The most notable local art exhibitions of the year

"David Smalley Memorial Exhibition," Lyman Allyn Art Museum 

This retrospective exhibit featuring the works of the late local sculptor David Smalley gave an in-depth look into the legacy of this former Connecticut College art professor. His works, which are kinetic (moving), were fascinating, hypnotic and a step away from the static forms typically seen in sculpture — highlighting the innovation that is possible within the art form.

— Mary Biekert

I-Park

Making a trip to East Haddam's I-Park was an unexpected escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Located in the forests bordering Devil's Hopyard, the park boasts miles of winding woods' paths and walkways, interspersed with the works left behind from former resident artists. It seems as if each piece beckons viewers to contemplate their messages, often a commentary on the delicacy of the surrounding environment. Unfortunately, the park is only open on specified days throughout the year, but that makes those rare instances for a visit even more special.

— Mary Biekert

"Female/Feminist," Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts 

Curated by Lyme Academy professor Nancy Gladwell and local independent curator and art collector Alva Greenberg, "Female/Feminist" was thought-provoking and relevant to the public discourse that has been taking place throughout the country on equality and feminism. In fact, the show emerged after a feminist-related controversy arose on campus last year. What followed was a show that sought to break the stereotypes of how women should look or be, while presenting third-wave feminism among other themes in a multi-faceted exhibition.

— Mary Biekert

"Wendy Edwards/Jerry Mischak," Mystic Museum of Art

In the first exhibit to be featured in the Mystic Museum of Art's Water Street Gallery, longtime artists and couple Wendy Edwards and Jerry Mischak showcased their most recent works in a show that explored dualities between the two. On first glance, their works seemed drastically different from one another. Edwards, who is an expressive painter with a tendency to use bright colors, featured large and intensely vibrant paintings of flowers in her pieces, while Mischak, who leans towards a brutalistic aesthetic in his work, displayed stark concrete sculptures also depicting flowers. So when the shared connection playing between their work (including flowers and juxtapositions) became clear, something that was not premeditated by either artist, it was a satisfying and strangely fulfilling discovery.

— Mary Biekert

"Intersections," Connecticut College

A conceptual and extensive exhibition fusing advocacy and expression. that featured works in a variety of media from seven renowned and successful artists — all of whom were born outside the U.S. and now live and work in the region.

— Rick Koster 

"World War I and the Lyme Art Colony," now through Jan. 28 Florence Griswold Museum

Here's a best-of you can still see. The exhibition, curated by Amy Kurt Lansing, explores the role that Lyme Art Colony participants played in helping the war effort after America entered World War I. The work ranges from Childe Hassam's famous "Avenue of the Allies" to Wilson Henry Irvine's "Home from the War," which looks as the difficulties soldiers faced after the conflict. Each piece is fascinating for its own history, and the exhibition also explores various aspects of the era and artists' part in it.

— Kristina Dorsey

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