October 11, 2008

Haunted art gallery in Middletown

On Saturdays, sometimes I have to range far afield to write what my editors want for Sunday's Herald Press. It only happens every couple of months that my number comes up so I can't complain much.

So even th0ugh I doubt there are too many people in Bristol who would care, I give you this Saturday story, about an art gallery in Middletown:

Tucked away in a little art space on the north end of Middletown’s Main Street is a collection of ghouls, monsters, devils and death.
They’re all at the Middletown Artist Cooperative’s MAC 650 Artspace Gallery.
Lining its walls through Halloween are a widely varied collection of paintings, drawings and sculpture that include spiders crawling on eyeballs and brightly-colored demons.
“They put together something really, really nice,” said artist Adam Polsz, who has a couple of little pen and ink drawings included in the show.
Enza Giannone, a theater artist who lives at the cooperative, said that she “really likes the monsters,” a few creepy creatures that look like they came out Jim Henson’s “The Dark Crystal.”
Carrie Swider, a Hartford artist, said her favorite piece is probably the “Vampire Blood Transfusion Device” that perhaps could be vampire blood.
“It’s just the idea of it and the fact that it actually does work,” Swider said.
The show, called “The Haunted Gallery,” opened Friday and pulled in a crowd of nearly 200, Swider and Giannone said.
Two of the most striking exhibits are oil paintings by retired Wesleyan University professor John Frazer that show a man’s body with a snake head, in one case, and a bear head, in another.
“I don’t know if they mean anything,” Frazer said. “Maybe that all men are snakes or all men are bears.”
He said he was delighted when asked to contribute to the October-themed show and figured, “I’ll give you something that’ll knock your socks off.”
Frazer, who lives in Middletown and taught Swider, said he painted the large oils about five years ago after running through a series that included nude men with “all sorts of foliage growing out of their heads” and another that put skulls atop the nudes.
“Then I thought, let’s put the animal on top of them,” he said, adding that he simply follows his instincts.
Though they were done “as a lark,” Frazer said, “They’re surprisingly powerful. I look at them and get a little uncomfortable.”
Open Saturday and Sunday afternoons, the gallery has a special “Sunday Family Funday” event planned today.
It will include such free seasonal activities as pumpkin carving, face painting, cider, apples, and candy. Those who wear a costume will get a prize.
Though the gallery has been open in various incarnations for about six years, the Middletown Artist Cooperative has been in it for less than a year. It bills itself as “a progressive group of young artists who aspire to create a friendly and healthy atmosphere for Middletown residents.”
Polsz said that he sees great promise in it.
“Middletown is a great little city and it needs a little revitalization in part,” he said, especially in the struggling north end.
Middletown’s north end, he said, “just really needs somebody to get things going down there to make it something it should be” to take advantage of its “wonderful people and beautiful architecture.”
Polsz said that Joseph Dinunzio, who gallery coordinator, is doing “a helluva job” bringing it to life and making it a vibrant part of the community.
“It’s a great scene,” he said. “It seems like it’s going the direction it should.”
Open Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m., the gallery depends on volunteers and the money it gets from renting space “really, really cheap,” Giannone said.
The exhibits change monthly and the themes jump around wildly.
“Next month, it’s robots and Twinkies,” Swider said.
For more information, the 650 Main Street gallery’s phone number is (860) 347-0834. It has a blog that also provides a lot of information at mac650.blogspot.com.

Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com


Anonymous said...

What a waste of talent to send you there, Steve. Do the editors spend their time watching the spiders crawling on their eyeballs? Shame on them! Clearly they can't think this is relevant to anyone outside Middletown, if those people there even care.

Anonymous said...

Brightly colored demons! Brightly colored demons! Brightly colored demons!

Anonymous said...

Thanks. All good things, of course, begin and end in Bristol. Still, it's nice to get out of Dodge every so often.

Anonymous said...

Hey 12:50, all of your posts are idiotic. Give us soemthing relevant or give it up. Your trifecta posts are tiring.

Anonymous said...

Trifecta post! Trifecta post! Trifecta post!