"A Contemporary Look," on view at the Lyme Art Association January 11 – February 23, 2013

The Lyme Art Association’s 4th Annual A Contemporary Look exhibition, an invitational of contemporary landscape, portrait & still life works, is on display in the Goodman Gallery.

The Lyme Art Association’s 4th Annual A Contemporary Look exhibition is on display in the Goodman Gallery through February 23, 2013.  In past years, this show has featured the work of regional artists who would not normally exhibit their work at the Lyme Art Association. This year the trend continues with paintings, drawings and monotypes on view by Elizabeth Enders, Lori Warner, Susan Newbold, and William Rhodes.  Each artist comes to the Lyme Art Association with an extensive exhibition background, and the Lyme Art Association is thrilled to showcase their work.
A Contemporary Look is curated each year by the Association’s Executive Director Susan Ballek, who stated, “I truly enjoy assembling artwork for this show, and find it an exciting way to kick-off a new year here at our historic Gallery. It allows the Association to feature work by progressive contemporary artists who work in an abstracted, yet still representational manner, providing a wonderful contrast to the more traditional exhibitions we host throughout the year.”  

The most notable artist participating this year is Elizabeth Enders, who paints from her studios in New York, Connecticut and Nova Scotia.  Enders’ minimalistic landscapes capture the movement of the weather as it moves across water or land in thoughtful yet easy brushstrokes.  About her work, Enders states, “Painting is about filling in the blanks, making something complete. It’s about making sense of things.” “Georgia,” her large oil on linen landscape hanging prominently in the center of the exhibition, incorporates her “mark making” technique, akin to hieroglyphics, and draws the viewer closer into her personal view of world.   

Among Enders’ many achievements are her major solo exhibitions at the Addison Gallery of American Art in Andover, MA and the Lyman Allyn Art Museum in New London, CT. Enders’ work appears in numerous permanent museum collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Whitney Museum of American Art, NY; the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, CT; the Brooklyn Museum, NY, the New Britain Museum of American Art, CT.  

For the first time in this annual exhibition, work by an artist from outside the United States is included. Australian artist and designer William Rhodes visited the Lyme Art Association in 2009 while in Old Lyme for a close friend’s wedding, and was fascinated by the history of the Lyme Impressionists and architecture of our Charles A. Platt building. Susan Ballek had the opportunity to view his paintings in person on a trip to Australia later that year, and began brainstorming ways to display his work in Old Lyme. Ballek noted that “the majority of his works are very large oil and wax paintings on board, and shipping proved too daunting for a first-time venture. Rhodes agreed to produce a series of smaller, easily shipped pieces this exhibition, allowing the Association to be the first American gallery to showcase his work.”

Rhodes’ “On the Beach” series of charcoal and graphite drawings capture the windswept coast of Tasmania with stunning simplicity. It’s not difficult to imagine the salt air gusting around you while viewing this work.  Of this work, Rhodes states, “These images are a vehicle for the imagination – the beach can touch our soul. For me it is either side of a storm which is most moving and provoking.  The dramatic atmosphere in an isolated place is what inspires me.” A similar series of beach drawings and paintings by William were part of a sold-out solo exhibition at the Handmark Gallery in Evandale, Tasmania last year.  The Association hopes to feature more of Rhodes’ work in the future, including his larger paintings.  

Another artist compelled to capture the emotion of the natural world through art is Lyme, CT native Lori Warner. Warner often works in series, creating a suite of prints by transforming a representational landscape into an abstract one.  About her work, Warner notes, “I focus on the line between the two, by combining recognizable forms within an abstract field of color and gestural marks.  These marks often become my own visual language.”  “Wetlands,” one of Warner’s monotype and chine-collé pieces featured in this exhibition, was created through a unique printmaking process of layering paper and ink, of which she is a master.
Warner’s work has been displayed around the country, including the Slater Museum of Art, CT; the University of Hawaii Printmaking Biennial; and the Soprafina Gallery in Boston, MA. In 2010, an eleven-piece print commission by Warner was acquired by the Yale University Smilow Cancer Center. More of her work can be seen at the Lori Warner Studio / Gallery in Chester, CT.
Connecticut artist Susan Newbold’s vibrant, fluid landscapes of the French countryside are also included in this exhibition. An accomplished painter and printmaker who often combines monoprints with drawing, and painting with other mixed media, Newbold has had the opportunity to create large bodies of work both in the United States and abroad.  She has been awarded three fellowships to work in France, and has had additional residencies in New Zealand, Colorado, Vermont, Maine and Virginia. Of her work, Newbold states, “The accidental and intentional qualities of drawing and printmaking in particular are what make them a perfect fit for my study of nature as a metaphor for life.”
Newbold’s oil-based monoprint “Tapestry,” is one of several of her large works featured in the exhibition.  It incorporates the qualities of an architectural drawing, a topographical map, and an aerial view all into one massive landscape scene. In addition to constantly creating new work, Newbold teaches classes and workshops throughout New England. Among the topics of her teachings are “illuminated journals,” a graceful combination of text and mixed-media art, bound by hand on fine artist’s paper.  Two of these journals are on display as part of the exhibition, and offer a fascinating look into Newbold’s thought process and the inspiration she draws from nature.
The Lyme Art Association is open free to the public, seven days a week.  Please visit our website for more information on current and upcoming exhibitions, as well as educational programs and membership.

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