Finding something in which two people have a shared interest oftentimes makes for a solid foundation. That appears to be true for two couples who share their love of art in Wilton Library’s upcoming art exhibition, “A Couple of Couples—Paintings and Photography,” opening Friday, Feb. 2, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Julie Leff and Charles Douthat, artists from Weston, and Leona and Richard Frank of Westport, artist and photographer respectively, will be showcasing more than 60 of their works in the exhibition that runs through February 23. Their talents are on display in a variety of media including oil, acrylic, charcoal drawings and photography with subject matter encompassing portraits, still life, abstracts, botanicals, landscapes and more.
Ed MacEwen, Wilton Library’s art chairman, said of the pairings, “I had seen the talent of Julie and Leona on separate occasions, and was aware of the Franks’ time as Weir Farm artists-in-residence. When I heard that there was a fourth artist in Charles, I just knew that this exhibition had to come together in this way.”
Julie Leff, a graduate of Yale University, began painting professionally in 2001. Since then, her work has appeared in numerous solo and group shows in New York and Connecticut. Her artwork is held in many private collections in the US, Europe and Asia. Her medium is oil paint on canvas and subjects are primarily florals, still lifes, abstracts, and portraits. She noted about her work, “I paint for myself, for my love of color and form, but in a way that invites others to discover the beauty I see in the world.” To view her work, visit www.julieleff.com.
Charles Douthat is a graduate of Stanford University and the University of California, Charles is a self-taught painter who works within the traditions of abstract expressionism and lyrical abstraction. He paints in acrylics, usually on canvas, but sometimes on recycled surfaces. Of his work, he said, “I never know where I’m going or what I’m looking for; I’m simply trying to make marks on canvas that strike me as moving or beautiful or full of potential.”
Leona Frank is a painter who also teaches art in her Westport studio. Her award-winning acrylic paintings are in numerous public and private collections. Her latest energy has been applied to her Flowerscapes, which focus on the insistent and vibrant flowers she observed at Weir Farm, the National Historic Site in Wilton where she and her husband, Richard Frank, were collaborative Artists-in-Residence in July, 2012. During the month-long residency at Weir Farm, Leona and Dick spent valuable time sharing ideas for new directions in their respective work. A unique aspect of Leona’s work is the challenge of creating art on the diminutive 2”x 2” format of an iPhone screen, as well as the limitation of the given tools in the Notes program. Her many years of experience as a professional calligrapher provide familiarity with small-scale work. She remarked, “Whether I am painting or drawing, the act of drawing consistently plays an important role in my work. It is through drawing that I learn to understand my subjects.” Leona has a B.A in Studio Art from Queens College, New York and an M.S. in Art Education from Southern CT State University. She is a member of National Association of Women Artists, Connecticut Women Artists and New Haven Paint & Clay Club, where she was one of five members selected for a solo exhibit. Leona’s work can be seen on her website, www.leonafrank.com.
Richard Frank began photography at the age of twenty-two, when he enrolled in Sheldon Brody’s photography class at Queens College. That class became the catalyst for his interest in “pursuing the discipline of observation and technical knowledge needed to do meaningful and high quality work.” The American social landscape and portraiture became his preferred subjects. Dick worked as a free-lance photographer, specializing in people on location, for over forty years. He is known for his ability to depict his subjects in a natural and authentic style. Dick has done assignments for national magazines, including Fortune, Money, Sports Illustrated, Life, New York Magazine, New York Times Magazine, Car & Driver, Esquire and Audubon Magazine. Dick continues to challenge himself with visual ideas and content, and according to him, he’s “always looking.”
The reception is free and open to the public. A majority of the works will be available for purchase with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the library. The media sponsor is The Wilton Bulletin. Wilton Library is located at 137 Old Ridgefield Road in the heart of Wilton Center. The library is open Mondays through Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Fridays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays, 1 to 5 p.m. The library will be closed on February 19 for Presidents’ Day. For information and directions, visit www.wiltonlibrary.org or call 203-762-6334.