Curated by Kate Kovacs Luurtsema ’97
Since 1971, David Armstrong has been represented by the Hammer Galleries in New York City, where he had eight “sold-out” one-man exhibitions. Other exhibits at Hammer Galleries have included a two-artist exhibition (1980), featuring David and John Denver, to benefit the Windstar Foundation and a major exhibition (children’s cancer research benefit) in 1987, “Realism: A Continuing American Tradition,” with artists Eric Sloane, Bob Timberlake, and Andrew Wyeth. In 1990, the American Farmland Trust Organization hosted a benefit exhibition of Armstrong’s recent works at the Hammer Galleries. In 1976, David assisted his friend and mentor, Eric Sloane, with the panorama mural project (75 feet, 3 story) at the National Air and Space museum, Smithsonian Institute, in Washington, D.C. At the early age of 32, Armstrong was honored with a 120-piece exhibition in Pennsylvania’s state museum in Harrisburg. Armstrong’s works are in major corporate and private collections, including a piece in the private library of former President Bush (a gift to the President from the late Dr. Armand Hammer). David Armstrong lent his support to the conservation group, Frenchman Bay Conservancy (Ellsworth, ME), by providing a one-man exhibition benefit in Maine in August 1994.
Tattooing professionally since 2003, Andy Barrett ’97, loves doing bright, bold, colorful tattoos that combine elements of both Realism and Illustrative tattooing. Using interesting textural techniques and a great attention to detail, helps to create tattoos that are both unique and turn heads. Andy is also an artist in other facets, working with many mediums including, Oil, Watercolor, Acrylic, Drawing, Colored Pencil, Sculpture, and CGI. Techniques used in other mediums carry over well into tattooing as evident in Andy’s Tattoo work.
Painter and sculptor, Patricia Chase ’65, graduated from Kent Center School in 1965. She went on to pursue a BA in Art from Russell Sage College in Troy, NY and MSEd at Western CT State. Continuing to live and work in Kent until the early 1980s , she moved to Vermont, where she taught different mediums and exhibited for many years throughout the NorthEast. Since 2002, her home base has been St Petersburg, FL.
Sonny Crawford ’63 created the visual arts department at Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter High School (PVPA) where he taught, and played, for many years. Way many years before that he studied at l’Ecole des Arts Decoratifs de Strasbourg in Alsace, France. While there, he hobnobbed with the provincial sculpture and dramatics community, studied wood sculpture specifically for the Companie de la Cathedral. He also got swooped up by a small Alsacian theatre troop where he acted, directed and starved. Sonny completed a Master’s degree at Antioch, and stuck his foot in the door of art education. He lives with his wife, Emily, and his son, Sovahn who seem to tolerate his clutter of animal skeletons, his sawdust, and his unsavory banjo racket.
Joel Foster ’63 worked for many years printing intaglio series for other artists and fabricating large metal sculptures for public spaces, as well as working in the the painting and decorating business. He is the recipient of an A.R.T. (Artists Resource Trust) Fund Grant from the Berkshire Taconic Foundation. He has been exhibited at the Arts Center of the Capital Region in Troy, the New York State Museum in Albany, a pop-up show on Access Disability in Soho in connection with the Museum of Modern Art and at the RE Institute in Millerton, New York. He is a member of the Blind Artists Society.
Andrew Jack ’97 began making greenwood furniture shortly after graduating from Purchase College with a BFA in Sculpture/3D Media. He learned green woodworking techniques and Windsor chair making primarily from Curtis Buchannan and Pete Galbert. All the parts of the chair are made with hand tools, with every part other than the seat being split from a freshly felled tree-trunk, ensuring strong, flexible spindles and dependable bends. In between making chairs, Andy enjoys carving spoons, turning bowls and making the occasional “art.” Andy lives in East Canaan, CT with his wife Sarah, and three children.
A lifelong resident of New England, Margery Jennings ’64, grew up in northwest Connecticut and since the 1970s she has lived in the seacoast area of New Hampshire, Massachusetts and southern Maine. She got her first set of oils at 13 and has been painting most of her adult life. Following a long career as a graphic artist and designer, Margery turned to full-time fine art in 2007. While the bulk of her work consists of landscapes painted on location, she also does figural painting and explores other themes. She also works in pastel, watercolor, acrylic and monotypes. Find more about Margery’s work online: margeryjennings.com
RJ Lucas ’87, long time Connecticut resident, has been painting on glass for more than 20 years. Inspiration for his work comes from both imagination and “real” life. Lucas channels these dueling realities into the whimsical and colorful abstracts he is know for. Offering himself full freedom of expression, without restriction or imagination, RJ creates these personal “stories” on glass.As a lefty, Lucas is in his element using the “reverse image” technique needed to “lay down” his work on glass. Unlike techniques used by traditional “realist” painters, Lucas lays down the “final” details of his work first, then follows suit with broader images and sweeps of color to create the unique backgrounds that make his works so notable.
Kate Kovacs Luurtsema ’97 studied Illustration at WCSU and uses her skills for children’s books, adult coloring books and marketing. Kate spent 5 years in Theatre, painting and designing sets and still dabbles when not working full time as a Associate Director of Information Systems at Cheshire Academy. She recently participated in a few sculpture design competitions in Downtown Stamford and is looking forward to more creative community projects.
Peter Nichols ’63 works in images and words, sometimes combining the ‘sister arts.’ He studied at the Art Students League, and has an MFA in fiction from the Bennington Writing Seminars. His one-man shows were at Penn. State University, Renova Gallery, and the Woodstock Art Association. His books are Orlando Slocum– the Story of a Young Artist (etchings with words) and Gift of Time– A May-December Romance (a memoir).
Mike Redmond ’61 is a naturalist and known widely as a keen wildlife observer. Having always worked out of doors, his subjects come from the environs he knows intimately. Birds are a common theme in his work and he has much knowledge in this area. Mike has conducted raptor research for the National Fish and Wildlife Service, published a journal cover for the North American Falconers’ Association, and shown his artwork at Hawk Mountain in Pennsylvania, among other places. Natural curiosity and avid reading have developed the skills of this self-taught artist. Drawing has been a constant joy and practice in his life, first winning recognition from the Good Times Dispatch (Kent GTD) as a young boy in the 1950s. The artist Robert Verity Clem was a mentor and friend. Mike admires the works of Fenwick Lansdowne, Bruno Liljefors, Ray Harris Ching, and Winslow Homer. Mike believes that living in Cornwall Hollow is a gift and the perfect environment to continue his artistic pursuits.
Avid photographer Pat Redmond ’63 has traveled all over North America photographing fish and birds. He is a life-long Kent resident.
Paul Sakren’s ’63 astral footprints are all around Kent, CT because he grew up here. He is the son of an artist and the friend of many local writers and artists. He now work out of his studio in Torrington, CT and has been in many solo and group shows in the tri-state area since 1993 and his paintings are in many private collections mostly in CT. His preferred painting medium has been acrylic on canvas. His style has changed over the years, from visionary portrayals and landscapes to abstract landscapes and now a more purified abstraction that showcases a distilled vocabulary of forms, personal hieroglyphs of his own sacred language.
Press Release 5/13/19
(Kent, Connecticut) – Earlier this year, Dianne Camp Lang ’63 began planning an Alumni Day for those who attended Kent Center School from 1929 to 1989 in celebration of the school’s 90th anniversary. Her idea flourished and her planned Alumni Day is scheduled for Saturday, June 29 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the grounds of CT Antique Machinery Association. One day she was in the Library and discovered there was an opening in the Library’s Gallery for the May+June slot. This coincided with the get-together she was planning for the last Saturday in June. Dianne began sending out emails in search of artists to exhibit. She had immediate positive responses.
“Having an exhibit with multiple artists requires a curator. We were lucky to find Kate Kovacs Luurtsema ’97, who agreed to take on the enormous task of organizing and communicating with potential alumni artists,” Everything came together and the exhibit opened on May 1,” said Dianne Lang, who graduated in 1963. “The last time our class got together, it was like we picked up where we left off many years ago. We were a family during our time at KCS. I was always aware that my class had a number of budding artists. I love seeing how their abilities have developed into the amazing talent that adorns the walls of the Library’s Gallery,” she continued.
When asked about her involvement as curator, Kate Kovacs Luurtsema ’97 told us “I’ve done a number of volunteer events to support my childhood school, and any chance I can get to give back to Kent Center School is well worth my time or effort. I count my time at KCS as some of the best of my life. I felt welcome there, safe and cherished, sadly, something not all children are blessed with. I loved art and music as a child, and credit Mr. Al Coffill, Mrs. Lois Fiftal and David Poirier with nurturing my interests and talents! Here’s to the many artists in this exhibit, showcasing their talent, quite possibly begun in the sunny classrooms of our beloved elementary school.”
The exhibit features the work of 13 former students of the KCS. There are 55 pieces of work in a variety of mediums. The artists are David Armstrong, Andy Barrett ’97, Patricia Chase ’65, Sonny Crawford ’63, Joel Foster ’63, Andrew Jack ’97, Margery Jennings ’64, RJ Lucas ’87, Kate Kovacs Luurtsema ’97, Peter Nichols ’63, Mike Redmond ’61, Pat Redmond ’63, and Paul Sakren ’63. Their biopraphies can be found at kentmemoriallibrary.org under “Events and Exhibits.”
Please join us in the Library’s Gallery on Saturday afternoon, June 29 from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. for a reception to see the show and meet the artists. The exhibit will close that afternoon and artists will be taking their work with them when the reception ends.
The Kent Memorial Library’s mission is to enrich the lives of individuals and the community by providing materials, programs, and services to encourage reading, learning and imagination. The Library is located at 32 North Main Street, Kent, Connecticut. Visit kentmemoriallibrary.org for more information.