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10/05/2017 12:01 AM

Two Studios Announce Grand Opening on Main Street in Essex

Planet of Moonlight, Kevin Van Aelst

The Melanie Carr Gallery and the Earth and Fire Studio are celebrating grand openings at their galleries on Main Street Essex on Saturday, Oct. 21.

The Melanie Carr Gallery will hold its grand opening and inaugural exhibition of Cool & Collected, a group exhibition of 14 contemporary artists at 1 North Main Street, across from the Essex Art Association, running from Saturday, Oct. 21 to Sunday, Dec. 3. The opening reception will be Saturday, Oct. 21 from 4 to 7 p.m.

This exhibition will highlight the work of artists in Carr’s collection including Mary Dwyer, whose historical portrait paintings revolve around historic lore and her love of early portraiture paintings; Kevin Van Aelst, whose cerebral photographs consist of common artifacts and scenes from everyday life, which he rearranges into various forms, patterns, and illustrations; and Bombay-born artist Rashmi Talpade, whose photomontages are amalgamations of reconstructed landscapes that reflect the intersection of Eastern and Western cultures, along with other artists.

Carr’s studio will occupy the back of the gallery. Works on paper of gallery artists will be available in the Flat Files; a 10-drawer cabinet of flat drawers that will allow more intimate works on paper to be available for sale in addition to the artwork on view. Also, there will be a dedicated space to serve as a hands-on mark-making lab for visitors of all ages. Visitors are invited to explore different artist’s materials as a way to demystify and encourage the process of drawing, encourage creativity, and develop a deeper understanding, appreciation, and interest in art.

Carr is a Connecticut-based artist who received her MFA from the College of Art and Design at Lesley University in 2011. Carr began her studies in visual art after serving in the United States Navy. After 10 years at the New Britain Museum of American Art as a director/curator, Carr is now adjunct professor at Central Connecticut State University and recently joined the staff at Lyme Academy of Fine Arts, University of New Haven.

Art Classes Offered at Earth and Fire

Earth and Fire Art Studio, at 2 Main Street in downtown Essex, will celebrate its grand opening Saturday, Oct. 21 from 4 to 8 p.m.

Earth and Fire Studio offers art classes that are small in size and provide students a unique opportunity to become part of a close artistic community, one that learns and inspires together.

Julie Bonilla, artist, is the owner of Earth and Fire Art Studio. Her background includes an education in studio and fine art at Michigan State University, coupled with a degree in psychology from Southern Connecticut State University.

Her work in both ceramics and paint is inspired by the colors, sounds, sights, and seasons of the Connecticut River Valley, as well as her travels throughout America and abroad.

Fabric of Space and Time, Kevin Van Aelst
Disruption—Undulation, Ben Parker
Disruption—Writhe, Ben Parker