food industrial complex, Brownell creates a juxtaposition between the natural and artificial, modeling her opulent still-lifes after molecular structures. Her depictions of shiny apples, bead-like caviar and juicy grapes look almost too good to be edible, hence the title of her upcoming traveling solo show, Delightful, Delicious, Disgusting.

SLwSweetDreamBIG

The exhibition, which premiered at J. Cacciola Gallery in New York, is a ten-year survey of Brownell’s paintings (2003-2013) travelled to the Hunterdon Art Museum in Clinton, New Jersey, Juniata College Museum of Art in Pennsylvania and the final stop at Housatonic Museum of Art in Connecticut.”

Gallery hours: Monday- Friday from 8:30am until 5:30pm, Thursdays until 7pm, Saturday from 9am until 3pm and Sunday Noon until 4pm. Please note that the Gallery will be CLOSED Monday. October 13th. For more information visit http://www.housatonic.edu/artmuseum/index.asp

Explore your inner artist with a pro at Karen Rossi Studios

Karen Rossi Studios is sure to bring out the inner artist in you no matter what your artistic ability is. Karen is a highly regarded artist well known for her original metal sculptures. Rossi also licenses and imports her whimsical characters of hobbies and professions, known as Fanciful Flights™. A growing brand, Rossi Studios is constantly introducing many programs. The newest additions include Aviv Judaica, and puzzles by Ceaco, Stave and Ravensburger.

Holiday shopper EMAIL

In Litchfield Hills at Rossi’s newly opened studio in Torrington located on 27 East Main Street in the historic Allen Building she has organized a series of classes for the month of November that are sure to delight young and old.

BlueMermaid

On November 1 Rossi is offering a Mermaid Fanciful Flights workshop. Participants will make their very own mermaid by painting the beauty first, and then attaching charms to tell the story of your sea creature. Materials are included, but you’re invited to bring old broken jewelry, sea glass& shells. $30.00 (Regular $40.00 per person).

Magic Mosaic Boxes are the highlight of the class on November 6 where participants will create a very special box for all their tiny keepsakes. In addition to mosaics, there are lots of mixed media in the studio to help make your piece unique. All materials supplied, but you’re invited to bring your old China plates to smash up! Making mosaics is a great way to let out stress and relax. $25.00 (Regular $40.00 per person).

Peppermint Cat

Shelf Sitters that sit on a table, shelf or desktop replete with dangling legs and shoes will be made on Nov. 8. This workshop is $50 (regular $40).

Sure to be favorites, on November 15 participants will make Christmas Dogs and Cats ($25/$40) and will personalize each one for a one of a kind keepsake. On November 22 participants will Make their own Menorah ($35/$55) and will be able to choose from one of Karen’s lasercut designs. You’ll be given a white menorah to fill with color, add beads and candle cups and you’ll be ready for Chanukah.

For more information and to sign up for one of these fun and affordable classes visit http://www.karenrossi.com. For information on Litchfield Hills www.litchfieldhills.com

Michael Quadland “Recent Work- Metallic” in Litchfield

The Oliver Wolcott Library in the heart of Litchfield is hosting the work of Michael Quadland through October 24. The Library located on 150 South Street in Litchfield adjoins the historic house that once belonged to Oliver Wolcott Jr. and was built by Elijah Wadsworth in 1799.

oxczgf2YVHet-6OYDiaetBwZNnQc4tlavbKkRgV9-oo,nx3vs6Yuz9Tpk98563OwxSF53UgBntquvXjEoPW7RFM

Elijah Wadsworth sold the estate to Frederick Wolcott in 1800 Oliver Wolcott, Jr. acquired the house in 1814 and enlarged it considerably in 1817. Mrs. Oliver Wolcott (Elizabeth Stoughton) was known for being a gracious hostess and the fame of her parties reached as far as Washington, D.C. and England. Parties were frequently held in the ballroom on the second floor. It is said that President George Washington danced his last minuet in Litchfield in that ballroom. The ballroom was restored by the Society of Colonial Wars and can be viewed upon request.

q4_9MQdf3PxAWTrL916baIBOF82cRvXUKtJxWQIzz88,dQ59l0Gc1rdcexbG9lTXxZ6ftDU1Xs3usRsGi0emNJE

The artwork on display by Quadland focuses on the expression of emotion. One of the things he enjoys most about painting is the process of putting feelings into visual form, having depended on words for so many years, professionally. He has chosen a nonobjective format as a way to maximize imagination and projection, using abstract forms and evocative colors in layered surfaces. It is difficult for anyone seeing his work not to respond with some sort of feeling. The layers and traces of his paintings contain secrets, he says, that can be revealed to the viewer over time. In this way, the work retains interest, is perpetually new.

yOcCNEdAYOFC3J9Ie9u_hMK2ZhGdr98g8njoDnX78FY

In this “Recent Work” series at Oliver Wolcott Library, Michael’s painting assumes the feeling, texture and dimensionality of sculpture or architecture. Indeed, it seems to straddle the line between these disciplines and painting. Metallic surfaces appear to have been cast eons ago, or to have been torn from a demolished building, the metal having corroded into rough and gritty surfaces, evoking a long, arduous, even mysterious past.

For more information about the Oliver Wolcott Library http://www.owlibrary.org.

ROBERT ANDREW PARKER: BY LAND, SEA & AIR—Paintings, Drawings, Etchings

The David Hunt Library located in the bucolic village of Falls Village in the Litchfield Hills on 63 Main Street is hosting an art exhibition featuring the work of Robert Andrew Parker through October 10. An opening reception with refreshments will be held from 6pm to 8pm on Friday, September 12. This event is free and open to the public.

Parker_Avro_Bison_14

The poet Marianne Moore said, “Robert Andrew Parker is one of the most accurate and at the same time most unliteral of painters. He combines the mystical and the actual, working both in an abstract and in a realistic way.” Ms. Moore’s is an apt description of Parker’s recent work in this exhibit including serial images of an Avro Bison aircraft combining print and watercolor and a series of ships in the far distance, possibly warships. These are accompanied by landscapes, images of animals, and water conveying an overall sense of movement and adventure.

Besides being a foremost American artist, illustrator, and printmaker, Parker is also a writer and a working musician. Bob continues to perform with his band mates locally at the Interlaken Inn and other spots.

Parker’s artworks have appeared in the pages of The New Yorker, The New York Times, and Esquire just to name a few. His drawings and paintings have accompanied the writings of Franz Kafka, Vladimir Nabokov, W. H. Auden, and Marianne Moore. His work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum, the Morgan Library and Museum, and private collections throughout the world. Most recently, Parker was the subject of a Century Masters career retrospective at The Century Association in New York.

David M. Hunt Library, 63 Main Street, Falls Village, CT 06031, 860-824-7424, www.huntlibrary.org