Big Anniversary, Small Works: Loft Artists celebrate 10th anniversary

A full range of artistic expression will be on display at the Wilson Avenue Loft Artists’ holiday exhibition and 10th anniversary celebration, Big Anniversary; Small Works.

Meltaway by Lori Glavin

The exhibition was curated by Jeffrey Mueller, director of Silvermine Galleries and professor of art history at Western Connecticut University. A majority of the WALA members are from Darien, New Canaan, Wilton, Westport, Rowayton and Norwalk, and their work represents many different views and points of view.

As viewers will discover, there are many routes to a beautiful painting or an inspiring, thought-provoking work of art. Some artists paint what they see — literally. Others express their personal response to what they see. Still others paint what they see in their imagination and some combine the various approaches.

Several of the Loft Artists members are inspired by the landscape, especially the sea.

Vibrant Sea by Vicki Smith

“Everything about the seashore — the water, the rocks and the salty air — are life to me. I want anyone who looks at my paintings to have them smell and feel what I do when I stand by the sea — that sense of wonder and oneness,” Julie Van Norden said.

Vicki Smith said she is captivated by the energy and playfulness of the waves. “They breathe different personalities of strength, endurance, color, smell, light of day and wind. I am in it or on top of it and feel it’s easy flow as it dances with the sky.”

Maryann Jones is intrigued by the serenity of the sea, saying, “The stillness of the water moves me to a deeper, quieter place within — a tremendous sense of freedom to create harmony.”

Under the Sea by Nancy McTague-Stock.

Wilton’s Nancy McTague-Stock’s aquatic paintings continue her decade-long examination of the status of our rivers, lakes and oceans; her archival pigment prints on handmade paper are from a series done in Holland. As an environmentalist, she explores “the rhythms of our environment, unexpected juxtapositions, movement, pattern and light as they relate to environmental changes.”

Leslie Concannon is an expressionistic, plein air painter who said she works wherever she is. “My paintings are a response to a moment in time and place, how the ordinary world is revealed by light.”

Britt Bair became hooked on painting cows ever since she stopped to photograph them in a pasture and they immediately swarmed up to the fence for their photo op. She uses heightened colors to enhance their bold presence.

Jay Brodsky portrays the subtle aspects of human emotion in various situation. He said, “I believe that what we see is governed by what we feel and vice versa. Allowing each person to have his or her own unique experience, I look to explore the boundary between seeing and feeling and interject my own various interpretations of what is possible.”

Farnosh (Fifi) Olamai Birch creates abstract expressionistic paintings such as The Garden of Heaven in her quest to combine the cultures of East and West, “the timeless elegance and beauty of my native Persia with the contemporary vitality of the United States — the traditional and the modern — the natural and the man-made.” She calls it her “Persian fusion.”

Oil painting by Erin Dolan

Erin Dolan’s abstract paintings and collages often begin with patterns, textures and colors found in nature. The physical and visual experience within nature become her “sense memories.” She is inspired by the contrast and connection between the natural and urban expanse.

Darien’s Lori Glavin’s abstract work “is inspired by the visual clatter of mundane places — my domestic environment and studio where possessions are stacked, scattered, organized and misplaced.” In her paintings and collages she combines, collects and sorts, layering small bits to make an arrangement that becomes “a monument to the minutiae of my daily life.”

Juliette Jansen said her work is typically inspired by emotions and what she sees.

“But recently I’ve been interested in the opposite; playing with random forms synthesized in my imagination. As I try to be original, unique forms and useless objects do appear. But they look familiar because my sensibility can only derive from nature and my experiences in the observable world,” Jansen said.

Claudia Renfro says, “My work embodies total creative freedom — permission, without judgment or societal conventions — to laugh at life, the good, the messy, the ugly. I work intuitively, with no plan. The unconscious unfolds and dictates. The images are like a bizarre dream — a carnival pulled from memory and my perverse sense of humor.”

Miami Vacation by Jay Brodsky

Ruth Ipe, traditionally a painter and photographer, has recently begun making art inspired by quilting, paying homage to her rural Kentucky heritage. She paints squares of colored paper and using them as fabric, cuts them to create individual blocks, then joins and “collages” them to create a larger painting.

The three-day event kicks off with a public reception on Dec. 1 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. and Open Studios continue on Dec. 2 and 3 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The studios are at 225 Wilson Avenue, South Norwalk. The entrance and parking are behind the building, off Ely Avenue.

A portion of the proceeds from the sales of this WALA exhibition will be donated to the Center for Contemporary Printmaking’s Grace Shanley Memorial Fund for high school student scholarships.

For more information, visit or email Lori Glavin: