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‘Come Wander’ Celebrates The Beauty Of The Landscape



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“Come Wander” is a fitting name to the current exhibition of art on view at Newtown Municipal Center. Large-scale photographs by Michele Hermsen and equally large-scale paintings by Virginia Zimmermann invite visitors to wander through thematically arranged images that span the globe.

According to a shared statement by the artists, “We are taking the audience on a journey of peace, tranquility and simple beauty. We — all people — have been mentally shattered but still, there is no denying, certain things remain constant and unchanged. If you forge your way through, with open mind, soul, you will notice the world is still the same beautiful … place. Sometimes you need to wander through to see it. Come with us and we will take you there.”

National parks, South America, England, Italy, the beaches of Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard, and the western United States are all found within “Come Wander.” The collection offers 28 colorful, beautifully composed views.

Zimmermann is a Newtown resident. Hermsen lives in Fairfield. Both teach at Fairfield Ludlowe High School.

The two artists hung their works in the main corridor/gallery space of the Primrose Street building on June 6. The collection is on view until the end of July.

“We felt we’ve been so contained, so shut in from COVID, we wanted to go out and celebrate the landscape — its beauty and the majesty,” Zimmermann said.

“We discussed doing this on a small scale, but it just can’t be done,” added Hermsen. “There’s just too much to take in.”

“The idea is, these are big landscapes. You are totally absorbed by them,” said Zimmermann.

Hermsen agreed, saying “You’re engulfed. You have to stand still, just to take it all in.”

Entering the building from its southern entrance, visitors will first encounter an image of a garden gate, then fences.

“We purposely did that, to serve as a transition,” Hermsen said.

“It really is a dialogue, this give and take, back and forth, between photos and paintings of different places,” Zimmermann said.

The exhibition is sponsored by Newtown Cultural Arts Commission. The commission’s showcase at the municipal center is also holding a collection of small works by Zimmermann this month. The works can all be viewed weekdays between 8 am and 5 pm, and evenings when the building is open for town board or commission meetings.


Managing Editor Shannon Hicks can be reached at shannon@thebee.com.

Michele Hermsen, left, and Virginia Zimmermann stand with one of each of their works during the installation of “Come Wander.” Nearly 30 large-scale works of art by the two artists are on view through the end of July at Newtown Municipal Center. —Bee Photo, Hicks
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