Northwestern Connecticut is renowned for its beautiful flowers and gardens. The exhibition Secret Garden celebrates them with a selection of photographs of Norfolk resident Mahlon F. Craft. Rounding out the exhibition are flowers by Elizabeth Enders, Joni Scully, Roger Ricco and Robert Zakanitch.
When I first laid eyes on Mahlon F. Craft’s photographs I was intrigued and immediately purchased one for my personal collection. Reflecting further, I thought they would make an extraordinary exhibition at the gallery. I ventured to Craft’s studio to see what other photographs he had. The approach to Craft’s house and studio resembled something out of the fairy tale musical Into the Woods. Driving up the long, steep, narrow, winding and wooded drive I emerged on a small overgrown mountain-top at a country estate. Art imitates life.
Craft’s photographs are unique and hauntingly beautiful. Combining the ethereal qualities of pioneering 19th century English photographers like Margaret Cameron with 21st century technology, Craft creates images that simultaneously transport you while challenging pre-conceived notions. Humble meadow flowers and ubiquitous hydrangeas are reconsidered after experiencing them through Craft’s lens.
The 15 framed photographs by Craft are accompanied by works celebrating flowers in a number of mediums by four other artists. Four colored pencil drawings of irises, lily of the valley and sunflowers by esteemed artist Elizabeth Enders, who is currently featured in a one person exhibition at the Lyman Allyn Museum in New London, grace the walls. Roger Ricco’s two exquisite shots of a tulip and a peony against a white background are a counterpoint to the dark and mysterious background of Craft’s photographs. New York artist, Joni Scully, is represented by a lively and colorful Cubist-inspired composition of lilacs in a pitcher. A 1983 lithograph by Robert Zakanitch, Untitled, with an all over floral pattern, is a dynamic work from his Pattern & Decoration period.
You are invited to view the exhibition Secret Garden on the gallery website or in person at Andrea S. Keogh Art & Design, LLC, 43 West Street, Litchfield, CT; right next to the West Street Grill and R. Derwin Clothiers Women’s Shop.