Charla’s “Art in Alzheimers” works win Best in Show prize

Charla Boteler basks in the glory.

Alison Boteler’s documentary photographs of the “stackings” of her mother Charla won Best in Show tonight.

The Housatonic Museum opened its Flower (Re)Power show today, a juried exhibit that invited artists to breathe new life into the “exhausted visual of the flower.” What’s more trite than a still life of a bouquet in vase. And yet what a more natural subject for an artist for the timeless beauty of flowers. What can artists today offer that’s fresh and new?

Alison noticed the strange beauty of her mother’s “stackings,” the word she uses to describe what her Mom, in some stage of Alzheimer’s, does with everyday objects when left to her own devices around the house. When no one is looking, a wire whisk is balanced over a vase, which is teetering on top of a figurine. Annoying, if you’re trying to keep your house in order, but then you notice what a beautiful a composition has formed.

Alison (yes, that’s the Alison Boteler who has written numerous cookbooks and used to be on the Today show and local New York television) started photographing her mother’s sudden output. On a whim, she submitted them to the Flower (Re)Power jurist…and was invited in!

What a wonderful tribute to my friend and neighbor who, at 78 and living with Alzheimer’s, and who gave up her art career in the 1950s to become an executive’s wife and to raise a family, revealed her artistic sensibilities at this stage in her life.

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