The Ageless Dick Rauh’s Botanical Retrospective Headlines New Art Exhibits at The Westport Library

Fri, Nov 18, 2022
EJ Crawford
L to R: Dick Rauh's Red Oak in Flower, Tina Puckett's Waves of Many Colors, and Susan Malloy's The Orchestra

Three new installations will grace The Westport Library walls starting in December, headlined by Dick Rauh: A Botanical Retrospective, an exhibit featuring botanical paintings from the 97-year-old longtime Westporter that will hang in the Library’s Sheffer Gallery from December 5, 2022, through February 28, 2023. There will also be a special artist talk and reception with Rauh and host Miggs Burroughs on January 29, 2023, in the Trefz Forum.

Also coming to the Library in December is Speak to Me, an exhibit of woven art by local artist Tina Puckett, and a series of eight works from the Westport Public Art Collections (WestPAC), titled Musical Notes.

“I am extremely fortunate to be granted the ability to continue to function as well as I do as the years pass,” said Rauh, who took up botanical painting in retirement, after a long career in motion pictures special effects. “Spread along these walls are the results of what I have observed looking closely at flowers over the years. Whether in my quest for the accurate I have managed to bring a personal statement is for you to judge. It is enough for me that you will look at flowers in a way you never have before.” 

Rauh won the gold medal and Best in Show awards at the 2006 Royal Horticultural Society Show in London, and his work is in the permanent collections of the Lindley Library in London; the Shirley Sherwood Collection in Kew Gardens, London; the New York State Museum; and the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation at Carnegie Mellon University. He has served as an instructor in the botanical illustration certificate program at the New York Botanical Gardens since 1994 and was named its Teacher of the Year in 2010. He also teaches widely in local senior centers.

Puckett’s work will be displayed in the South Gallery and run December 6 through February 2023. Puckett specializes in baskets woven from natural materials, in particular the bittersweet vine, a source of inspiration she described as a happy accident.

“Sometimes, the path in life that we chose to take comes in the form of an unexpected gift,” said Puckett. “In 1981, my mother gave me a gift for an adult education basket weaving class. … It didn’t take me long before I became bored with weaving traditional baskets. I started to look for natural materials grown locally that I could incorporate into different woven forms. One brilliant autumn day when I was foraging for grapevine, I came across the bittersweet vine, and it was love at first sight. Going on 40-plus years, I have never looked back and continue to forage for Native American bittersweet vines and imagine the fantastic forms that we will create together.”

The WestPAC exhibit will also go up December 6, in the Jesup Gallery, and remain on display through the end of February. The exhibit includes works that pay tribute to the performing arts in Westport and features artists Susan Malloy, Ann Chernow, Larry Silver, and Paul Rand, among others.

“Dick Rauh is a local treasure, and we are absolutely thrilled to host this retrospective of his larger-than-life, beautifully detailed botanical paintings in the Sheffer Gallery,” said Carole Erger-Fass, exhibits curator at the Library. “At the same time, in the South Gallery, Tina Puckett’s whimsical woven art, created out of bittersweet and other local materials, delights the viewer, offering a distinctly different way to experience the natural world around us. And for these works to be joined by so many great pieces from WestPAC is a true treat for us and a gift to everyone who visits and who will pass through our space in the coming months.”

For more on the Library’s art collection and upcoming events, visit our Art at the Library webpage.

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