I don’t know why I don’t pay the Fairfield Arts Council and the Westport Arts Center the attention they deserve. But each place had two shows opening, and that hint of snow in the air told me to get out while the getting is good.
And I learned that when there’s a show on center stage, don’t overlook that second, smaller show that may be off to the side with an exciting emerging artist.
We originally set off to see just the Fairfield Arts Council show, but a gallery regular we talked to reminded us about the Westport Arts Center opening — and how she really didn’t feel like going. Feeling monumentally ambitious, we drove another two miles down the Post Road and made it to the tail end of the Westport show.
The main exhibit at the latter venue was something that’s been all over the newspapers — Kid Kulture — a collection of mid-century and contemporary photographs unsentimentally depicting the essence of childhood. The twist is that the current photos are taken by kids. And the new stuff stands up pretty well to the works of August Sander, Arthur Leipzig, Morris Engel, and Ruth Orkin.
Then we noticed in the rear of gallery a second, smaller show. I was amazed. And as a Facebook user, and former teen cartoonist, I related pretty heavily to it.
“Facebook fACEs” has 80 tiny, quickly drawn sketches taken from Facebook profile shots. Capturing a likeness is extremely difficult, but not so much for 16-year-old Staples High School junior Carson Einarsen. And to think he only picked up this pursuit as a sophomore.
The show is sort of an extension of Kid Kulture — although this is more in the young adult category. He pairs his sketches with the original profile pictures. Some have clean lines, others use cross-hatching and feathery strokes to address forms and shadows, and some take more liberties — going into caricature mode — but I couldn’t find one inaccurate or off-the-mark likeness. I had no idea at first that this was a teenager’s work and I was astounded that someone so young could draw with such a knowing hand.
Westport Now says that Carson, whose mother is noted photographer Pam Einarsen, began his project on a whim last July – and has continued every day since.
“I’m currently around my 130th consecutive face, and I have resolved to continue this through 365 days,” he says.
Carson is now taking commissions. Contact Catherine Sippin at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 203-222-7070, x103.
But back in Fairfield, Linear Structure presented more juxtapositions, this time between Duvian Montoya and Ronnie Rysz, two artists any gallery-goer already know. Both artists are good with conveying strong lines and forms — the upcoming artists’ talk, 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 17, will shed some light on how this collection came to be. Some of us are going to think back one day and kick ourselves for not buying something while the artists are still young and foolish enough not to raise their prices.
Kedon Beckford was in the secondary gallery space, a much smaller room overwhelmed with visitors and supporters. In Finding Time, he contrasts his urban street scenes, which possess a strong documentary feel, with color-saturated atmospheric interiors. One reminded me of a David LaChappell studio portrait — an ornate, fairly grand room with what appears to be one model in several poses. One day I’ll have to ask about that portrait, what it means and how he did it. Or maybe he’ll do an artist’s talk, too.
Now that I know that Mr. Beckford has a science background — he studied molecular biology at UConn — I can see where left-brain, right-brain impulses came together to create artistic but precise scenes.
This is Mr. Beckford’s first solo show, and his last, I hope, in such a tiny space and in the margins of a much larger show.