The beginning of a new year is a great time to adopt a new perspective on things. Westerly’s Hoxie Gallery exhibit for the month of January, entitled “Eye of an Artist,” may be just what you need to inspire you and help get your 2018 off to a great start.
Westerly artists, Elaine Chicoria and Heidi Cozzolino, are providing our community with a month-long exhibit of acrylic paintings and creative photography. Both women have exhibited and sold their work in local and southern New England shows in the past, including Westerly’s annual Virtu art show held in Wilcox park each Memorial weekend.
For readers who may not be familiar with the Hoxie Gallery, it is housed on the second floor of the Westerly Library. It is a huge space with high ceilings that can easily make one feel as if they’ve walked into a Parisian museum instead of a town library.
Sharing a mutual respect for each other’s art, as well as a friendship, the two artists share a philosophy that art reflects the fragility and beauty of life, but each expresses this philosophy using different mediums. Elaine uses a camera and Heidi, a paintbrush.
Elaine helps viewers see that a photograph, whether in black and white or full color, is “a visual, historical presentation of a specific moment in time that will never be the same again,” while some of Heidi’s acrylic paintings help patrons focus on a small, but significant part of a scene that, if not painted, would be missed entirely. Both artists present a variety of works that will inspire those who visit the gallery during this first month of 2018.
The exhibit is quite extensive, showcasing about 130 works, and has a great mix of color and black and white photography as well as paintings that are a mix of realism and the abstract. Although different mediums, Heidi and Elaine’s art complement each other nicely.
One thing that makes their work interesting is that from afar it can be hard to tell if some of the work is a photograph or a painting. Visitors are encouraged to walk up close to the wall and study the nuances of these pieces and to see the care that was taken with each brushstroke and each photographic composition.
Fueled by a desire for artistic expression, both women have honed their talents over many years by developing their skills through studying their fields of interest and practice. Prior to acrylics, Heidi remembers always enjoying sketching and drawing and later, watercolors, before finding her niche with acrylics. Elaine spent much time studying photography independently and with formal study at the New York Institute of Photography in the early 1980’s.
The gallery opened on January 3, with pianist Michael Chicoria of “Happy and the Moonshine” providing music. Walking through a gallery space such as the Hoxie, and slowly taking in the work of its artists, can touch the hearts and souls of patrons in surprising ways. Heidi and Elaine hope those who view their work will gain a greater appreciation for the beauty of our world and the need for preserving it, as well as a greater awareness of the “impact of our human footprint on the world.”
“The Eye of An Artist” exhibit will be open during library hours throughout the month of January and admission is free. For more information on their work, or if you’d like to purchase anything you see in the exhibit, pick up a business card and write-up on their exhibit which can be found on top of the piano in the Gallery.