Winter exhibits at Silvermine to feature new guild members, director's choice and modern printmaker

Director’s Choice Karin Hillmer will exhibit her work at Silvermine.
Director’s Choice Karin Hillmer will exhibit her work at Silvermine.Contributed Photo

Winter exhibits at Silvermine Guild Arts Center, located in New Canaan, always brings the highly anticipated Annual New Guild Members show plus exciting exhibitions featuring South America's finest modern printmaker, Sergio Gonzalez-Tornero and Director's Choice Karin Hillmer. All are welcomed to the opening reception Sunday, Jan. 9, from 2 to 4 p.m. The exhibits will run through Feb. 20, 2011.

Director's Choice

Director's Choice Hillmer, is a painter, a photographer and, above all, a storyteller. Her pictures represent a new reality, maybe "surreality," shaped by a lifelong interest in philosophy, history, art invention, music and science. Her images combine the avant-garde with the historic, have a deep intellectual reference, are enigmatic and humorous, mysterious and original. They also combine Renaissance and technology, genetics and Botticelli. The meaning and experience of time has always been central to Hillmer. Researching this topic led her to the Argentine poet and writer, Jorge Luis Borges. His enigmatic fictions inspired her current work, "Infinity & Dreams: photographs inspired by the short stories of J.L. Borges," where she explores visually the concepts of time and the infinite moment as it pertains to dreams or different forms of reality. "The characters in my photographs, as in Borges' fiction, represent the human experience; they are independent of space-time and connect the past, present and future in unexpected ways," she said. "My images have several layers of meaning, some obvious, others only revealing themselves over time. I invite the viewers to engage in a dialogue with my photographs, to explore this journey and to find their own personal experience along the way."

Photography itself, a product of the scientific process, has evolved into exciting new frontiers to give the artist innovative forms of expression. In Hillmer's work the camera is no longer directed at one single object in a single moment, but explores multiples of space and time merging into a new visual landscape.

Born and raised in Germany, Hillmer came to New York where she felt she had the greater opportunity to accomplish her goals and interest in art. She studied art history and has a bachelor's degree from the State University of New York and post graduate studies in various disciplines. She currently resides in Norwalk. Her work has been shown internationally in museums and galleries, with solo exhibitions in Germany, France and the United States. Hillmer's work can be found in numerous private collections throughout the world and she has been awarded several prizes for her photography. She currently is working on a book for publication based on her current photographic works on exhibit.

South America's modern printmaker

One of South America's finest modern printmakers, Sergio Gonzalez-Tornero's current works in his exhibit "At the Tribal Carving Shed" are a fusion of two distinct entities: a compulsion towards modernist form with its abstract notion and a fascination with the historic cultures of the Pacific Northwest.

"I respond to their art above all, which I choose to see as a deeply spiritual and gloriously formalist view of life," he said. "I like to think that my work is an outsider's painterly and ongoing romantic adventure into the spirit of the First Nations of the Northwest Coast of North America."

This connection began with the first of many visits to Haida Gsaii "Land of the Haida," also known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, an archipelago located 100 miles off the coast of British Columbia and Alaska. The unique signature element of Gonzalez-Tornero's paintings is his use of red and white. For Gonzalez-Tornero, red serves as a substitution for black. He feels that black is a cold and lifeless color and by using red, he is infusing energy and life into his works.

According to the New York Times, "His way of putting paint to canvas shows how texture and volume can be represented by using fairly heavy-handed, and somewhat unusual, cross-hatching techniques. His emphasis on line may remind some of woodcuts, where the white of the paper, or in this instance, the white of the painted areas, suggests the pristine voids common to most woodcut prints."

Gonzalez-Tornero, a resident of Mahopac, N.Y., first studied art in Chile and Brazil before finishing his education at the Slade School of Art in London, and with the famous printmaker, Stanley William Hayter at Atelier 17 in Paris. He came to the United States in the 1960s. During the past 40 years, he has had more than 50 one-man exhibitions in Chile, the United States, Canada, Italy, Germany and France, participated in 300 group shows and been awarded more than 40 prizes. He has received numerous awards for his art, and his work can be found in many public collections in France, England, Poland, Austria, Switzerland and Mexico. He is also represented in the Metropolitan Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the New York Public Library and the Museum of Modern Art.

New members

Each year in the spring and fall, new members are selected through a jurying process into the Silvermine Guild of Artists. The Guild of Artists is a distinguished group of professional artists comprised of more than 300 members who work in a wide array of media and are represented in museums, and prestigious private and corporate collections. Selection into the guild is based on several criteria such as creativity, uniqueness or timeliness, excellence of technique, compelling notion or idea, cultural or social relevance, professional presentation of work, clarity and continuity of style, and professional accomplishment. The New Members Exhibition will showcase the works of eleven new Guild Artist members inducted in the spring and fall of 2010, representing a variety of media.

The new members include: Amy Bilden of Greenwich -- sculpture; Kerry Brock of Weston, - printmaking; Sharon Cavagnolo of Mount Kisco, N.Y. - painting; J. Henry Fair from New York, N.Y.- photography; John Harris from Norwalk -- painting; Mindy Horn of Weston -- ceramics; Jane Lubin of Westport -- mixed media; Anca Pedvis of New York, NY - painting; Connie Pfeiffer of East Haddom - sculpture; Margaret Roleke of Redding -- wall relief; and Anita Soos from Guilford -- drawing.

Silvermine Galleries are open Wednesday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. For more information on upcoming exhibits, visit our website at or call 203-966-9700.

Silvermine Guild Arts Center is one of the oldest artist communities in the United States. Located on a four acre campus, the center is comprised of a nationally renowned artist guild, award winning school of art offering multi-disciplinary art classes for all ages, a gift shop and galleries offering over twenty contemporary and historic exhibitions annually. The center also provides innovative arts education in Norwalk and Stamford schools through its outreach program, Art Partners, and hosts a lecture series and special programs throughout the year. Silvermine Guild Arts Center is a nonprofit organization.

Grounded in the belief that art is vital to the spirit, creativity and wholeness of human beings, the mission of Silvermine Guild Arts Center is to cultivate, promote and encourage growth through the arts; to showcase and serve artists; and to foster arts education and appreciation opportunities for the greater community.