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Essex Art Association

The Exit Gallery - 2017

The Gantner Gallery Award, formerly the Exit Gallery Award, is a once-in-a-lifetime award, is the Essex Art Association's highest tribute to an artist. It is given to one artist during each EAA show. It affords the recipient the opportunity to present a body of work in a dedicated space during a show at our gallery.

The Gantner Gallery

Essex Art Association Exit Gallery space renamed in honor of Bob Gantner.

Bob Gantner has been a driving force behind the Essex Art Association.  He has worn many hats during his approximately 20 years on the EAA Council, including: council member, vice president, president, treasurer, and most importantly, friend and mentor to everyone who has followed in his footprints.

In honor of Bob's dedicated and caring service to the Essex Art Association, we are extremely happy to announce that the Exit Gallery has been renamed to the Gantner Gallery

Thank you Bob for all you've done.

Gantner Gallery Artists for 2018 Season

 Janet Rayner - "Clairvoyance"

Gantner Gallery Artist: Spring Juried Show, May 5 - 26, 2018


Graphite drawings, oil painting and soft pastel by Janet Rayner

I am a self-taught artist. I have learned by reading books, observing the world, having a family and dreaming my wild dreams.  I've learned through trial and error and trial and success, from other artists as well as from people who say that they “can’t draw a straight line.” I work with oils, pencil, pastel, stone lithography and sculpture in cast porcelain and Pâte de verre. I have labored many years to hone my techniques.  The joy I experience when a piece comes together is extraordinary, making all the work that has led up to it worth the effort!

Since childhood I have had vivid dreams at night and graphic visions in my waking hours. Many of my paintings are the embodiment of these explorations of my psyche and spiritual reflections.

I have taught art to people of all ages in schools, art centers, art workshops, at educational conferences and privately since 1986. I was classified teacher in Mendocino County schools working in grant funded art classes, after school programs and in core classroom settings.I believe in a holistic approach in all I do especially teaching art. Woven into my art lessons are elements of math, science, anatomy and history. My students gain an understanding of the steps, the techniques and the use of tools and templates to illustrate more effectively what they see. I continue to develop new drawing templates, visual aids and written instructions that teachers and students can use to refresh their skills.

            After spending forty of my adult years in Pennsylvania and Northern California, I moved back to the Connecticut River Valley, where I was born and raised.  •

Pam Erickson - "Scavenger Hunt"

Gantner Gallery Artist Elected Artist Show, June 2- 23, 2018


A Mixed Media Exhibition by Pam Erickson

Ivoryton artist, Pam Erickson has been a collector of all things curious, many of them finding their way into her creations. This had led her down a path of being compelled to reinvent and transform these artifacts, having tons of funin the process. One might have difficulty placing her into a genre as an artist but Erickson has categorized herself simply as a “Conceptual Crafter” She's fond of the quote from The Manchester Journal: “... showing work that is whimsical and utterly strange and points to a gloriously unhinged imagination” and from The New York Times: ... “featuring pieces that consciously set out to be witty and they succeed quite well.”

The Gantner Gallery at The Essex Art Association will exhibiting Erickson's “Scavenger Huntfrom June 1st through June 23rd with an opening reception on Friday, June 1 from 6 – 8 pm.

Considering the fact that she is a on a constant quest, foraging for treasures to incorporate into her art, she gave it the title of “Scavenger Hunt”. To further the theme and perhaps inspire some adults to bring their children or grandchildren, she has created an actual treasure hunt for the viewers. She was inspired by seeing how much fun the visitors to The Florence Griswold Museum's “Wee Faerie Village” have in finding the hidden items. In each installation, the creators have hidden a tiny object for the visitors to hunt for. This coming October will be the fourth year that Erickson has contributed to this popular event. (last year there were 13,500 attendees!) It has been a favorite labor of love that she has looked forward to every year. On the other hand, Erickson observed that there were always a handful of visitors that, to her dismay, only looked for the “hidden object” and didn't take the time to really look at the installations. To her this was a travesty and found it sad that these people didn't look closer to see all the detail and magic that the artists had put into these creations, little hidden gems of imagination around every corner”. One of her previous “Faerie Village” installations is on display in her “Treasure Hunt”.

Erickson's assemblage and sculpture employ a wide range of non-traditional materials. Some materials being quite personal: early family photos, hair from her cats and dogs, the shed skin of a pet iguana, bones from chickens fed to family and friends, etc, etc. Perhaps the most intimate being the threads, hair and the very D.N.A. tangled up in the lint from her dryer.

If you frequent the Betty Pierson Recycling Shed at the Essex Transfer Station, you might just find one of your castoffs finding a new life in one of Erickson's creations in this exhibition. She finds it hard to leave without finding something that might lead to inspiration for another piece of art.

Pam Erickson grew up in Brooklyn. She graduated with a degree in Graphic Arts from The School of Visual Arts and studied ceramics at The New School and Southampton College.

Erickson and her family relocated from NYC and Long Island to Killingworth, Connecticut in 1997 receiving two Connecticut Commission on the Arts fellowships.

In 2001, she and her husband moved to Ivoryton, renovating a factory into living quarters and studio space, eventually opening The Erickson-Davis Gallery of which she was manager and curator.

Steven Wells - "Perspective of Portland, My Home Town”

Gantner Gallery Artist Summer Open Show, June 30- July 21, 2018


Watercolors by Steven Wells

Steven Wells of Portland, Connecticut has enjoyed portraying familiar and unique perspectives in and around his home town the better part of his life.  This Paier College of Art student, after teaching art classes on and off for a few years, set aside his passion for watercolors to create with a different medium, hammer and nail.  A professional building contractor for over 40 years, Steven began working alongside his father and friend William Wells.  He eventually took over the business, William Wells and Sons, owning and operating it still as the third generation prepares to take over the reins.

Throughout his time designing, renovating, and creating homes in and around Portland, Steven never truly “put down the brush”.  Winter months would provide the solitude and freedom from “banging nails” that allowed Steven to pick up where he left off, pursuing what he enjoys most, painting.

His profound ability to capture the essence of life and nature was undoubtedly nurtured by his mother Lois, a tremendous watercolorist of her own. They loved to share creative moments while they worked on their latest pieces.  

Over the years friends and acquaintances experiencing his artwork for the first time are amazed by his hidden talent and as a result many local groups have requested him to donate a print to be auctioned off at their fund raisers. Those closest to Steven have the pleasure of adorning their homes with his incredible artwork and have encouraged him to share his work with the art community again.  

Becoming a member of the Essex Art Association and participating in their exhibitions has been a welcoming experience and has allowed him to share, through his eyes, the artist behind the hammer.

      Fred Trinkaus - "Dreamscape

Gantner Gallery Artist Summer Juried Show, July 28 - August 18

Michele Sinkez - "From Where I Sit"

Gantner Gallery ArtistLate Summer Open Show, August 25 - September 15