Pop-up gallery through July in Westport

At the Westport art fair over the weekend, we noticed a little sign near the Starbucks, where the entrance to Domain used to be. Behold, it was a Nuartlink pop-up gallery, a temporary art space that set up between permanent tenants. It was unconnected to the art fair. In fact, you could really say it was disconnected from the art fair, giving visitors a serene gallery experience just yards from the open-air fair.

Curator Vida Geranmayeh Florian assembled  photography from nine artists: Arthur Cohen, Joel Dawson, George Diebold, Brett Froomer, Kervin Maule, Adine Segalyn, Shonna Valeska, Cibele Vieira and Christophe von Hohenberg.

The show had a Chelsea-cool to it that make me realize why the Westport show mainly left me cold. This work hit me on a much more intellectual, challenging level. Few from the art fair seemed to notice the spot.

Von Hohenberg’s “The Day the Factory Died” series captures a certain segment of New York society during a particular moment of pain: the limos and crowd outside St. Patrick’s during Andy Warhol’s funera. Bianca Jagger, looking small and stricken, was captured entering the cathedral, and the cathedral was suddenly a red-carpet zone.

Vieira took dollar-store toys, bathed them in white, and transformed them into precious items in soft focus.

“I focus on the ephemeral, the inexpensive, the cheap, the things that are thrown away, undervalued in our lives. I’ve always been fascinated by knickknacks you can buy at dollar stores. I like the surreal aspects of some – who needs a square foot of plastic grass? Others, such as figurines of brides or angels, attract me for their poor quality and weak attempt to celebrate things that are culturally and personally sacred to us,” Vieira said in her artist’s statement. “Toys, such as the dinosaur in one photograph, reminded me of my childhood and happy moments watching the 1970s television show such as “Land of The Lost” about a family trapped in an alternate universe populated with prehistoric reptiles. I became increasingly attracted to these objects. I found that they seemed as temporary as life itself — and their low cost reminded me of my own dwindling economic resources. The choice for the color white comes from all the meaning that this color brings historically and culturally in its different contexts.”

I love to make fun of pompous artist’s statements and think they should be avoided, or maybe ghost written. It’s not like writers try to paint when explaining their creative output. But this copy block makes sense when you see the work, which is haunting and beautiful.

The show, “Art in Image,” is up until the end of the month. It’s at 1 Main Street, but the entrance is off Hardly Parking Plaza.

More on the local art scene

Lee Steele