Suzanne Benton, Norm Siegel, WestPAC Collection Highlight New Westport Library Art Exhibits

Fri, Oct 27, 2023
EJ Crawford

L to R: Yanone C by Hiromitsu Takahashi, courtesy WestPAC; Tilted Finish by Norm Siegel; and Continuum by Suzanne Benton

Three new exhibits are coming to The Westport Library to bring some color, curiosity, and energy to the end of fall and the start of winter.

Suzanne Benton’s All About Color will be featured in the Sheffer Gallery, with Norm Siegel’s Visual Curiosities in the South Gallery, and Showtime!, a series of selection from the Westport Public Art Collections (WestPAC), going up in the Jesup Gallery.

All three exhibits will run from October 27, 2023, through January 8, 2024, and all three will host artist receptions in the Library’s Trefz Forum: November 1 for Benton, November 8 for Showtime!, and November 20 for Siegel. The Benton and Siegel events will include a talk with the artists after the receptions.

“These are three brilliant exhibits for us to close out our collections for 2023,” said Carole Erger-Fass, the Library’s exhibit curator. “I’m thrilled we’ll be able to share these works with our community and welcome the artists into our space.”

Related: Art at the Library

Benton is a native New Yorker who has been based in Connecticut for 64 of the 70 years she’s practiced her many-faceted art. Her exhibitions include more than 200 solo shows, and her artwork is represented in museums and private collections worldwide. Author of The Art of Welded Sculpture and numerous articles, Benton is and has been listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Art, and Feminists Who Changed America 1963-1975. In April 2023, she received a Lifetime Recognition Award from the Women’s Caucus of Art in Florida.

“In this ninth decade of life, and as a working artist for nearly 70 years, I’d become interested in the concept of Late Style as described by the literary theorist Edward Said, who said, ‘Each of us can supply evidence of late works, which crown a lifetime of aesthetic endeavor,’” recounted Benton. “My Late Style arrived as a surprise during the Covid pandemic. Sheltering in place ushered in an uncanny level of solitude that only painting could voice. Reaching for the purist of colors, I entered a world of Neo-Transcendental paintings large and small that I call All About Color.”

Siegel was inspired to become an artist during a sixth-grade field trip to the to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, mesmerized by a Willian Harnett still life and an Albert Bierstadt Yellowstone landscape. He subsequently attended the High School of Industrial Arts and The Cooper Union, going on to a career as an art director that included helping to help launch The Discovery Channel. He returned to painting in retirement and has had his work exhibited at The Salmagundi Gallery in New York, The New Britain Museum of American Art, the Billis Gallery in Westport, and at the Kershner Gallery at The Fairfield Public Library, among others.

“Unlike many artists, it’s difficult for me to put into words what I put on the canvas,” said Siegel. “What you see is what I intend you to see. I’m not one to experiment with new techniques, materials, or mediums. Spontaneity and intuition are not involved. I do experiment with subject matter to satisfy my past and current influences and my sense of humor using the skills I’ve honed over decades, with brush and paint on canvas or panel.”

Showtime!, meantime, celebrates the performing arts in Westport. A cultural asset to Westport, WestPAC holds more than 1,800 works of art in a broad range of media — paintings, watercolors, drawings, prints, illustrations, cartoons, photographs, sculptures, and murals — by notable American artists, giants of the international art world, and important artists who established their homes and studios in the Westport-Weston community. WestPAC’s artworks were acquired primarily through gifts, mostly given by the artists themselves or donated by heirs and collectors.


Pictured above (clockwise from top left): Suzanne Benton, Norm Siegel, the WestPAC logo

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