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To say things get better with age can be an understatement. Take the exhibition at the Silvermine Arts Center opening on Feb. 16, for instance, “ReFRAMING Aging: Health, Happiness, and the Arts,” which features works by nine well-established artists in their later years, ages 72-87, who are now, arguably, making the best work of their careers. Paintings by a 10th artist will be exhibited in memoriam.
“There’s a bigger story here for everyone about lifelong creativity, what that has to do with aging, what that has to do with intergenerational bonding,” said Dr. Robin Jaffee Frank, director of strategy and development at the Silvermine Arts Center.
“Some of the works by the artists in ‘ReFRAMING Aging’ have become far more powerful, so that if you juxtapose the work they’re creating now with what they did early in their career or in the middle of their career, which is what we’re going to do in the show, you see "certain themes that carry through,” she continued. “But you also see the way in which they’ve honed their skills, their ideas, the way their self-knowledge, their confidence has created a kind of flowering, a revitalization, a brilliance in their later years that wasn’t there before. And that’s really the story we have to tell.”
The featured artists are Silvermine Guild members who were selected by gallery director Roger Mudre. June Ahrens, Paedra Bramhall, Marilyn Clements, Kathy Conway, Carol Nipomnich Dixon, James Grashow, James Reed, Jonathan Talbot and Florence Zolan will be included in the show. Paintings by Binnie Birstein will be exhibited in memoriam. The media and material ranges from cardboard sculpture, collage, photography, oil painting, watercolor and pastels, printmaking, and mixed media pieces using industrial or household materials.
The idea of presenting artists in their 70s through their 80s and 90s is not new at Silvermine, which also featured similarly themed exhibitions “The Legacy of Silvermine” in the previous two years. However, Frank said that “ReFRAMING Aging” has a strong programming component that the others did not.