Essex Art Association

established 1946

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2020 Jurors 
































Katro StormGraffiti / Spring Juried Show

Artist Katro Storm is a true son of New Haven and a force of positivity. His style has been called “full frontal figuratism;” his unmistakable technique employs layers of drips and tonal modifications, creating an active surface in which figures seem to emerge. Katro Storm’s formal art education began at New Haven’s Educational Center for the Arts (ECA). His work earned him a full scholarship to the Arts Institute of Boston; he then migrated to Boston’s Museum School, where, as a final project, he painted seven oversized black and white paintings in seven days, each a powerful portrait of an influential black figure. These were highlighted at the school’s Black History Month exhibition and provided the basis for Storm’s future body of work.

Having caught the attention of artist Paul Goodnight, Storm was invited to exhibit at the National Council for the Arts at Howard University. The show was followed by private commissions, exhibits in Boston-based galleries, and finally a move to New York City. There, in 1993, he created the Subway Exhibition in what he calls “the largest underground gallery in the world.” The project was met with acclaim, and Storm and his work were featured in a piece in Time.

Storm never lost touch with New Haven. Even in his New York Years, he taught at ECA; ever since his full-time return to our city, he has been dedicated to inspiring people from all walks of life. His 2009 READ Mural, featuring images of local heroes and community leaders, sparked an outpouring of support. As he continues his own development as an artist, painting on canvas, on board and in public spaces, Storm remains an educator with an affinity for “tough kids with an edge,” and currently teaches fine arts at the Lincoln-Bassett Elementary School.

He created a series of workshops in response to the book, Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine. Participants were invited to create their own hoodie, in reference to the cover art of the book, as well as the murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in 2012.




Heather WhitehouseElected Artists' Member Show

Heather Whitehouse has been involved with art her entire life.  Now, she is the Director of Education at the Mattatuck Museum.  “I started art as a young child watching my dad draw and paint as a hobby.”

Whitehouse says that her hands are always getting dirty by either gardening in the spring, summer and fall, or by collecting things for collaging and adding and adding until she final thinks the piece is complete.

Her focus is working with hot wax called encaustic.  She applies this medium over her own black and white photographs, which she takes, develops them in large format, pastes them down on a large piece of wood and paints with the melted wax.  At times the wax is tinted.  As mentioned above, her hands start tearing paper, adding collage images and texture to make a beautiful ethereal piece.   It is never finished until the final touches of gold and silver leaf.

Whitehouse says, “on every piece of art, the gold represents old friends, and the silver represents new friends.”

Heather went to school at Paier College of Art in Hamden Ct.  She studied Sharp Focus: Trompe l’oeil.

She also has been an exhibiting artist for many years, taking top prizes in shows at The New Britain Museum of American Art, The Joy of Art Exhibit, part of the New Britain Hospital of Special Care and many more.  

Her latest interest is paper cutting, applying elements to surprise the viewer and creating wonderful colorful still life creations, and of course, the final touches of wax, gold and silver leaf. 



Rashmi TalpadeFine Line / Summer Open Show

RASHMI means Ray of Light, a name that inspires me to see light all around me.  Just as light in nature constantly shifts, so also does my work change, from fiery abstracts celebrating untamed forces of nature to satirical cartoon strips on large canvases, to collages of photographic images of different parts of the world.

My work rests between two worlds: Bombay, India, where I was born, and America, where I currently reside. It reflects the intersection of Eastern and Western cultures, seen through my experiences in a wide spectrum of surroundings, and every new painting is a revelation of my inner self.  My art is also based on a fascination with color, which borders almost on an obsession.  This aspect of painting has always dominated the very essence of my creations, allowing me to experiment with different mediums, themes and styles.

My photomontages speak about history, humanity, and our place in it.  They are amalgamations of reconstructed landscapes that illustrates cultural history and its decline as well as modern development.  I merge abstraction with realism, built with naturally formed environments.  The viewer must engage with the work or they will miss the details that reveal the optical play of visual depth, challenging perspectives and fictionalized worlds.  It is essential to stand back and maintain a necessary distance to understand how the work multiplies spatially to create a complete image.

Over the past fifteen years, I have been concentrating on creating medium to large sized photo-collages reflecting real but imaginary places.  Recently, my collages have taken a different turn, moving away from subjects of towns and cities and creating smaller collages, which form a part of a larger installation with a specific message.  My new series, Modern Archaeology, works to make sense of our world today, which is filled with conflicting needs.  As we move rapidly towards further automation, computerization and virtual realities, attempting to capture our world in our hand held devices, we simultaneously struggle to preserve our planet, our constantly changing social structures, and our abiding faith in an increasingly isolated society. 

As technology makes products of success more abstract, I am drawn to the physical evidence of our not so recent past existence.  Abandoned buildings, abused sidewalks, rusted metal, broken windows – all which were signs of our prior successes are also reminders of our current failures.  Nevertheless, in these unexpected places there is beauty and history, similar to pottery shards, beads, relics or bone fragments found in an archaeological dig.  I draw meaning from these hidden and influential stories that these artifacts tell us that I wish to bring to the attention of the viewers of my work.


Jacquelyn GleisnerOut n About / Summer Juried Show


Jacquelyn Gleisner (b. 1984, Buffalo, New York) began studying fine art and art history at Boston University in 2002. At BU, she was classically trained in drawing, painting, and sculpture. As a junior, Jacquelyn studied abroad at the Scuola Internazionale de Grafica in Venice, Italy. The following year, Jacquelyn returned to Boston and graduated with honors in 2006.

Two years later, Jacquelyn continued her investigation of pattern-based abstraction at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. She received an MFA from the painting department in 2010. The same year she was awarded a Fulbright Grant and a position as a Visiting Researcher at Aalto University in Helsinki, Finland. 

In October 2015, Jacquelyn traveled to Botswana with two other American artists for ten days of cultural programming through the Arts in Embassies Program. Jacquelyn taught workshops on painting and gave public talks about her work in Maun, Molepolole, and Gaborone. Her painting, Scroll VII, 2015, will remain installed at the residence of the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Botswana, Earl R. Miller for the duration of his service in Botswana. 

In addition to her studio practice, Jacquelyn writes about contemporary art. She has been a regular contributor to Art21’s online magazine since 2011, and she has launched two new columns for the site, “Praxis Makes Perfect” and “New Kids on the Block.” Jacquelyn was the Guest Editor for the Sincerity Issue, Volume 11, July/August 2015. She has also contributed to Hyperallergic, the Art New England magazine, the Two Coats of Paint blog, among others. In October 2018, Jacquelyn launched Connecticut Art Review, a writing platform for the arts in and around the state.

She currently teaches at the University of New Haven as a Practitioner in Residence. 


I am interested in patterns, surface design, and decoration. The impulse to decorate and embellish is present in ancient textiles and other forms of handicraft. Yet throughout history, cultural perceptions of ornament, color, and decoration have varied. Patterns and color have the ability to conflate or open space, to entice or repel a viewer. I view my artistic practice as an extension of my political beliefs as a feminist who strives for gender, racial, and social equality.

In 2014, I began developing a series of scrolls, based on patterns that mimic weavings and other forms of handiwork. The scrolls represent a harmony of opposites—a union of aesthetic traditions rooted in both craft and fine art contexts with references to tropes in abstract painting, especially from the 1960s and 1970s. Explicitly created on paper—a material structure that is accessible yet fragile—these scrolls are photographed in natural and constructed environments. Inside a parking garage or on a bed of snow, the scrolls become interwoven in a community and a specific setting, presenting alternative narratives about how paintings exist in this world.

Recent iterations of the scrolls have been repurposed into site-specific installations. My continued interest in patterning has also led to a series of works on paper exploring knots. These knots are a a visual metaphor for patterning found in the natural world as well as our genetic sequencing. The series delves into repetitive cycles of creation and destruction while touching on the ethical concerns of an emerging field, genetic engineering.


Suzan ShutanDo Over / Late Summer Open Show

Suzan Shutan was born in New Haven Connecticut. She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Painting/Drawing from California Institute of the Arts and a Master of Fine Arts in Installation from Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Arts. She has lived and worked in Germany, France and New York City, NY.  Shutan has taught at Rhode Island School of Design, Quinnipiac University, CT, University of Omaha, NE and currently teaches Sculpture at Housatonic Community College. She has attended artist residencies, has been awarded grants that include CEC Artslink, Art Matters, Berkshire Taconic Foundation’s A.R.T, and recently a Fellowship in Sculpture from the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism funding all work created in 2012-13.  Her work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions nationally including Bank of America Headquarters in N. Carolina and internationally in Germany, France, Sweden, Poland, Argentina, Russia, Canada and Columbia. She has been reviewed by the NY Times, High Performance Magazine, and has work in private and public collections such as the Villa Taverna Foundation and UCLA. 

My work straddles the worlds of two and three dimensions. An artwork might start as a wall relief and end as a floor sculpture. Driven by materials that are manufactured and handmade, I repurpose and transform them. The work is inherently imbued with meaning beyond the planned and researched, as its materials become a contemporary artifact reflecting the decade and century while also commenting in part upon the accumulation of cultural debris. I build vibrant interactive landscapes that visualize an environment while integrating with its surrounding architecture. My process includes incorporating effects that distort dimension, alter optics and challenge our perception of how image and meaning fuse. Relief allows for the play of light and draws out shadows or radiance of a material, bridging the ethereal with the real. Color is used purposefully as emotive and associative. Much of my work offers map-like views of “systems” found in the natural world. These systems contemplate daily life as a collection of observed objects and data that reconfigure communicative behavior into meaningful patterns and structures. Ultimately my work is about joining together a variety of elements that advocate transformation.