Regional artists in spotlight at New Britain Museum of American Art's Nor'Easter exhibition

Published on Monday, 24 June 2019 10:27
Written by Erica Drzewiecki


NEW BRITAIN - Artists from across the region celebrated their works Sunday at the opening reception of “Nor’Easter: the 49th Annual Juried Exhibition” at the New Britain Museum of American Art.

For Juror’s Choice winner Phyllis Meredith, it was both a homecoming and a proud moment.

The Connecticut native recently moved to Florence, Mass., with her husband, Chris, but returned for the event, in which her photograph, “Liberty One,” was showcased.

Featuring a large feather lain down the bare back of a woman, the piece is one of 52 in a series Meredith calls “Feathered.”

“I was working on a year-long project with a photo partner I have in the UK,” she explained. “We would each present to each other a picture featuring a feather once a week.”

This particular image appeared to her in a dream and she discovered the feather used at New Haven boutique Fashionista.

Meredith’s works have been featured in previous years’ Nor’Easter exhibitions. This was the first time she received an award from the museum.

“It’s such an honor to be in this show to begin with, I am beyond happy,” she said.

The show is on display through July 14 in the Stitzer Family Gallery and Vance Gallery upstairs. A total of 957 entries came in this year from 392 artists in 15 states. Seventy-one artists were selected by Juror Nicholas Bell, from the Mystic Seaport Museum. Their works represent a variety of media.

Four winners were announced by NBMAA Deputy Director Michelle Hargrave at Sunday’s opening reception.

A $1,000 first prize was awarded to Russell Rittell of Cold Spring, New York, for “Judas Behavior.”

In his statement about the selection process, Bell compared his review to “the swimming of a great conjured ocean.”

“How to shrink this ocean – and how to make sense of it – is the challenge, when the gallery’s dimension’s require a selection rate on par with Ivy League schools,” Bell said.

NBMAA Development Associate Jenna Lucas congratulated all of the artists as they browsed each other’s works.

“We had a really great turnout,” Lucas said. “Just a lot of support from the artists and our membership.”

Second prize winner Rashmi Talpade of Wallingford answered questions about her piece, “Urban Legend” - for which she took home a $500 prize.

“All of the photographs I used for the collage are my own, taken in different cities,” Talpade said. “I wanted to feature factories, broken buildings... landscapes that are typically viewed as ugly, and bring out their beauty.”

Third prize winner Susan Goldberg lives in West Hartford, but it was a moment she captured on camera in Madison that served as her inspiration for “The Gate.”

This linoleum relief print with green, yellow and blue hues offers a new perspective on a garden centerpiece.

“My son has exhibited in the show twice before and he encouraged me to enter my work this year,” Goldberg said.

Her son, Evan Fable, is an art teacher at New Britain High School.

Fellow artist R. Douglass Rice’s oil painting “Poet and Merrill House Fellow, Walter Perry, in My Leather Chair” is one of 20 in a series he calls “Artists in Chairs.”

The Pulitzer Prize-winning poet sat for Rice in his studio when he was visiting the area.

“He said to me, can I talk during this?” Rice recalled with a laugh. “I told him I couldn’t shut you up if I tried. He said, ‘ok give me a drink.’ And I said ‘what do you want?”

Visitors have the opportunity to place a vote for their favorite piece and a Visitor’s Choice Award will be presented the last day of the show, July 14. Ballots are available in the galleries.

Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at 860-801-5097 or

Posted in New Britain Herald, , New Britain on Monday, 24 June 2019 10:27. Updated: Monday, 24 June 2019 10:29.