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Newtown Artist Among Those Honored By Silvermine 'A•One' Curator



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NEW CANAAN — Silvermine Art Center’s “A•One” exhibition is celebrating the center’s 70th year with a dynamic array of work exploring a wide spectrum of forms and ideas. The national competition/exhibition highlights the diversity of work currently being created by established and emerging artists.

Barbara O’Brien, independent curator and critic and former executive director of Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Mo., served as juror for this year’s exhibition, on view at Silvermine Galleries through October 16. O’Brien has selected 82 works for inclusion, representing 48 artists.

“The spring and summer of 2020 have been like no other time in our collective memory,” O’Brien writes of this year’s competition and exhibition. “A confluence of dramas has challenged our sense of equilibrium: a global pandemic, righteous cries for social justice, a demoralizing political environment, and fears for the future of the planet.

“The board, staff, and members of Silvermine can be proud of the opportunity that ‘A•One’ creates for a dialogue regarding the challenges and ideas of our time as understood through the lens of a national community of artists,” she added.

Out of this time of physical separation and racial reckoning comes a wealth of vibrant work, including Alexander Churchill’s uniquely expressive figure painting; Miller Opie’s graceful, abstract sculptures that incorporate a moose clavicle, ribs, and tibia; and Kate Fauvell’s powerful antiracist scenes made of photographs, acrylics, and collage work.

O’Brien considers this year’s ‘A•One’ an exhibition “of bold colors and emotional impact... Works of art in which a personal vocabulary — the voice of the artist — is present.”

In celebrating the opening of the exhibition, the following awards were also announced:

*The Board Chair Grand Prize to Alexander Churchill of Norwalk.

*The Patricia Warfield Jinishian Figurative Award to Tian Hui of South Orange, N.J.

*The Carole Eisner Sculpture Award to Arlene Rush of New York, N.Y.

*The Mollie & Albert Jacobson Sculpture Award to Miller Opie of Norwalk.

*Jerry’s Artarama of Norwalk Awards to Caroline Harman of Newtown and Scott Roberts of New York, N.Y.

*Awards of Excellence to June Ahrens of Stamford, Francine Gintoff of East Hampton, Ellen Jacob of New York, N.Y., Dana Kotler of Weehawken, N.J., and Miguel Rivera of Kansas City, Mo.

Established in 1949 as “The New England Exhibition,” a regional exhibit, the exhibit later became known as “Art of the Northeast.” Now a national exhibition, “A•One” offers a wide range of collectible contemporary artwork both vibrant and surprising.

Throughout its history, Silvermine’s signature exhibition has featured the work of many prominent artists including Louise Nevelson, Elaine de Kooning, and Milton Avery, and jurors have included major critics, curators, and directors from influential art institutions.

For nearly three decades Barbara O’Brien’s curatorial practice has focused on the art and artists of the time. She was executive director of Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Mo., from 2012 to 2017, after serving as chief curator and director of exhibitions since 2009. In 2018 and 2019, she was a consulting curator for Housatonic Museum of Art in Bridgeport, and from 2003 to 2006 O’Brien was editor-in-chief of Art New England magazine.

She earned an MFA from Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and in 2006 was awarded the RISD national alumni award for professional achievement. O’Brien is an elected member of AICA-USA, the international organization of art critics.

Silvermine Galleries are open to the public. Among the safety protocols in place to keep staff, students and visitors safe when inside Silvermine buildings, face masks are mandatory, gloves are encouraged, all must maintain social distance of at least 6 feet; and only one person at a time is allowed in a restroom.

When outdoors, social distancing rules are in effect. Requiring masks outdoors is not possible, but gathering is not allowed.

For further information or to view “A•One” online, visit silvermineart.org and click on the black banner at the top of the page.

It is recommended that those planning to visit the galleries make an appointment at 203-966-­9700, extension 3 or sacgallery@silvermineart.org.

Newtown resident Caroline Harman received a Jerry’s Artarama of Norwalk Award for this work, “a farewell to ice,” which is among the 80-plus works included in Silvermine Art Center’s “A•One.” The large (60 by 60 inches) work was created with acrylics, ink, and spray paint on canvas. —image courtesy Silvermine Art Center
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