Friday evening I attended the opening reception for Essex Art Association’s Elected Artists’ Members Show entitled Black & White. The gallery was abuzz with creative discussion and laughter. Everyone seemed to have an hors d’oeuvre in one hand and glass of wine in the other as they looked at the different works of art. There were paintings, drawings, photography, and sculptures made with all kinds materials. You were sure to find one that spoke to you. One of my favorites was a pen and ink study of a dog’s facial expressions. Every piece was based on the color scheme of black and white, or gray scale. This brought cohesiveness to the show, even if the topics or style of each piece were jarringly different. There were 143 pieces in all, each by an elected artist and member of the Essex Art Association (EAA).
Half way through the reception, a man with what appeared to be a circular trumpet of some kind blew on the instrument to alert everyone that the awards and prizes were about to be given. I had never heard such fanfare at an art show; it was great. Everyone bustled over to one of the rooms of the gallery to hear the announcements and applaud the winners. There were nine awards in all:
- Exit Gallery Solo Show Award: Carol Young for “Megalopolis”
- EAA Best in Show Award: Dianne Gorrick for “Night into Day”
- EAA Drawing Award: David Schulz for “Ashley”
- EAA Photography Award: Carol Dunn for “Unfulfilled Promise”
- EAA Any Medium Award: Kathleen DeMeo for “Deep Sky”
- Lohman Award: Catherine Puccio for “Leaning Nude”
- Gantner Watercolor Award: Kay R. Brigante for “Study for Portrait of Kaleigh”
- Gantner Painting Award: Sarah Stifler Lucas for “Lunch Noir”
- and the delightfully titled EAA “Wow, How Did You Think of That?” Award: Jean Dalton for “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever”
If you’re in the area, I highly recommend checking it out at 10 North Main Street in Essex, CT. It is open to the public and runs from May 31st through June 21st, open daily from 1-5 pm, except on Tuesdays. It is free, but donations are encouraged. It also has an Exit Gallery currently featuring Muriel Miller’s “Paintings in Plein Air.” I am familiar with her work, as some of it is in the private collection of Eastern Connecticut State University.