Recent paintings by artist Mary Cottle Smeallie will be on exhibit at the Stanley-Whitman House in Farmington, Connecticut through the month of March. An opening reception is scheduled for Sunday, March 17, from 1 to 4 p.m. The exhibit, titled Re-examining Symbolic Still Life: Discovered and Arranged, represent the completion of the Master of Science Degree in Art Education through Central Connecticut State University. Included in the exhibit are water-based media on both paper and canvas, plein air pastels from The Hillstead Museum, and shadow box assemblage.
The majority of works on view are based on the Dutch vanitas theme which expresses the futility and transitory nature of life using symbolism. Ms. Smeallie states, “I orchestrate these still life set ups with personal symbolism in mind. Yet, sometimes I come upon them already composed by nature or chance. Regardless of how the objects have come to be arranged, I feel compelled to paint them--to reveal the narrative, to visually tell the personal connection they have to me and to each othe."
Ms. Smeallie goes on to say, “One of the aspects I find most intriguing is the unique way each person ‘reads’ a work of art based on their own experience. There is such a strong human need to understand, to build a story, born out of our curiousity to unravel an imbedded hidden language.”
Ms. Smeallie is an art teacher/art coordinator for Berlin Public Schools. She also maintains a private art studio in West Hartford.