Sunday, February 1, 2009

My painting in the 2009 Salon des Independants @ Hygienic Arts in New London

At the last minute, I decided to enter a piece in the 30th annual Salon des Independants at Hygienic Art in New London, CT. I started a new painting, but hated how it was coming out, so I then finished a painting I had started for last year's Salon but never got around to finishing.

[* I entered a different painting last year, which didn't sell, & I forgot to pick it up, so I have no idea what happened to it... I have no pictures of it or any other record of it, unfortunately. I could have SWORN that I blogged about the experience, but I can't find a post anywhere in any of my past journals... argh]

My entry for 2009:

All Loveliness Is Anguish
Title: All Loveliness Is Anguish
Year: 2008/2009
Dimensions: 11 in. X 14 in.
Media: Acrylic on canvas.

Here's a bit more information about the event:
Hygienic Art, Inc. was created as an incorporated structure in the fall of 1979, when artists employed by a federal Comprehensive Education and Training Act (CETA) grant decided, as a final project, to hold an outsiders' art festival. The show was modeled after the "Salon des Independants," a late 19th century art movement in Paris in which artists had protested the aristocracy by exhibiting their works in cafes located in the 'seamy' areas of the city. The artists in those exhibitions gave rise the the great French Impressionist movement.

The exhibition was presented at the Hygienic Restaurant, New London's only 24 hour eatery, which had been open since 1919. The rules were simple; no judge, no jury, no fees, no censorship, one piece per artist and all were welcome. The show was an immediate success and the Hygienic Art Exhibition became an annual creative arts festival, attracting over 450 artists and an audience of thousands...

...The show has moved around over the years taking root at a pizza joint, rock clubs and other historic sites around the city. Wherever the people were the art was hung. Andn there was a lot of art (last year nearly 500 showed their work) and lots of people to take it in (the show, fondly dubbed New London's only Winter Tourist Attraction, averages more than 3000 visitors on its opening night alone).

Everything changed in 2000 when Hygienic Art, Inc., the non-profit organization formed to oversee the show annually, made a bold move to save the historic Hygienic Restaurant building which was quickly sliding down a path to demolition in the name of redevelopment. The building was purchased, rehabilitated and now houses the Hygienic Galleries as well as a Cooperative of developing artists. Hygienic Art soon took aim at the property next door, a vacant dirt lot, and built the iconic Art Park which now plays host to music, theatre and other community events.
(Above excerpts taken from the Hygienic XXX Collectors Program)

Hygienic XXX program
Design: Karli Hendrickson

I arrived at around 4:30 pm, hung my piece, then wandered the space for awhile, checking out all the other art.

My painting on display (I was entry #502):
My painting @ Hygienic Art - Salon des Independants XXX

The official opening was at 8 pm, and since we had time to kill, my friend & I decided to have dinner at the little bistro across the street, Brie & Bleu.

Brie & Bleu market and bistro Brie & Bleu market and bistro

We had originally intended to just order something small, but ended up getting a bunch of stuff to share, it was so difficult to choose! We started with the Tuscan white bean spread with toasted baguette slices, then added the Antipasto plate, which included mixed olives, prosciutto, and cheeses (brie, a 5-year Gouda, & Blue Stilton); my friend ordered the soup of the day, which was a hearty chicken tortilla; I had one of the daily specials, fish tacos (blue corn tortilla, shredded cabbage, white fish & some kind of creamy sauce) with a side of pico de gallo & rice. We also ordered a bottle of wine recommended by our server -- the Don Ramon 2006. After dinner, we lingered for a bit, my friend got a coffee and we shared a chocolate pot d’crème garnished with sliced strawberry.

We wandered back to the gallery for awhile longer, but it had gotten REALLY crowded so we didn't stick around -- there was literally no room to walk around by the time we left.

A few examples of the work on display:
Hygienic Art - Salon des Independants XXX Hygienic Art - Salon des Independants XXX Hygienic Art - Salon des Independants XXX
(click the photos for artist information)

[The piece on the right reminds me of a sculpture by Tim Noble & Sue Webster called Pink Narcissus; my friend Dekka Raymaker recently posted 2 pics of it on his photostream -- ]

For more pictures from the gallery, please click here to see the rest of the photoset. This is not a comprehensive collection of the work on display by any means (there were well over 500 pieces); I don't have a good camera (only my cellphone), so I simply took pictures of the ones I liked best to remember them.

If my painting doesn't sell, I have to go back in about two weeks to retrieve it -- I hope I remember to this time!

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