AMY J. BARRY, Special to The Day
Published June 13. 2014 4:00AM
The Lyme Art Association (LAA) expands its horizons, quite literally, with a group show that features paintings by members of the American Society of Marine Artists who were invited to show their work alongside the work of LAA member artists.
LAA received 255 submissions for the exhibition of which 140 were accepted.
"Just over half were accepted, which is in line with our goals to present high quality, rigorously juried exhibits," says Joe Newman, LAA's executive director.
"Including work by the American Society of Marine Artists gives us the opportunity to exhibit work by exceptional artists from outside our region that patrons of our gallery might not have had the chance to enjoy," says Newman, "and we're extremely happy that LAA member artists' work is (also in the exhibit). It shows extremely well next to these national artists."
Newman gives Neal Hughes of Maine as an example of "an exciting artist whose work might not have had the chance to be exhibited here. His painting, 'Breezy Afternoon' celebrates natural beauty the way the original Old Lyme artists would have. It's a wonderful blend of contrasting forms that come together as a bright, vigorous American scene."
Newman cites several exceptional local painters from the many with work in the show.
He says of Lou Bonomarte of New London's watercolor, "Cape Ann, Inlet," "It's a wonderful example of his wonderful style with strong flat forms and a balance of bright light and shadow. He's had a long and dynamic career - he's exhibited here before - and we're glad to have him back."
"You can always spot a Jerry Weiss by its dynamic brush strokes," he says of the Chester artist, who taught at Lyme Academy College of Fine Art and has held workshops at LAA. Weiss's oil painting "Early Autumn" is in the show.
Dennis Sirrine of Stonington, Newman notes, has made a major shift in his oil painting style.
"He spent the first part of his career painting well-received if conventional salt marshes and landscapes, but has moved into a new, exciting and more abstract mode of which his painting "Starting Line" is a prime example."
Sunil Howlader of Westbrook's brush strokes are what Newman says makes his paintings unique and interesting, pointing to his oil painting titled "Sunset."
"If you follow the line of his brushwork, it's rarely linear. If you follow the flow of color it folds back in on itself, but in the end you have a very readable landscape that rewards the viewer from afar and stuns the viewer up close."
Russ Kramer of Mystic, an internationally recognized marine painter, juried the exhibition.
Kramer says of the show overall, "There was a great deal of diversity, subject matter, mediums and approach, which is what I think is attractive about this exhibition - there's something for everyone.
"It's really remarkable to me," he adds, "that a lot of the work is local, coastal scenes, the same themes that have been inspiring Connecticut artists for the past 100 years," which he points out is the age of LAA - founded in 1914.
Kramer says what he looks for when judging a marine art painting is the same as any other painting.
"I assess each piece individually on its merits," he says. "I look for things that make up a good painting: accurate drawing and a good balance of values and a vision. I think each painting has to have a real voice of the artist. I really look for originality and there were quite a few of those. I was surprised to see so much strong work entered.
"LAA is an extraordinarily special place in the hearts and minds of many people in the arts community and in southeastern Connecticut," Kramer adds. "And it's a great place to show off art because the rooms are generous, the ceilings are high, and the lighting is very even. It's a terrific gallery space."