New Haven, CT - Exploring the themes of evolution and renewal through textile art, City Gallery’s February exhibit Life After Life reflects on the cyclical and regenerative nature of life. Featuring the work of artists Rita Daley Hannafin and Gwen Hendrix, the show will be on view February 3 - February 26, with an Artists’ Reception on Saturday, February 4, 1pm-4pm. The artists will also be in the gallery on Saturday, February 18 and Sunday, February 26.
This colorful collaboration between friends Rita Hannafin and Gwen Hendrix celebrates the beauty and resilience of the natural world, as well as exploring aspects of personal loss and renewal. The intricate details, vibrant colors, and tactile materials engage viewers, inviting them to experience a sense of connection and healing on a sensory level.
“My selections for the Life After Life exhibit explore the complexity and wonder of all living organisms,” says Hannafin. Hannafin tells stories — like an unexpected brush with mortality and healing seen in her HeartBeats series — by combining textiles, stitch, paint, collage, and digital imagery in her art quilts. A traditional quilter since the 1980s, she discovered the art quilt during her role as Exhibition Travel Coordinator for Studio Art Quilt Associates. Since then, her work has explored landscape, climate change, politics, personal stories, and abstraction.
She is currently a member of SAQA, the Black Rock Art Guild, the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County, and City Gallery. Her work has been shown at the Slater Museum, the Whistler House Museum of Art, the Bruce S. Kershner Gallery, and is included in the National Registry of Quilts. Rita now resides in Black Rock CT with her husband, Bob. Studio 2 is her attic space where, she explains, “the fun, frustration, and sometimes magic, happens.”
Gwen Hendrix left her work life of 33 years building Sikorsky helicopters to pursue her passion for making art. “As an abstract painter using textile pigments,” she explains, “I love to capture the translucent imagery of shapes, form and movement in vivid color on fabric and the microfiber material, Encaustiflex.” Formerly a machinist, she is currently exploring 3D forms in fiber, to create kinetic sculptures.
“The inspiration of my works for LIFE AFTER LIFE is macro photography — bringing the camera to the ground and discovering new emerging worlds during different times throughout the seasons. Observing their growth, life cycle, death, and rebirth is a continuation of ephemeral form and vibration,” says Hendrix.
Hendrix has studied with Graziella Patrucco de Solodow, Debi Pendell, Elizabeth Busch, Elin Noble and Jane Dunnewold. Her work is published in Creative Strength Training: Prompts, Exercises and Personal Stories for Encouraging Artistic Genius by Jane Dunnewold. Hendrix is a graduate of Dunnewold’s 2015 Art Cloth Mastery Program. Hendrix’ work has been shown at Fredericksburg Road Studio Tour, Jane Dunnewold Studios, San Antonio, Texas; City Lights Gallery, Bridgeport, CT; International Quilt Festival, Houston, TX; the Bruce S. Kershner Gallery, Fairfield, CT; Schelfhaudt Gallery, University of Bridgeport, CT; and at VIEW Center for Arts & Culture, Old Forge, NY. She is a member of the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County. A Connecticut native, Gwen lives in Oxford with her husband, Wayne, and is a full-time studio artist at Metro Art Studios in Bridgeport, CT.