Silvermine Arts Center's summer exhibition "Kites" and the Silvermine Guild group show, "Where Are We (Going)?," open on Sunday, July 28.
"Kites," a collaboration between painting pioneer Charles Hinman and master printer Gary Lichtenstein, features a new body of work. Their artistic partnership began in 2011 and this new series continues their exploration into translating the visual vocabulary of Hinman's signature hard-edged, shaped canvases into the realm of prints.
By combining color and the use of subtle hand embossing, they have created a suite of prints that epitomizes the core of Hinman's ideology, which is, "Though the works at first glance appear serene and placid, they are ever changing as the surface of the ocean or the expanse of the sky. Ever dynamic, they are ever alive."
The prints reconstruct Hinman's paintings down to the inclusion of subtle lines referencing the support systems of his three dimensional work. As the viewer gazes at the work, the complexity of the arrangements of space unfolds into an ever-changing visual experience.
Hinman challenged the confines of the rectangle from the start. His work first received global acclaim in Sidney Janis Gallery's 1964 exhibit "Seven New Artists," after which famed dealer Richard Feigen began representing the artist. As his painting progressed, his flat canvases became three-dimensional, a defining element of his work. He is also known for embracing contrast on multiple levels: through his use of color, texture, light and shadow. Major works can be found in the permanent collections of MoMA, the Albright-Knox Gallery and the Rockefeller Collection. In 2012, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. Hinman is currently represented by the Marc Straus gallery in New York City.
During his 30 years of collaborations with many well-known artists, Lichtenstein has established a reputation as one of the most gifted printmakers in the world. Integral to this is Lichtenstein's sense of color relationships gained from his years as a painter of color-saturated abstractions. Lichtenstein began exploring the silkscreen process while at the San Francisco Art Institute and soon "recognized the collaborative potential inherent in the discipline." In 1978, he started his own printmaking studio, SOMA Fine Art Press, in San Francisco as a forum devoted to creative collaboration among artists from around the world.
Lichtenstein's work is in the collections of many museums including New York's Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian, the Art Institute of Chicago, the International Print Center in New York City and Art Asia in Hong Kong. A Connecticut native, Lichtenstein established Gary Lichtenstein Editions in Ridgefield, returning to his roots after working for years in California.
This collaboration between Lichtenstein and Hinman was made possible by a grant from the Grace Jones Richardson Trust.
"Where are We (going)?," organized by independent curator and artist Emily Cheng, marks a new direction for guild group exhibitions. This change is evidenced in the show's title and theme, which are inspired by artist Susan Sharp's painting, "Where are We?"
Unlike the traditional model of submitting work to a predetermined theme, this show is selected from curatorial threads found in the paintings, prints, photographs and objects being produced by the Silvermine Guild membership. In her exhibition statement, Cheng suggests that the show can be thought of in philosophical terms akin to Paul Gauguin's prophetic image, "Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?"
However, unlike Gauguin's tableau, which visually expresses his contemplation on the meaning of existence, Cheng writes, "The theme of uncertainty in this exhibition is not so much found in the overt content of the individual artworks, but uncertainty as it is experienced through the viewing process ... As in, `what am I looking at?' `Where is this situated?'"
A prime example of this experience can be seen in the selection of images by guild photographers Karen Neems, Sandi Haber Fifield, Torrance York of New Canaan and J. Henry Fair, all of whom create work inspired by the world we know, their photographic processes eschewing the familiar. Other guild artists exhibiting include Hanneke Goedkoop, Robert Gregson, Shelby Head, Liz Dexheimer, Eve Stockton, Tina Blackburn, Amanda Duchen and Susan Sharp.
Cheng most recently curated Richard Meier, Sculptures and Collages and co-curated Eye World at New York's Triple Candie. She is also the recipient of fellowships from the New York Foundation of the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts and Yaddo and is a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant recipient. She has exhibited extensively in the U.S. and internationally in both solo and group exhibitions.
Silvermine Galleries' Viewing Room will debut a selection of new abstract silkscreen prints by guild artist Roger Mudre that he produced in collaboration with Lichtenstein July 28 through Aug. 4 and Aug. 28 through Sept. 7. From Aug. 7 to 25, photographer Jason Gardner will present a "visual anthropology" of the culture, music and rituals of the authentic folkloric Carnival festival in Pernambuco, Brazil. The exhibit will be part of Silvermine's third annual ArtsFest.
There will be an opening reception Sunday, July 28, from 2 to 4 p.m. The exhibitions run through Sept. 7. Along with the exhibitions, Hinman and Lichtenstein will give an artist talk on Tuesday, July 30, at 6:30 p.m. and Gardner will discuss his work on Saturday, Aug. 10, at 2 p.m.
The gallery at the Silvermine Arts Center, 1037 Silvermine Road, New Canaan, is open from noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday. For information, call 203-966-9700 or visit www.silvermineart.org.