NEW BRITAIN - Local and area artists proudly displayed works in a multitude of mediums at the New Britain Artists’ Co-Op Saturday at 66 W. Main St., explaining their methods and inspirations to visitors.
The building is home to many local artists and for the show was also adorned with pieces by residents of nearby towns. These “Artists’ Co-Op” events are held multiple times throughout the year in order to give the community exposure to art.
Jill Friedman, who lives nearby in New Britain, displayed paintings that she said were influenced by African tribal art and jazz. She said she visited Africa twice with a group that included a singer, a dancer and a poet, and developed an appreciation for the native art.
“I have earth tones that give warmth and convey a message that we can all gather together to reach a better place,” said Friedman, who said she is a peace activist. “The jagged lines represent confusion.”
Roxanne Crane, an art therapist at Oak Hill School and a Middletown resident, combined acrylics and ink printing for a series of black and white pieces that she said were inspired by mythology. One piece depicts the ancient Egyptian myth of the weighing of a person’s heart against a feather to determine if it was good and could enter the afterlife or if it was wicked and would be devoured by the monster Ammit.
Another piece, titled “Beyond the Veil,” is inspired by the belief in a thin separation between “the physical world and another plane of existence.”
“This is an idea that is found in a lot of folklore and mythology and even in science with the idea of parallel worlds and string theory,” she said. “I’ve been interested in mythology for a long time - humans are a myth-making species. I began this to see what I could do with a limited pallette and a unifying theme; I normally work in vibrant colors.”
Elizabeth McNally displayed works created by an ink press that depicted animals performing human activities, such as a boxing fox and a cat with a fishing pole. She said she also likes to work in collages and abstract art. She has previously displayed some of her work at City Hall and plans to have an exhibit at the Southington Community Cultural Arts Center later this year as well.
“I like using my imagination,” she said. “I feel like some people have the idea that they have to grow out of being five years old and that they can’t play anymore. My father had a printing press, which I started working with when I was in sixth grade. I learned from him and I took printmaking classes at art schools. I like it as an art form because it is very graphical and has such a history to it. You also get to get your hands dirty and covered in ink.”
McNally said she likes having the opportunity to participate in shows such as this and meet fellow artists.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.