TAKING HISTORY TO HEART
Brian Walters’ metal sculptures have been stored over the years behind a stand of old-fashioned lilac bushes on the Bethel, Conn. property where he grew up. Even in winter, the bushes provide a natural screen of branches and buds that protects his works-in-progress.
Within the next few days, works from his “Urban Totem” series will be loaded up and transported to Hartford’s ArtSpace Gallery for a month-long exhibition that uses “Behind the Lilac Bush” as its title and its cue for collaboration.
Curated by poet Jim Whitten and more than a year and a half in the making, this show will give visitors the chance to encounter fractals, or recurring patterns of beauty that surface in nature, and sun-drenched color that will change as sunlight traverses origami sculptor Ben Parker’s 90-foot sheets of rice paper. Abstract landscape painter Christa Whitten is working with a limited palette of lavender and blue hues, and their complementary colors, using a drip process that takes its inspiration from Jackson Pollock. In effect, these artists’ and Walters’ efforts explore the creative act as it moves from the liminal to the fully realized.
I caught up with Walters recently at the circa 1700s home where he grew up, on property that once was part of an old Yankee subsistence farm. He is only 38, but seems to have been an old soul in a young man’s body for much of his life, fascinated with Connecticut’s industrial history and using his training as a welder to fabricate his often intricate, poetic pieces.