The Slater Memorial Museum will present a new exhibition, Meadow Life in its Converse Gallery June 12 through August 5, 2016. The exhibition opens Sunday, June 12 with a reception 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. free and open to the public.
With Connecticut’s open space threatened by development, ignorance and neglect, artists have used their visual “voices” to reveal its beauty and intrinsic value. The concept of Meadow Life was originally proposed by Eleanor Miller, herself a professional artist residing in Preston and a Norwich Free Academy alumna (class of 1973). Eleanor’s work combines a mystical atmosphere with elements of nature. Other artists participating are regional favorites like Mark Patnode, Garnet Wrigley, Carol Dunn, Dan Topalis, Colleen Tramontozzi and Barb McKie. Media to be displayed include oils on canvas and board, pastels, photographs and textiles. The artists use imagery that might be considered traditional in the landscape genre, as well as focusing on minute aspects of nature and combining imagery in original ways. Some of the artists, like Virge Lorents, reveal aspects of our environment that now threaten the natural environment, like artificial light pollution. Styles vary from abstract and impressionistic to hyper-realistic. The exhibition promises to display work for every taste, yet hold together with a message for today.
The exhibition will include works from the museum’s permanent collections; recent acquisitions never before on public view. Included will be work by Alexander Ritchie (1863-1946), gifts of the Huntington Family in Memory of William L. Huntington, Jr. and Eleanor Huntington. Ritchie was born in Scotland, but he lived for a time in Norwich and was a foreman at Norwich Nickel and Brass Company, located on, or near, Chestnut Street. All of the paintings in this group date from the second decade of the 20th century and they reveal the very rural nature of the area around Ford’s Pond in Norwich a century ago. Ritchie became the grandfather of William Lathrop Huntington, an NFA alumnus and the father of an NFA alumnus, who traced their genealogy in Norwich to 1659.
Also on display will be pastels by Ron Wing (1929-2015), who graduated from NFA in 1948 with a Fine Arts diploma. Born in 1929 in San Diego, California, Ron was awarded a scholarship to Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. He lived and worked as a cartoonist and illustrator in New York City for most of the 50’s. In the early 1960’s, Ron moved to Benton, Pennsylvania where he established a studio in an 18th century mill and made painting his life. His love of nature, the mystery of life and death, and other allegorical themes have been captured in the mediums of oil, watercolor, pastel, pencil, charcoal and etchings. He adopted the motto of Volatire, “look to your own backyard,” painting the natural environment surrounding the mill. Every fall for decades at the mill, he offered a viewing of recent works to friends, neighbors and clients.
With the gardening, hiking, paddling and exploring season upon us, the museum will offer programming that will delight those undaunted by pollen and bugs! A walk in Lowthorpe Meadow with noted biologist Sigrun (Suki) N. Gadwa, MS, WS, an ecologist and Registered Soil Scientist of Cheshire, Connecticut, will include specimen collecting, followed by an herbarium-making class and activity. All ages are invited to join us in June and July as we engage in a celebration of the outdoor world of Connecticut. The exhibition, Meadow Life, in Converse Gallery, will make it possible for those daunted by the real outdoors, to enjoy a sense of the great outdoors.
The Slater Memorial Museum and Converse Art Gallery are part of the Norwich Free Academy, 108 Crescent Street, Norwich 06360. Housed in an exemplary Romanesque Revival building (1886), the museum features full scale plaster casts of Egyptian, Archaic, Greek, Roman and Renaissance sculpture; fine and decorative Art representing 350 years of Norwich History, Native American artifacts; Asian, African, Oceanic, Egyptian, and European art and ethnographic material. The museum annually presents up to six temporary exhibitions of contemporary art. Open year round. Tues – Fri, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Sat/Sun 1 – 4:00 p.m. Please call 860-887-2506 for directions and general information or visit www.slatermuseum.org.
CONTACT: Vivian F. Zoë, 860-425-5560