“Hovering” by artist Karen E Gersch (contributed image)
Wilton, CT - Lifelong passions in different mediums mark this month’s art exhibition at Wilton Library entitled “Aerial Grace & Altered Views: Karen E. Gersch and Pam Rouleau,” opening Friday, September 5, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. As a painter, Karen E. Gersch captures the dynamics and poetics of life under the big top with her portraits and scenics of acrobats, aerialists, jugglers and clowns. Award-winning photographer Pam Rouleau strays from conventional image-making, exploring historical and alternative photographic processes. Together their works bring a rich palette of color and texture to the walls of Wilton Library.
Karen Gersch’s earliest memories are of drawing; as a child, she sketched constantly from life. She had her first formal art lessons at 11 and first solo exhibition two years later. After earning a scholarship to Pratt Institute when she was 16, she pioneered its first Independent Study Program in order to learn mime and juggling. Karen holds a BFA with Honors from Pratt, having majored in fine arts and minored in theatre. She followed her lifelong love of the circus, the inspiration of so much of her artwork, and studied ballet and acrobatics after graduating.
She became a founding member of the Big Apple Circus and Vermont’s Circus Smirkus and spent several decades performing. Her physical training and performing expertise help define the skills and movement she conveys to paper and canvas. Her works are exhibited in galleries, universities and museums in the US and in Europe, as well as in private collections around the world. Ms. Gersch remarked about her pursuit, “Welcome to my favorite place – the round world, where flight, risk and comedy pirouette. From backstage to center ring, it's an empire full of visual turbulence and grace… It is this suspense and magic I strive to capture. Well presented, any circus will lift its audience out of their seats and into the charged air. I hope that these paintings achieve the same.”
“Peony” by photographer Pam Rouleau (contributed image)
Pam Rouleau is a 1980s graduate of The Art Institute of Boston where she majored in architectural and commercial photography. She continues her studies by taking numerous courses in traditional (film-based) and digital photography, as well as in alternative processes. Pam attributes her appreciation of light in her subject matter to the inspiration gained working as a private photo lab manager for nationally-known architectural photographer, Nick Wheeler; and as studio manager for commercial photographer, Susie Cusher. While her professional career has her steeped in architectural and interior design digital photography, her passion is of traditional film and image processing. According to Ms. Rouleau, “It allows me to break some, if not all the rules. When I work with historical methods, such as the Cyanotype and Van Dyke Brown images I have included in this exhibit, I follow my predecessors’ methods… There is simply too much to be explored anew. The sheer joy of the smell of the chemistry in a darkroom and of the film, along with the feel of it in my hands as the camera and film holders are loaded is exhilarating. I know I am using methods invented by pioneers of photography and I am grateful, even nearly 200 years later, for what they discovered. I hope my images inspire [the audience] to explore, as well.” Ms. Rouleau is a recipient of numerous photography awards from organizations locally and abroad. Her work has been shown in various displays and has been published in Connecticut Cottages & Gardens Magazine; and Fairfield Magazine; as well as on the pages and covers of Wilton Magazine. She is a member of the Ridgefield Guild of Artists and the Center for Contemporary Printmaking in Norwalk. She lives in Wilton with her family and faithful Labrador Retriever, Katie.
The exhibition runs through Monday, September 29. A majority of the more than 80 pieces will be available for purchase with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Wilton Library. Library hours are Mondays through Thursdays, 10 – 8; Fridays, 10 – 6; Saturdays 10 – 5 and Sundays 1 – 5. For directions and information, visit www.wiltonlibrary.org or call 203-762-3950, ext. 213.