Humility. That’s the word that came to mind during my first tour of The Admiration Series exhibit in the Hartford Public Library’s ArtWalk gallery.
The Admiration Series features work inspired by various artists’ style, technique, subject matter, etc. Some paintings feature other artists, such as the Portrait of Miguel Carter-Fisher.
As I walked through the gallery I noticed familiar sites within the paintings: Hamilton Street, Billings Forge, and Heublein Tower.
Recently, I met up with Kyle Andrew Phillips at the gallery. Again, the word “humble” came to mind.
When asked, he refused to play favorites with his art in the Admiration Series, but did point to one of the abstracts from his recent solo exhibit (MLA Format) at the Charter Oak Cultural Center. The statement from that exhibit is displayed (right) in the library and echoes the theme of humility, of noting what one likes and/or is intrigued with, without copying outright.
Though Phillips would not select a favorite of his from the Admiration Series, Sunset on Hamilton St. is one I kept returning to. This was inspired by a freak snow storm that hit one end of Hamilton Street — located in the Parkville neighborhood – but did not touch the other side. Add residential buildings and a stunning sunset to that scene. This painting was influenced by Piet Mondrian’s Windmill in Sunlight.
The best way to describe this exhibit is to call it, as Phillips does, “saturated with color.” He says he has no conscious plans to add to this series, but that he will inevitably continue to be influenced and inspired by a number of artists.
One of the artists that he was inspired by is Peter Dreher, whose name Phillips insisted I write down. Dreher painted the same glass every day, resulting in thousands of similar (but not the same) images. Phillips pays tribute to Dreher’s work with a single painting of a glass.
Which local artists does he think people should know about? Well, there’s Skylar Hughes, a graduate of the Hartford Art School (University of Hartford). Mary McCarthy and Matt Morello were also mentioned. He gave props to Miguel Carter-Fisher, who has moved away from the area. And of course, there are the artists who come through Billings Forge.
His next move? Grad school.
The Admiration Series will be on display at the Hartford Public Library through January 7, 2011.
Reprinted with permission of Kerri Provost, author of the blog RealHartford.
To view other stories on this topic, search RealHartford at http://www.realhartford.org/.