Two area artists came together in mid-September to present an interdisciplinary collection of canvas and textile works at New Haven’s Gallery 195. The catch? They had never met each other until the day their artwork was hung.
The artists — Sarah Goncarova of New Haven and Thomas Edwards ART ’83 of Killingsworth, Conn. — came together to display their work after Debbie Hesse, programs director of the Arts Council of Greater New Haven, invited them to be part of the council’s quarterly exhibit. Hesse said she saw potential for collaboration in the artists’ shared architectural backgrounds and naturalist styles. Despite these similarites, Goncarova said she felt the spacial constraints of Gallery 195 — located in a hallway in a New Haven bank building — forced her to adapt her artistic style, while Edwards said the work he displayed did not differ from his norm.
Though each of her works on display at the gallery takes up most of the wall from floor to ceiling, Goncarova, who creates a countoured effect by fitting textiles such as cloth and yarn over a frame, said she had to scale down her art for this particular space. Her textiles are generally much larger, she said, with the biggest over 18 feet tall .
Goncarova said she created all three of her display pieces specifically for the Gallery 195 show, but one of them, intended to invoke a rushing waterfall, did not turn out the way she had initially wanted it to. Despite her intentions, she said she feels that the end result was more akin to a trickle. Undaunted, she said she intends to pursue the idea further after the show.
“Each piece of arts builds off of those before it,” she said. “I’m going to go back to this idea [of water] again after this show, and this time, I’m going to get the rushing just right.”
And though Goncarova had to go back to the drawing board to create art for the show, she said even her largest-scale works take no more than a month to complete.
Edwards also created new works for the show, many of which were inspired by the daily walks he takes in the woods near his Killingworth home and by the work of Impressionist painters including Rembrandt and Van Gogh — portraits of whom Edwards painted for the exhibit. His displayed art consists mostly of small canvas landscape and portrait work.
“I wanted to create something new for this show,” Edwards said. “About half of [the paintings] were created in the last few months.”
Hesse said the two artists complement each other due to the similar themes in their work.
“I strive to pair artists whose works create a dialogue about conceptual and formal art ideas and find intersections between the artworks that might not be apparent otherwise,” she said.
Edwards taught at Yale from 1983 to 1985 and is now a professor at Central Connecticut State University. He has previously displayed work at the Smithsonian Institute and the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. Goncarova has shown her work in California and New York, in addition to several New Haven studios.
Edwards’ and Goncarova’s work will hang at Gallery 195 — located at 195 Church Street — until December 14.