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The arts return to Library Place

Thursday, April 21, 2011
Time: 12:47 PM

As someone who went to several art galleries on Library Place back in the 90's, this is great news:

Re-produced in full w/permission.

New Danbury Art Gallery Pulls Artists "Out of the Woodwork"

by Amanda Bloom
from TheMercurial.com

The Mercurial Collective, a new downtown Danbury art gallery located at 11 Library Place, will be holding its grand opening for "Out of the Woodwork" on Saturday, April 30. The Collective also serves as office space for TheMercurial.com, Greater Danbury's web magazine, and the gallery aims to bring the magazine's popular "digital galleries" off the web and into the three-dimensional world.

Along with The Collective, neighboring artists Erin Walrath and Chris Durante will be opening their studios to the public and showing their work. This trio of creative minds and spaces will be lighting up Library Place with a beautiful, fun-filled family event for all to enjoy.

A total of five local artists will be coming "out of the woodwork" on the 30th. Walrath, a self-described "painter at heart", has been creating art at 13 Library Place for five years. She works primarily with "displaced objects", creating intricate, multi-media works both grand and tiny. "Rumination", a piece from 2007 on view in Walrath's studio, is a multi-paneled 9' x 14' aerial view of Baghdad. She also creates little treasure chests out of match boxes that fit in the palm of the hand.

"It seems that as long as we continue to define ourselves to such a degree, spiritually, culturally and personally by material objects," reads Walrath's artist statement, "the vast sea of garbage that we leave behind us will be obscenely saturated with evidence of our misgivings and illusions. And so, by assembling these little windows, glimpses of, or in the very best case, even vistas onto the roles we play and the beliefs we cling to, I indulge myself in this madness. And participate in what is really, beneath it all, a spiritual discipline of watching, seeing and finding meaning in chaos."

Walrath will be displaying work in her studio and next door in The Mercurial Collective.

Chris Durante has been operating his framing studio out of 9 Library Place for 15 years, providing hand-crafted frames for artists and museums, including The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield. Durante's medium is ink, with which he renders shapes and designs that, although faceless, are somehow brimming with character.

"I make complex drawings about simple things," reads his artist statement. "String, Sticks. Shapes abstracted from images in comic books. Moments of clarity when things seem to line up and then move, only to line up again, Grids. Accidents and chance."

Durante, who teaches Drawing at Norwalk Community College, will also be showing work in "Continuum: Gender Identities" at the Ridgefield Guild of Artists from April 30 to June 3.

Catherine Lucia, Durante's wife, will also be showing simple, bold and whimsical prints in "Out of the Woodwork". David Haislip, who works as a part-time framer in Durante's studio, will bring more whimsy with his art, which he creates with whatever lies in front of him, be it cat whiskers, Elmer's glue or a tangle of wire. Haislip is also a photographer and former violin restorer, and his work has been shown at The Aldrich.

Alec Jordan is the fifth "Woodwork" artist, and his medium is just that – wood. Jordan creates handsome furniture from local trees he mills himself. His materials – sassafrass, mulberry and American elm, to name a few – are not available in the general market. Jordan also has a background in sculpture and welding and has been restoring his home, a 1752 colonial, with his family for years.

"Out of The Woodwork" will take place from 4 to 7pm on Saturday, April 30. Food and drink will be served, and Woodbridge's New England Brewery will be generously providing locally brewed beer. Fairfield County's most beloved bluegrass band, String Fingers, will be playing live music. This is a free family event, and all are invited to come and celebrate our local artists and our local community.

Parking is available in the Charles A. Bardo garage on Library Place and on Main Street. Main Street parking is metered until 5:30pm.

After the opening, work can be seen Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 11am to 2pm at 11 Library Place or by appointment. Contact Amanda Bloom at (203)417-2215 or Editor@TheMercurial.com.


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