Join us for an artist reception with Terry Tannen, whose Awakenings is on display in the Jesup Gallery, January 12 to March 12.

Tannen was born and raised in Connecticut. After graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design, she pursued a career in corporate design and branding working for iconic graphic designer Herb Lubalin, NBC TV, and co-founding her own firm G&K Design Group.

Capturing the beauty and natural design of nature has always been what inspires her creative work — whether it be through design, photography, painting, or sculpture. Her work has been exhibited in New York City, Westport, and Southampton, N.Y.

“This collection of sunrise photos is from a series taken over Mill Pond Beach in Westport,” Terry said. “It is a tribute to the last year of my beloved husband Charles Tannen's life. Chuck was an avid lover of nature, photography, and adventure. As his fight with Parkinson's progressed, our goal became finding the beauty in what was in our present moment, in gratitude. Thus, Awakenings.”

Related: Art at the Library

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Jesup Gallery

January 12 through March 12

Artist reception: Monday, February 12, 6-7:30 pm

Terry Tannen was born and raised in Connecticut. After graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design, she pursued a career in corporate design and branding working for iconic graphic designer Herb Lubalin, NBC TV, and co-founding her own firm G&K Design Group.

Capturing the beauty and natural design of nature has always been what inspires her creative work — whether it be through design, photography, painting, or sculpture. Her work has been exhibited in New York City, Westport, and Southampton, N.Y.

“This collection of sunrise photos is from a series taken over Mill Pond Beach in Westport,” Terry said. “It is a tribute to the last year of my beloved husband Charles Tannen's life. Chuck was an avid lover of nature, photography, and adventure. As his fight with Parkinson's progressed, our goal became finding the beauty in what was in our present moment, in gratitude. Thus, Awakenings.”

Award-winning sculptor Lucy M. Krupenye, whose Zen Meditations will be on display at the Library from January 12 through March 12, will be in conversation with Miggs Burroughs. There will be a reception held in the South Gallery from 6 to 7 pm, followed by a talk in the Trefz Forum from 7 to 8 pm.

Krupenye creates hanging assemblages out of found objects such as stone, wood, metal, and bone. Her sculptures are organic and Zen in feeling. Although some are whimsical, most often she searches for harmony among the diverse elements she uses to construct her pieces.

Krupenye's work is in tune with nature and the environment, and she uses a lot of "recycled" material in her work. What most people consider flotsam, jetsam, or garbage, she often considers treasure. Her creations are inspired by nature, music, and the world around her. She strives to create works of beauty, peace, and tranquility in a world that often feels chaotic.

Krupenye has exhibited extensively in in New York City and around the Northeast, including solo exhibitions at The Hammond Museum, The Stamford Museum, The Silvermine Arts Center, The Carriage Barn Arts Center, The Simon Gallery in Martha’s Vineyard, The Ridgefield Playhouse, and others. She also has exhibited extensively in countless group exhibitions.

Krupenye has been the featured artist on Channel 12 News, at the Katonah Museum of Art, in Westport Magazine, in Fairfield County Lifestyle, and in many newspapers, books, magazines. In addition, her sculptures have graced the covers of jazz and rock CDs and albums, and she has curated several major museum and gallery exhibitions. She has won awards for her sculptures in juried exhibitions and her work is in private collections in the United States and in Europe.

“My artwork is something that I see, not from the outside, but from within,” she said. “It is something that I feel. I rarely draw a piece before I make it. As I work with the elements the piece is just born — in essence, it creates itself. It is, in part, a reflection of my inner being and thus is extremely personal. If one looks closely into my artwork, one might see a part of my soul.”

Related: Art at the Library

South Gallery

January 12 through March 12

Artist reception and talk with Miggs Burroughs: Wednesday, January 31
Reception 6-7 pm in the South Gallery; talk 7-8 pm in the Trefz Forum

Award-winning sculptor Lucy M. Krupenye creates hanging assemblages out of found objects such as stone, wood, metal, and bone. Her sculptures are organic and Zen in feeling. Although some are whimsical, most often Lucy searches for harmony among the diverse elements she uses to construct her pieces.

Lucy’s work is in tune with nature and the environment, and she uses a lot of "recycled" material in her work. What most people consider flotsam, jetsam, or garbage, she often considers treasure. Her creations are inspired by nature, music, and the world around her. She strives to create works of beauty, peace, and tranquility in a world that often feels chaotic.

Lucy has exhibited extensively in in New York City and around the Northeast, including solo exhibitions at The Hammond Museum, The Stamford Museum, The Silvermine Arts Center, The Carriage Barn Arts Center, The Simon Gallery in Martha’s Vineyard, The Ridgefield Playhouse, and others. She also has exhibited extensively in countless group exhibitions.

Lucy has been the featured artist on Channel 12 News, at the Katonah Museum of Art, in Westport Magazine, in Fairfield County Lifestyle, and in many newspapers, books, magazines. In addition, her sculptures have graced the covers of jazz and rock CDs and albums, and she has curated several major museum and gallery exhibitions. She has won awards for her sculptures in juried exhibitions and her work is in private collections in the United States and in Europe.

“My artwork is something that I see, not from the outside, but from within,” she said. “It is something that I feel. I rarely draw a piece before I make it. As I work with the elements the piece is just born — in essence, it creates itself. It is, in part, a reflection of my inner being and thus is extremely personal. If one looks closely into my artwork, one might see a part of my soul.”

Reception: 6-7 pm in the Sheffer Gallery

Lecture by members of The Westport Astronomical Society: 7-8 pm in the Trefz Forum

Discover the wonders that lie just beyond your backyard in How Beautiful, the Universe — an extraordinary art exhibition featuring more than 25 captivating works by members of the Westport Astronomical Society (WAS). Embark on a cosmic journey from the comfort of Westport and witness the breathtaking beauty of our universe through the lens of dedicated astrophotographers.

The universe, teeming with awe-inspiring phenomena, unfolds before your eyes. From the radiant glow of our closest star, the sun, to the intricate details of distant galaxies and nebulae spanning hundreds of light years, these images showcase the celestial marvels that grace our night skies.

Join us as members of WAS unravel the mysteries behind the creation of these mesmerizing images.

***

The Westport Astronomical Society, a not-for-profit scientific campus nestled within a former Cold War radar station, is home to the Westport Observatory and the KWAS Ham Radio Club. The observatory's radar tower has been repurposed into a dome, providing an ideal vantage point for observing the night sky. As part of their commitment to education, WAS offers a free monthly lecture series through webinars and live, in-person talks. Additionally, the campus features a National Geologic Survey seismography station, reflecting the Society's diverse scientific pursuits.

Related: Art at the Library

Register Here

Join us on February 28 for the second* Verso University exploration of the CT Art Trail with the Yale University Art Gallery. The talk, by John Stuart Gordon, the Benjamin Attmore Hewitt Curator of American Decorative Arts, will focus on the exhibit Sheila Levrant de Bretteville: Community, Activism, and Design, on view from February 16 through June 23,  2024.

*Information about first Yale University Art Gallery talk, on January 31 HERE.

This event will take place in the Komansky Program room on the Library's main level.

Founded in 1832, the Yale University Art Gallery is the oldest university art museum in America. The museum is open to all, free of charge, and is committed to engaging audiences through thoughtful, creative and relevant exhibitions programs, and publications.

About the exhibit:

Sheila Levrant de Bretteville: Community, Activism, and Design is the first exhibition focused on the influential graphic designer, public artist, and educator Sheila Levrant de Bretteville (born 1940, MFA 1964). De Bretteville, who has long championed principles of advocacy and inclusion through her community-based and politically informed work, is well known for her contributions to the field of feminist design and education. The rich array of materials on view in the exhibition is drawn from de Bretteville’s personal archive and highlights pivotal moments in her multifaceted and trailblazing career. De Bretteville served as director of Graduate Studies in Graphic Design at Yale from 1990 to 2022 and is the first woman in the Yale School of Art to be awarded tenure. This monographic exhibition reinforces her role as a quiet leader and visionary role model who has shaped a new generation of graphic design.

About our Verso University presenter:

John Stuart Gordon is the Benjamin Attmore Hewitt Curator of American Decorative Arts at the Yale University Art Gallery. Dr. Gordon attended Vassar College, received an MA from the Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design, and Culture and a PhD from Boston University. He is enthusiastic about all aspects of American decorative arts, in particular design since 1850 and precious metals. His exhibitions for the Gallery include The Architect’s Table: Swid Powell and Postmodern Design (2007–2008), A Nation Reflected: Stories in American Glass (2019), and Gold in America: Artistry, Memory, Power (2022). His publications include A Modern World: American Design from the Yale University Art Gallery, 1920–1950 and American Glass: The Collections at Yale as well as essays in John La Farge’s Second Paradise: Voyages in the South Seas, 1890-1891 (Yale Press), Postmodern Design Complete (Thames and Hudson), A Dark, A Light, A Bright: The Designs of Dorothy Liebes (Cooper-Hewitt) and numerous articles. He is currently working on a book about gold in America. In addition to his curatorial work, Dr. Gordon teaches a survey of American silver at Yale.

Image: Sheila Levrant de Bretteville, Women in Design: The Next Decade, 1975. Diazotype. Courtesy Sheila Levrant de Bretteville

***

Each month, Verso University will bring individual curators and/or museum directors, from the CT Art Trail membership to the Library for a deeper dive into that museum’s particular mission and exhibits past and present. Participants will  have an opportunity for deeper learning and gain an insider’s view of the museums, their collections and history, along with an invitation for an on-site visit. The Connecticut Art Trail is a nationally recognized partnership between 23 world-class museums and historic sites, created to promote Connecticut’s rich cultural assets.

Verso University is the Library’s lifelong learning and education initiative, serving up year-round offerings of classes, workshops, and lectures designed to further education and learning. Offerings run the gamut of educational opportunities, ranging from one-time lectures to ongoing courses to classes that meet weekly or perhaps monthly.

Verso University programs are made possible by the generous support of the Nancy J. Beard Lifelong Learning and Education Fund.

More Resources...
Museum Passes
Virtual Museum Tours

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In celebration of Verso University's exploration of the CT Art Trail, join us on January 31 for a our first* presentation from the Yale University Art Gallery. The talk will focus on the exhibit "Munch/Kirchner: Anxiety and Expression," which opens on February 16 and is on view through June 23.   

This event will take place in the Komansky Program room on the Library's main level.

*Second Yale University Art Gallery talk scheduled for February 28, more HERE.

Founded in 1832, the Yale University Art Gallery is the oldest university art museum in America. The museum is open to all, free of charge, and is committed to engaging audiences through thoughtful, creative and relevant exhibitions programs, and publications.

About the exhibit:

Featuring more than 60 works, this exhibition is the first to examine the prints of Edvard Munch alongside those of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, elucidating the fascinating overlaps in their creative output and personal biographies and demonstrating how these artists suffered from — and attempted to cope with — the anxieties of their age. Drawing primarily on a large group of prints in the collection of Nelson Blitz Jr., and Catherine Woodard, as well as the Gallery’s own substantial holdings of German Expressionist works on paper and other U.S. museum collections, this exhibition brings into focus the parallels between these two towering figures of Expressionism, highlighting their engagement with themes of anxiety, depression, and trauma.

About our Verso University presenter:

Freyda Spira is the Gallery’s Robert L. Solley Curator of Prints and Drawings. Previously, and for many years, she was in the Department of Drawings and Prints at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. There, she was Associate Curator of Northern drawings, prints, and illustrated books from the Early Modern period, and curated several successful exhibitions, including Beyond the Light: Identity and Place in Nineteenth-Century Danish Art (2023) and The Renaissance Etching (2019).

Spira holds a BA from Barnard College, an MA from Columbia University, and a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania.

Image: Edvard Munch, Toward the Forest I (Mot skogen I), 1897, printed 1913–15. Woodcut printed in pink and green. Collection of Nelson Blitz, Jr., and Catherine Woodard

***

Each month, Verso University will bring individual curators and/or museum directors, from the CT Art Trail membership to the Library for a deeper dive into that museum’s particular mission and exhibits past and present. Participants will  have an opportunity for deeper learning and gain an insider’s view of the museums, their collections and history, along with an invitation for an on-site visit. The Connecticut Art Trail is a nationally recognized partnership between 23 world-class museums and historic sites, created to promote Connecticut’s rich cultural assets.

Verso University is the Library’s lifelong learning and education initiative, serving up year-round offerings of classes, workshops, and lectures designed to further education and learning. Offerings run the gamut of educational opportunities, ranging from one-time lectures to ongoing courses to classes that meet weekly or perhaps monthly.

Verso University programs are made possible by the generous support of the Nancy J. Beard Lifelong Learning and Education Fund.

More Resources...
Museum Passes
Virtual Museum Tours

Norm Siegel, “Pieter Claesz’s Dinner At The Katz’s,” 2023

South Gallery

October 27, 2023, through January 8, 2024

Reception: November 20, 6-8 pm (reception: 6-7 pm; talk: 7-8 pm)

Artist Bio (from Norm Siegel)

I started out scribbling airplanes that I saw on WW 2 newsreels with pencil on the flyleaf pages of the few books my parents owned. Paper was scarce and my parents were understanding.

On a 6th grade field trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I was mesmerized by a Willian Harnett still life and a huge Albert Bierstadt Yellowstone landscape. It was then and there I knew I wanted to become an artist.

That path started oddly enough at the High School of Industrial Arts in 1952. It was also a time when I fell under the influences of our brand new television set, Saturday Evening Post and Colliers magazine covers, 3D and science fiction movies and EC comic books. SIA encouraged me every step of the way.

Still with all these diversions I managed to get accepted into The Cooper Union. Tuition was free at that time and we did not live large in the South Bronx.

What a Wake-up Call!

For someone wired to draw comics and do realistic illustrations. ( I actually won a second place high school student award at the Society of Illustrators)^, abstract expressionism was the “soup de jour” at Cooper. And though I gave it my all, I wasn’t very good at it. Call it AAED (Acute Abstract Expressionism Disorder) or whatever, I was more successful applying my energies into my elective: Advertising Design taught by Rudolph de Harak. All the while unbeknownst to my instructors and fellow students, I was freelancing as an illustrator for Galaxy and Fantastic Universe SF pulp magazines. (A couple of my covers can still be seen on the internet.)

After graduation I embarked on my “madman” career as an art director and was reasonably successful. Even with a two-year interruption courtesy of the U.S. army. After many years in big agencies, I left to open a creative boutique in Southport with former NBC Creative Director Steve Lance. One of our proudest accomplishments was to help launch The Discovery Channel in 1989. 

In my off time, to escape the stress and politics of ad agency reality, I indulged my love of aviation by becoming a member of the American Society of Aviation Artists and the U.S. Air Force Art Program. Many of my paintings have homes in various aviation museums as well as the Pentagon. Plus, I had the opportunity to fly in many of our hottest and iconic aircraft.

Though rarely still active today as a freelance art director, (who in their right mind is hiring an octogenarian art director these days?) I decided to once again pick up the brush and return to the style of painting that my 19th century brain is “wired” to paint.

Interestingly enough, my advertising career seems to have meshed with my painting career. Just like creating an ad or commercial, what I paint has to have a concept. Sometimes literal, sometimes graphic, sometimes humorous and satirical, sometimes social, and sometimes political.

I’ve been fortunate to have my work exhibited at The Salmagundi Gallery in New York, The New Britain Museum of American Art, Billis Gallery in Westport, Kershner Gallery at The Fairfield Public Library, the Westport and Wilton Libraries, and Bendheim Gallery in Greenwich, with solo shows at the Newton Roux Gallery in Westport,  The Discovery Museum in Bridgeport, and WorkPoint in Stamford. Recently, my painting “Garden of Hope” is now at The Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, D.C.

^Footnote: One of my earliest accounts was The Famous Artists, Photographers and Writers School in Westport.

***

Artist Statement

Unlike many artists it’s difficult for me to put into words what I put on the canvas.

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.

Any questions?

Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca in "Your Show of Shows, " Victor Keppler, circa 1950–1954

Jesup Gallery

October 27, 2023, through January 8, 2024

Showtime! celebrates the performing arts in Westport. Ballet, contemporary dance, and musical theater all thrive on the stages of Westport schools, the Library, and beyond. Many young performers who call Westport home have gone on to study at leading arts programs and today are performing around the country and world.

Westport Public Art Collections (WestPAC) are a cultural asset of the town, with 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. Artworks are on display throughout municipal buildings and public schools in Westport.

The WestPAC Committee cares for the artworks in the collections and carries out WestPAC’s mission of using original works of art to inspire and educate Westport residents, students, teachers, and the broader community.

Learn more about Westport Public Art Collections at westportarts.org.

Suzanne Benton, “First Day,” 2022

Sheffer Gallery

October 27, 2023, through January 8, 2024

Reception: November 1, 6-8 pm (reception: 6-7 pm; talk: 7-8 pm)

Suzanne Benton is a native New Yorker based in Connecticut for 64 of the 70 years she’s practiced her many-faceted art. Her pioneer dedication to feminism and activism has long carried her outreach beyond the borders of home.

The first year of world travel (1976-77) purposely coincided with Women’s International Year. It was then that she began the life pattern of bringing her metal mask making, mask performances, and workshops worldwide. That seminal journey to 14 countries led to decades of grants and invitations that fostered her learning and development as a trans-culturalist artist, highly recognized metal masquer, performer, printmaker, painter, lecturer, and workshop leader. Those opportunities brought her to 32 countries, East and West, and included a Fulbright lectureship in India, multiple artist residencies, generous support from colleges and universities, and frequent hostings by the cultural arm of U.S. embassies. Those amazing times gave a global awareness that’s greatly influenced her life and art.

Suzanne’s exhibitions include more than 200 solo shows, and her artwork is represented in museum and private collections worldwide. The mask tale performances that began at Lincoln Center in 1971, subsequently brought her to Elliot Hall’s 7,000-seat theatre at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana; Merrick Theater, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA; Harvard University Graduate School of Education; Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH; America Haus, Köln; Bosnian television, Sarajevo; India International Center, New Delhi; Bombay Center for the Performing Arts, India, and on.

Author of The Art of Welded Sculpture and numerous articles, Suzanne is and has been listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Art, and Feminists Who Changed America 1963-1975, edited by Barbara Love, 2006. In April 2023, Suzanne received a Lifetime Recognition Award from the Women’s Caucus of Art, Florida.

An upcoming exhibition from March 10 to May 5, 2024, Suzanne Benton: Unmasked will show a selection from her large oeuvre of welded metal masks and monoprints with Chine collé. It will be exhibited at the Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury, Connecticut.

The artist’s current direction, All About Color follows decades of intertwining color, shape, and imagery in distinctive monoprints with Chine collé. Those lengthy visits to India and Bangladesh brought in the palette of South Asia. Kenya, Tanzania, and Morocco taught her unique color juxtapositions. Suzanne is now casting such sun filled worlds into paintings of cosmic realms and unknown worlds.

All About Color Artist Statement

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. “Each of us can supply evidence of late works, which crown a lifetime of aesthetic endeavor.” Matisse had it with his renowned paper cuts. While nearly blind, Monet created water lily paintings as his final legacy to the history of art. 

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-Transcendentalpaintings large and small that I call All About Color.

The disappeared narrative came as a surprise. The imbedded image had been a mainstay in decades of monoprints and paintings. My welded steel and bronze masks and mask tale performances rely on character and story to amaze an audience. This time, I’m speaking of the inner life from a time of stillness that’s since stayed on.

I’d been well educated in color by John Ferren, the abstract expressionist painter who’d taught the year’s color study at Queen College. That sensitivity developed further through four art-working journeys in India: 1976-1977, 1992-1993, 1995, and 2011, and during the Bangladesh residencies of 1995 and 2011. Countries in Africa also gave my work unique juxtapositions of colors never found in Connecticut seasons.

All About Color began in Florida on the hopeful day of President Biden’s safe inauguration. Florida is also where walks along the beach, its sun on the water, flora and fauna, and even its cooing doves remind me South Asia and Africa. Here’s a long-ago memory from December 1976 when daughter Janet and I were in Puri on the Bay of Bengal. Staying at a hotel from the Raj period that was situated atop a hill from the beach, we took a mid-morning walk along the beach, and then rested in a bamboo hut where the sun came through its weave and cast warm shadows on Janet’s face. The next month took us to Varanasi where we hired a boat and boatman to take us along the Ganges River. It was noon. The heat and extreme contrast of the sun on the water was surreal, as much was, especially during that first time in India. Being in the presence of total poverty, uncanny splendor, and fantastical ancient sites gave an otherworldly strangeness that completely upended any previous sense of reality.

While each of the 32 countries where I’ve worked and traveled has given immeasurable impetus and richness to my art, there was something ineffable about India that drew me back. During the second journey, this time on a Fulbright, I recounted to friends what the guide book said, “Nothing prepares you for India, even if you’ve been there before.” Nevertheless, India became a country I knew to return, but never knew why. I now know that I’d gone again and again to finally arrive at All About Color, the painting series that’s freshening the ninth decade of my life.

Edward Said had added that difficult works also come late in artistic careers, works that “reopen questions”. To this, I’m thinking it’s not only the silence from the time of Covid that’s led to these recent works, or even what India had given me. There are the reflections that come with age, that bring in the weave of a lifetime’s journey and the whispering voice of mortality.

Join us for a reception featuring Showtime!, selections collected from the Westport Public Art Collections (WestPAC), with a gallery overview by Ive Covaci, WestPAC chair and professor of art history at Fairfield University.

Please register HERE.

Pictured (L to R): Yanone C by Hiromitsu Takahashi and Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca, Your Show of Shows by Victor Keppler, courtesy WestPAC.

The Library is pleased to be able to offer free programs and events through the generous donations of patrons like you. Please consider giving to the Library so that we can continue to offer events like this one. Your donation is tax deductible. Donate Now!

More Resources...
Westport Public Art Collections
Westport's Artistic Legacy
Westport Local Artists

 

Join us on in the Trefz Forum for a reception (6-7 pm) and conversation (7-8 pm) with Suzanne Benton as she discusses her new exhibit, All About Color, with Miggs Burroughs.

In case you missed the event, you may watch the recorded program here.

All About Color is exhibiting in the Sheffer Gallery from October 27, 2023, through January 8, 2024.

The Library is pleased to be able to offer free programs and events through the generous donations of patrons like you. Please consider giving to the Library so that we can continue to offer events like this one. Your donation is tax deductible. Donate Now!

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