Sacred Heart’s new show, Contemporary Souvenirs, is one of the most visually arresting exhibits I’ve seen in a long time. Five artists, all repurposing materials — wall insulation, plastic fencing, vinyl l.p.’s — into objects of visual wit, if not beauty.
Their opening reception on Sunday was a real treat, and although I’ve visited the gallery before, this was my first time at a reception.
Sophia Gevas, who I first met through mutual friend Yolanda Petrocelli, has run the Gallery of Contemporary Art for Sacred Heart for all 21 years of its existence. She deserves a lot of credit for doing so much in such a limited space — a room that itself was repurposed.
This gallery resides in the most humble of all the campus gallery spaces in Fairfield and Bridgeport — including the community college. There are some positive aspects to the room. It has two entrances, one from the parking lot and one from the interior of the building, symbolizing an outreach to both the public and to students.
Its zig-zag wall on one side maximizes surface space and makes an appealing contour for display. But it’s a relatively small room with low ceilings, and it was obviously not built to be a gallery. A fraternity occupied the room before the gallery formed in 1989.
And with all the building and expanding going on at Sacred Heart these days — particularly that stunning Chapel of the Holy Spirit — maybe some day soon a patron will pave the way to a more worthy exhibition space.
There is good reason to be optimistic. Even though Sacred Heart is a young school, founded in the 1960s in facilities intended as a high school, all these campuses are getting pretty spiffy.