The David M. Hunt Library in Falls Village, CT will host an outdoor reception with refreshments on Saturday, October 9 from 4PM to 6PM for the exhibition Flora and Fauna, featuring oil paintings by Lilly Woodworth and etchings by Allen Blagden. The exhibition will be on display through December 24 and online at HuntLibrary.org/art-wall. For more information, call the library at 860-824-7424. This event is free and open to the public, disability accessible. 63 Main Street, Falls Village, CT 06031. Hours: Tues & Thurs 10-5, Fri 3-7, Sat 10-1.
The twenty small oil paintings in Flora and Fauna by Lilly Woodworth pair two age-old alchemical techniques: hand-marbled paper and églomisé, painting on glass. Marbled paper, most often seen as the swirling patterns on endpapers of books, dates to 10th century China and was adapted by both the Islamic world and renaissance Europe. In Lilly Woodworth’s Sharon, CT studio, it involves throwing acrylic colors onto the surface of a carrageenan and water mixture-filled tank, creating a floating pattern that is transferred by laying on a sheet of mordant paper. The resulting image can be hypnotic or psychedelic, vibrant or meditative. Describing the process, Woodworth said, “There is an infinite number of patterned results depending on colors chosen, the color of the paper itself, and then the manipulation of color with a stylus or variety of combs. In my three years I have not seen two sheets exactly alike. For this colorist, this is grist for the mill.”
The artist employs her marbled papers as backgrounds for oil flora paintings on glass — églomisé, a pre-Roman technique brought to perfection in 18th century France. “Flora images quite naturally complement the organic designs I create in the tank. Whether I paint the image to suit the paper or vice versa, there is a wonderful puzzle at hand when I attempt to combine these two crafts. I find the resulting work and decision-making contemplative, decorative and just plain hijinks.”
Allen Blagden is one of America’s foremost painters and a native of the Lakeville/Salisbury area. His etchings of the natural world in Flora and Fauna fall within the academic traditions of American realist painting and move beyond mere representation to reveal the personality and soul of his subjects, whether a Eurasian Eagle-owl, a domestic cat, or a Native American chieftain that looks strikingly like a self-portrait of the artist himself.
Born in 1938, Allen began formally painting at the age of ten at Lakeville’s Hotchkiss School under the tutelage of his father, artist Thomas Blagden. From his earliest days, art informed his life, taking him to the National Serengeti Park in Kenya, to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC, to the South of France, England, and Ireland, and to his beloved Adirondacks and Maine. His watercolors, renowned for their color, compositions, and technique, are held in the permanent museum collections across the United States and by countless private collectors. From detailed pencil drawings that illuminate texture and form, he builds on that foundation to create memorable and accurate renditions of his subjects, and his field of vision is encompassing, ranging from portraits of friends to landscapes, to birds and mammals of all shapes and sizes. An intense sensitivity and precision pervade his work, elevating even the simplest objects to an emotional crescendo. Keeping in the tradition of Winslow Homer and Andrew Wyeth, Blagden’s works are timeless classics. In 2016, publisher David R. Godine released Marking the Moment, a retrospective of the artist’s extensive body of work.