Migration — Charlie Walsh’s Exhibit

Friday, December 05, 2008
[I’m skipping the post of December 4, which has already been posted here and publicized a book signing which was snowed out.]
Folks within 100 miles of Bridgeport, Connecticut, should pay a visit to the Black Rock Insurance Agency on Fairfield Avenue to see Charlie Walsh’s paintings.

I’ve known Charlie for about 10 years, having met him through his daughter Patty Pettit, my good friend and former colleague at two newspapers. I knew Charlie wrote brilliant columns for the Connecticut Post, but I had no idea that he’d been drawing and painting for almost as many years as he’s been writing. And the results are evocative, moving, sometimes funny, always perceptive. Word people don’t usually adapt to visuals all that well, and I’m jealous.

Charlie works in pen and ink – I especially liked the whimsical “Lies,” with a man whose nose appears to be coming out of his hat – and in water color where the delicate lines and vivid colors achieve a brilliant contrast in “Chinese Women.” Some works possess the same technique as Miró, but Walsh renderings are much more accessible and less busy, both good things.

Occasionally Charlie mystifies, as with “Woman in a Bikini,” a huge figure with broad shoulders and a flat chest wearing a bikini bottom and a tube top. Charlie’s five-and-half year old granddaughter confirmed my opinion by referring to the figure as “he.”

The ingenuity of presenting at an insurance company adds to the show’s appeal. Charlie’s art inaugurated the gallery and made the viewing that much more fascinating. Whoever mounted the show did a great job with the lighting – not intrusive but bright enough to illuminate the artwork properly. The office part of the agency has traditional oils on the walls, and they provide a contrast to Charlie’s more modernist works in the two rooms that form the gallery.

Here’s more information about the show from Lennie Grimaldi. Scroll down to “But Before That” in the December 3 column. Please go see this terrific show before it closes on January 17! [I think the link to this column is broken.]

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