Archived Article

‘ Bittersweet’ exhibit opens at ECSU

BY KAREN BUTERA ReminderNews
Willimantic —  posted 02/27/2009
The Julian Akus Gallery at Eastern Connecticut State University is currently hosting the first solo exhibit by artist and filmmaker Kelly Bigelow Becerra . Many supporters and art-lovers came to ECSU on Thursday , Feb . 19 , to greet the artist during the opening reception of her show , “ Bittersweet . ”
This contemporary artist , whose work is full of her own past , creates her fascinating art by scanning objects on a flatbed scanner . This labor of love enables her to create shadowy effects that form shortened shapes . From there , Becerra pieces scenes together from her childhood in the Midwest , portraying a carefree life of a child , along with a hidden darkness – both of which surrounded her when growing up .
“ I invented the scan technique because I love textures … It’s an autobiographical work , ” Becerra said . “ These are relics from my life … what it means to grow up in the Midwest in the ’ 80 s . ” Pointing to the artwork , she added , “ They are a natural exhibit of me , removed from my family . It shows in my works … it’s what I know and who I am . It’s sweet and beautiful but also has a darker meaning . That ‘ s why I call it , ‘ Bittersweet . ’” Upon closer inspection of the piece , youcan see the photo of Becerra’s face pieced together on the little girl .
Robert Johnson and his wife Patsy of South Windham came to the opening reception for the show . Robert made the frames for the artwork and said , “ I love the colors and technique of her work . ”
Patsy added , “ It’s so fresh and different … stylized and un-stylized … contradicting . You want to inspect all of it . ”
Adele Bernstein of Norwalk , who helped Becerra cut out hundreds of individual pieces of scanned grass , commented , “ I’m blown away by it . To see it all together is exquisite . You appreciate it more knowing the background behind it . ”
Elizabeth Peterson , the director of the Akus Gallery , first became familiar with Becerra’s works in 2006 , when she saw it at an open studio in New Haven . “ I later saw one of her pieces in an exhibit and contacted her to do a solo show . Her work is researched , scanned and manipulated in Photoshop , ” Peterson said . “ She takes a 19 th century inspiration and makes a modern media interpretation from it . ”
“ Elizabeth has been generous to alloy me to show my own vision , ” Becerra said about Peterson .
The Quiet Corner Fiddlers made an appearance to play , and home-style Midwest food – such as corn fritters and fried chicken – was served , because those dishes are some of Becerra’s favorites from the past .
The “ Bittersweet” exhibit will continue through March 12 . For more information , visit the Akus Gallery’s Web site at http : // akusgallery . easternct . edu / Current . html or Becerra’s blog , at http : // artstarkelly . blogspot . com / .
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