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'Source And Surrender' Will Combine Finished And Interactive Art At The Blue Z



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‘Source And Surrender’

Will Combine Finished And Interactive Art At The Blue Z

By Nancy K. Crevier

Paint, sculpture, light, journaling, and interactive art all come together in “Source and Surrender,” a premiere show by Newtown artist Joanne Keane, on display at Blue Z Coffee House on South Main Street in Newtown from April 4 to May 2.

Ms Keane, a graduate of Buffalo State University and the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City where she earned her degree in textiles, has been painting for nearly 20 years.

“I started taking fine arts classes just after we started a family,” said Ms Keane, “and have taken years of workshops and classes, following my passions.” She has studied at Silvermine Guild Art Center in New Canaan, NYU Tisch School of Film, WestConn, Norwalk Community College, Studio School in New York, and most recently with the artist Alexander Shundi in Amenia, N.Y., focusing on oil painting.

Many of the more than 20 oil paintings in the show, several prints, and numerous sculptures feature an iconic household item — the light bulb — an example of her desire to tap into the art value in simple objects.

“I love to get really into things and study them,” said Ms Keane. “Light bulbs are the invisible energy source. They are the vehicle, like the stream of consciousness. The light is like the flow of thought,” she said and the bulbs have lent themselves to her inspirations not only in paint, but through sculpture, as well.

“The shape of the light bulb — the incandescent ones, anyway — is a sort of rounded, human form to me,” said Ms Keane. So not only has she utilized genuine bulbs in her sculptures and installations, but has created dozens of bulbs from everyday materials. “I’m making them from all kinds of materials,” she said, “and having fun and a sense of humor with doing it.” Bulbs from bubble-wrap, foil, aluminum, mesh, string, and tape dangle from wires, suspended beneath the skylight of her Tory Lane workshop in preparation for the exhibit.

A more recognizable human form is apparent in other works that Ms Keane will exhibit this coming month at Blue Z. Painted Mannequin busts and a full-size, high-heeled female mannequin figure have scrawled across the shoulders and torso words and phrases, some very definable, others obscured by layers of milk paint. It is this form of journaling that draws the show together, with many of the oil paintings also illuminating the written word.

“I have a love of stream of consciousness journaling and I wanted to bring it to the canvas,” explained Ms Keane. “In journaling, you surrender your ego and let creativity flow,” she said. “Journaling is letting the mind just speak, but I don’t really want people to read the words, the thoughts, so I will obfuscate the words so that they are ‘read’ as a visual, and not as the words. I’m excited to get all of this pulled together.”

Also prominent in many of the works is another simple image, that of the eye. “I think that the idea behind the eyes is that there is a ‘self’ behind the clutter of thought that makes up stream of consciousness,” explained Ms Keane. “The eyes, the bulbs, the words all are sort of essential to the theme of  ‘Source and Surrender.’”

For those visitors to the exhibit who want to think inside the box, rather than outside of it, they literally can. “The Box,” a 4 by 4-foot room Ms Keane has built and illuminated by one bare, yellow light bulb, is the interactive portion of the show. The walls are bare and it is Ms Keane’s hope that “The Box” will inspire people to surrender to their own flow of consciousness and journal on the walls, creating a community work of art.

“Having the space at Blue Z available for this show has been a real inspiration to me,” said Ms Keane, who expected to be working on several of the pieces right up to the time of the opening on April 4. “All of the art has just started to flow and the ideas are still moving me.”

Assisting Ms Keane in the display of the multi-media show is Adam Zuckerman, owner of A-Z Museum Service in Newtown. Mr Zuckerman has donated his services in putting together the “Source and Surrender” exhibit. Mr Zuckerman’s consulting business specializes in helping business and residential clients bests display their works of art. He can be contacted at a-zmuseum@svc.com.

The public is invited to the opening reception for “Source and Surrender” at the Blue Z Coffee House, 127 South Main Street, on Saturday, April 4, from 7 to 9 pm. Sunberry Tree, an acoustic folk-rock violin and guitar duo, will join with The Drum Bums of Fairfield County to provide musical inspiration during the reception.

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