WCSU Senior Art Student Hosts New Exhibit at Brookfield Craft Center

Fairfield County artists Janice Mauro, Isabella Saraceni and Ellen Schiffman will feature selections of their work in the “Tangible Traces” exhibit, curated by Western Connecticut State University art student Daisy Gesualdi.

The exhibit will run from Saturday April 2 through Sunday April 24 at the Brookfield Craft Center, 286 Whisconier Road in Brookfield. It will be open to the public during gallery hours from noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. A closing reception will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 23 at the Lynn Tendler Bignell Gallery at the Brookfield Craft Center. Admission to the exhibition and closing reception is free and open to the public. Brookfield Craft Center adheres to the state of Connecticut’s Covid-19 protocols.

“Tangible Traces” is an exploration of vulnerability through time and its connection to human existence. Vulnerability can appear in many forms: some tangible, others conceptual. It can appear as gradual aging, decay visible in nature, or worn walls of an ancient city. In an effort to understand and heal through spirituality and art, diving into it with confidence is our resilience and our strength. Each artist explores this concept through their diverse use of materials and their connections to anthropology, archaeology, spirituality and the natural world.

As part of an ongoing partnership, the Brookfield Craft Center supports WCSU’s Art Department through instructor-led, class-curated exhibits. This year, Gesualdi, an art major, was selected to curate this exhibit, which represents the culmination of her four years of study at WCSU. A resident of Bethel, Gesualdi pursues her own personal artistic practice while cultivating her professional experiences working in galleries and museums in a variety of activities ranging from curatorial to collections management. She currently works with Art and Frame in Newtown and recently completed an internship at the New Britain Museum of American Art. Gesualdi continues to volunteer with the WCSU Art Gallery, assisting the university curator in the preparation and curation of exhibits in the Center for Visual and Performing Arts gallery, and will graduate in May with a Bachelor of Arts. arts in painting and a minor in marketing.

Mauro, of Redding, is a member of the National Sculpture Society, Westport Artists Collective and a member of the Silvermine Guild. She has exhibited at the National Academy of Design in New York; Mattatuck Museum, Waterbury; and the New Britain Museum of Art in New Britain. She has designed, sculpted and modeled various puppets for New York Broadway productions, such as Julie Taymor’s “The Lion King”. His monument to World War II soldier Sergeant Homer Lee Wise sits in Veterans Park in Stamford. Mauro was the studio assistant of figurative sculptor Richard McDermott Miller (1922-2004). She served in the role of Coker Master Sculptor at Brookgreen Gardens in South Carolina. His bronze fountain, “The Source”, is part of the permanent collection on the grounds of Brookgreen Gardens. In 2019 she created the Brookgreen Medal, which is now part of the permanent collection of the British Museum in London and the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.

Saraceni, from Newtown, is a multimedia visual artist. A 2019 graduate from the University of Connecticut, she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting. She spent time studying in Florence, Italy, and received numerous awards, including the IDEA scholarship from the University of Connecticut. Saraceni has participated in several Connecticut galleries, including Five Points Annex Gallery in Torrington, VAIS Gallery in Storrs, and the Ely Center of Contemporary Art in New Haven. Saraceno’s current studio, located at Moss Creek Farm in Newtown, is where she draws inspiration from the surrounding landscape, using it to guide her practice. It integrates the themes of environment, time and physical presence; bridging the gap between itself and the natural world.

Schiffman, of Weston, has been a professional artist for more than 30 years, exhibiting work in galleries and museums nationwide. Schiffman is passionately engaged in experimentation and exploration in the creation of her work. In addition to the richness, complexity and beauty of her fiber art, Schiffman is also drawn to the rich history and multicultural traditions of fiber making. Each work reflects a fascination with texture, pattern and sculptural forms. Although fiber is often her starting point, she considers herself a multimedia artist. She is a passionate explorer of materials, using traditional art materials such as paint, ink and clay. Schiffman also turns to unexpected, often mundane materials in his works. These include cotton twill tape, nature objects, found objects, Q-tips, and more. Surprise and spontaneity characterize many of Schiffman’s pieces, where inspiration is drawn across cultures and time, and images inspired by the randomness of nature and the intentionality and splendor of human creations.

To learn more about WCSU’s Department of Art, visit www.wcsu.edu/art/. To learn more about this exhibit or the Brookfield Craft Center, visit www.brookfieldcraft.org/.

Kayleen C. Rice