A dedicated art gallery has been a vital feature of the Greenwich Library since 1928. An original concept in its time, it remains exceptional to this day. Looking Forward, Looking Back, the first exhibition of the Flinn Gallery 2018-19 program, is perfectly themed to launch the celebration of its 90th anniversary season.  

Curated by Leslee Asch and Dianne Niklaus, the exhibit features four artists who use their talent, originality and familiarity with the work of past masters to open a dialogue with the inspired innovators whose works preceded them. Rebecca Clark, Rebecca Smith Ford, Hilary Irons, and Alexandra Rozenman have each selected their own pathway to engage in a conversation with art history.    

Rebecca Clark is an artist, photographer, and teacher, who works from her studio in the foothills of the CT Berkshires. Trained in art history and photography at Oberlin and RISD, she extrapolates segments from “master works” and “manipulates, distorts, and enhances the original to create a new piece which echoes the past but conveys a different focus and message. She mounts the altered image on hardboard covered with encaustic medium giving it “a rich, luminous, irregular surface that evokes the historic work that served as inspiration.” 

Rebecca Smith Ford is a Greenwich resident and maintains a studio in Port Chester. There she uses her powerful imagination to create “historic paintings that were never painted!” She earned art degrees from Carnegie Mellon and Yale. She has also spent much time studying in museums, which has had a shaping influence on the work she produces. Realizing that post-visit museum reflections often meld the details of two different paintings, she began creating works that “juxtapose and integrate elements” of several traditional paintings to produce a “remix” that embraces the secrets of the originals but presents them in a contemporary composition. Her frequent inclusion of exquisite flowers or other nods to nature reinforces the coexistence of reality and illusion in the ironically “eerie familiarity” of the “new classic.” 

Hilary Irons is based in Portland, Maine. Attendance at Yale and Parsons expanded her childhood penchant for drawing and nurtured her skills and versatility. Her works reflect awareness of landscape, set design, abstraction, and personal history.  She is profoundly aware of man’s relentless,” collective attempts to make the unrestrained, natural world into a place of order.” Her creations acknowledge respect for the history of these conflicting forces, while incorporating her own family narrative. In her version of Gleaners, she juxtaposes her grandfather’s work experience as a nuclear physicist at Los Alamos with the field laborers found in the19th century naturalistic masterpiece.  

Alexandra Rozenman, now based in the Boston area, was born in Russia where she received classical training before emigrating to study and work in New York. She developed her approach after earning art degrees from Empire State College and Tufts University. Using vivid colors and a whimsical imagination, she paints narratives in which she imagines herself as a part of a particular artist’s time period, style, and subject matter. “By inserting myself into the painting, I point out the irony of living with[in] an artist’s life and works.” The exercise supplies “inspiration and painterly influence.” Her canvases reflect her own talent and humor as she clearly pays homage to the genius that inspired each piece. The canvases that result could be considered a metaphoric rendezvous between the two artists.  

Looking Forward, Looking Back runs from September 6 through October 17.  

EVENTS: 

Thursday September 6th 6-8pm: Opening Reception  

Friday September 14th 8pm: Award-winning film Loving Vincent with Art Lounge from 6pm in the gallery preceding the screening in the Cole Auditorium at 8pm. 

Sunday September 16th 2pm: All four artists will discuss their work in an Artist Talk  

For more information visit:  http://flinngallery.com/looking-forward-looking-back/ 

The Flinn Gallery is sponsored by the Friends of the Greenwich Library, and is located on the second floor of the library, 101 West Putnam Avenue. Gallery hours are Monday-Saturday 10-5 Thursday until 8, Sunday 1-5.