Wilton Library embraces art with its Celebr8/Art opening September 8

The Wilton Library’s art exhibition, “Celebr8/Art – A Diverse Exhibit on Art and Artists,” opens Friday, Sept. 8 from 6 - 7:30 p.m.

The exhibition features Lynn Stephens Massey (Norwalk), Melissa Orme (Ridgefield), Wendy Pieper (Westport), Marianne Rothballer (New Canaan), photographer Pam Rouleau (Wilton), James Ryan (Greenwich), Joel Sobelson (Weston), and Trish Wend (Ridgefield). Most of the artists have a connection through the Rowayton Arts Center and all of the people in the exhibition have a passion for their work and want to share it with others. They work in a variety of media including watercolor, oil, acrylic, pastel, graphics, mixed media, drawings and photography with subject matter encompassing figures, portraits, still life, abstracts, botanicals, landscapes and more. The reception is free and open to the public.

Ed MacEwen, Wilton Library’s art chairman remarked about this exhibit, “I attended an exhibition at Rowayton Arts Center and was impressed with what I saw. I knew in the back of my mind that there was this great talent there that would be appreciated by the Wilton community. Their styles, subject choices and use of media are wide-ranging and a pleasure to behold.”

The artists/photographer featured in the exhibition are:

Lynn Stephens Massey grew up throughout the country— in Louisville and Shelbyville, Kentucky, Dallas, San Diego and Portland, Oregon. Childhood gave her a range of arts as well – her mother was a visual artist and her father a singer. Her education included Art Center College of Design, Illustration, Pasadena, California, École des Beaux-arts, Paris, France and Pacific Northwest College of Art, BFA, graphic design, Portland, Oregon. Stephens Massey began her career as an illustrator in Los Angeles. She transitioned to New York to pursue the book, magazine, and advertising markets. Following her commercial illustration success, Lynn moved to Norwalk where her unique watercolors can be seen in local galleries. She has won several awards and has exhibited in solo and group shows locally and in Montana, New York, and Oregon.

Melissa Bisbee Orme graduated from the School of Architecture and Design at The University of Michigan where she majored in painting and earned a BS in Design. She has worked as an art teacher, a painter in oil, watercolor and acrylic, and also as a printmaker. Ms. Orme also studied at the New York Botanical Garden where she earned a certificate in Landscape Design and started her own design firm. She refers to garden design as “designing and painting with plants – another medium for the painter.” For many years she studied with Phyllis Rutigliano at Silvermine Guild Arts Center in New Canaan and recently with Alyse Rosner at Silvermine and Anna Patalano at Greenwich Art Society. Ms. Orme is an exhibiting member of The Rowayton Arts Center and exhibits widely in group and juried shows in the tri-state area. Her work can be found in private collections throughout the United States and England. She lives in Ridgefield.

Wendy Pieper received a BA in Fine Art from Connecticut College in 1986 after which she pursued a successful career in graphic design, although painting remained her passion. Wendy's work is full of motion and vitality. Her work is spontaneous and fresh, yet exhibits her mastery of whatever medium she chooses. Wendy is a member of the New Haven Paint and Clay Club, The Connecticut Watercolor Society and Exhibiting Member of Rowayton Art Center. She has won numerous awards and her work is in both private and public collections. In addition to painting, Wendy teaches classes and private lessons. She is a teaching artist and volunteer at the Smilow Cancer Center, Yale New Haven. She lives in Westport.

Marianne Rothballer is known for her portraits, landscapes, and still Iifes, which are executed in transparent watercolor in a fresh spontaneous style. Her landscapes portray local scenes as well as those from her travels. A longtime resident of New Canaan, she is a graduate of Parsons School of Design and studied at Moore College of Art and the Art Students League of New York. She began her career as a fashion illustrator in New York on the staff of Women's Wear Daily and as a freelance illustrator. More recently, she has continued her studies in the fine arts in many workshops in the U.S. and abroad. Her works have been included in invitational shows at the Hartford Fine Art Gallery, Left of Bank Gallery in Old Greenwich, Southport Harbor Gallery, Wilton Library, the Portside Gallery in Rowayton and have received numerous awards including Best in Show 2014, Rowayton Arts Center. She lives in New Canaan.

Pam Rouleau is a 1980s graduate of The Art Institute of Boston where she majored in Architectural and Commercial Photography and continued studies at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, Boston Architectural College, as well as Maine Media Workshops and College. She attributes her appreciation of light in her subjects to the inspiration she gained managing the private photo lab of architectural photographer, Nick Wheeler, and while surrounded by photo shoots as the studio manager for commercial photographer, Susie Cushner. Continuing to work with 4x5 film, even though her architectural work is currently digitally-captured, is an ongoing passion as well as working with alternative and historical processes in the darkroom. Rouleau lives in Wilton with her family and faithful Golden Retriever.

James K. Ryan, Jr. is a Greenwich native who pursued a 20-year career in surveying and map-making prior to returning to his first calling of marine and landscape art. Mr. Ryan studied painting at the University Of Connecticut School of Fine Arts, Storrs, CT and has continued his studies on his own. Mr. Ryan spends a good deal of time traveling the Connecticut coastline in search of subject matter. When a promising subject is found he will sketch and photograph it in the field. This information is later used in his studio to produce the small, detailed, acrylic paintings on which he is currently concentrating. He is a member of the Art Society of Old Greenwich, and the Rowayton Arts Center. He has works in private collections in San Francisco, CA, Southampton, MA, Greenwich, CT and London, England. His paintings have been shown in galleries in Nantucket, MA and Annapolis, MD, and he has numerous best in show and first place awards from various juried exhibitions.

Joel Sobelson went to college to learn to be a dentist. But since he failed organic chemistry class, three times, he found himself studying art and design at Pratt Institute. When he created a portfolio of ads, he was immediately hired at one of the top ad firms in the business and so began his 35 year, award-winning career. Upon retiring, he enrolled at Silvermine Art School and got back to drawing. His work has been featured by the Pastel Society of Connecticut, the American Artists Professional League, the Connecticut Society of Portrait Artists and many other prestigious shows in New York, Boston, DC and Connecticut. His approach to his work is to find a good story and tell it with all the emotional authenticity, style and heart he can bring to the easel. He lives in Weston.

Trish Wend grew up on the coast of Belgium where she was captivated by nature’s whims and favors. The changing sea, open skies and rolling sand dunes made a lasting impression. Trish moved to the U.S. as a pre-teen and continued to draw and paint. But the left brain took over and her studies became more “practical.” While running a successful public relations firm, Trish developed migraines and a friend suggested a painting class for relaxation. The class sparked an almost forgotten love of form and color. The headaches diminished. Trish is now a recovering marketing executive and is finally able to paint full-time, working mostly in oils. The former New Yorker lives in Ridgefield, Connecticut.

The exhibition runs through Thursday, Oct. 5. The majority of the more than 50 works will be available for purchase with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the library.

The Wilton Library is located at 137 Old Ridgefield Road in Wilton, Conn. For more information, visit wiltonlibrary.org.

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