Still Life Studio

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Still Life with Fruit, 17th Century Cornelis de Heem, Oil on canvas

June 3, 2014 – February 1, 2015

Still lifes – from the Dutch stilleven (‘inanimate object’) – were for centuries considered lesser works than portraits or allegorical scenes, focusing as they do on common, everyday objects. Yet these simple scenes have captured artists’ attention for centuries. A still life has the ability to capture a passing moment and transcend time, allowing us to connect with the long ago artist and see the common objects of our own surroundings with fresh eyes.

Still Life Studio invites you to consider the unassuming still life genre anew. Compare a selection of artworks from the museum’s collection, ranging in origin from 17th century Holland to present day America, then spend some time sketching a still life of your own, using basic drawing principles and materials provided in the gallery.

Lost at Sea: Shipwrecks of the Ancient World

July 18, 2014 – February 1, 2015
Driven by the desire to explore, trade, and conquer new lands, mariners of the ancient world sailed the waters of the Mediterranean, Aegean and Black Seas, spreading their cultures and their wares, laying the groundwork of Western civilization.  Celebrated in verse, these daring mariners ventured from their homeland and often-time didn’t make it to their destination – their ships the victim of storms, piracy or warfare.  They remained lost at sea until modern day explorer Robert Ballard, and his team of researchers aboard the E/V Nautilus using state-of-the art robotic technology, located them in deep waters, far from their original ports.

This exhibit explores the ancient Roman trade route from Carthage to Ostia; Black Sea trade routes from Sinop to Chersonesos; Aegean trade routes from Constantinople to Athens and Rhodes .  The exhibit shows beautifully preserved artifacts recovered from the depths of these seas – glassware, tools, and amphora that carried wine, olive oil, and a popular fish paste called garum which was traded for weaponry, household items, clothing, and gold and silver.  These artifacts, along with stunning underwater video of their discovery, will be the highlight of the exhibit.

Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) named Hercules

In addition, a goal throughout all of the explorations is not only to advance our understanding of ancient civilizations, but to foster their protection and conservation as time-capsules of history.  Evidence of bottom trawling, especially in the Black Sea, has shown that many of the wrecks have been damaged and even destroyed.  Recent advances in trawling technology are allowing fishing vessels to go deeper so no wreck is protected.  Scientists and environmental advocates from several countries are attempting to bring this issue to worldwide attention.  Marine archaeologist and Nautilus expedition leader, Dr. Michael Brennan, is taking the lead on fostering awareness of this issue in the Black Sea.  His research on the Eregli E wreck-site, and its destruction by trawling, is featured in the exhibit.

Inside the Natural World of Jan Beekman

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Ancestor, 2012, Jan Beekman, Acrylic on canvas

June 14, 2014 – January 5, 2015

“The central subject of my work is the natural world and its relationship to the human condition. Why are we here? What are we doing?”

--Jan Beekman

Perhaps best known for his monumental Portrait of Nelson Mandela (1996), which hangs in the United Nations headquarters in New York, Jan Beekman also creates stunning nature paintings. Born in Belgium, Beekman has lived and worked in the United States for many years and in rural Connecticut since 1997, the year he became an American citizen. The works in this exhibition reveal the artist’s deep immersion in the natural phenomena of his immediate environment, the woodlands of Southeastern Connecticut.  His paintings evoke a sense of wonder as viewers, too, become absorbed in the subtle textures, graceful shapes, and vibrant colors of the natural world. Yet they also make us aware of the bio-diversity and delicate balance of our natural ecology, raising questions about the consequences of our manipulation and pollution of our precious natural resources.

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Envol, 2012, Jan Beekman, Oil on canvas

Programming for the show will include talks on contemporary nature painting and the ecology of woodlands Connecticut, as well as sketching trips to the Connecticut College arboretum and summer camp sessions on ecological themes.  Stay tuned for more information!

Visit our YouTube channel to watch a video that captures the essence of Jan Beekman’s work! Created by local artist/media producer, Drew Wilson.