WHAT: "Deleted Scenes"
WHEN: Opening Reception 6:30-9 p.m. Friday, July 20; regular gallery hours 4:30-7 p.m. Fridays & Saturdays July 21-August
WHERE: The Art Junction, 2634 Prairie Street, New Haven
The Art Junction’s newest exhibit is "Deleted Scenes," a display of selected drawings, paintings and sculptures created by Bruce Bitmead since 1997.
Bitmead and Kevin Casto, director of The Art Junction, have been good friends since 1981 when they met at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. Both men said their friendship was a factor in Bitmead’s decision to hold the show at The Art Junction.
“It’s a good opportunity for us to show our work, and to get together as friends,” Bitmead said.
Intrigued by the exhibit’s name, I asked Bitmead why he chose the name “Deleted Scenes.”
“I’m a big film fan, and I see that a lot when I watch a movie,” he said. “And most of the stuff I will be showing I’ve only showed once or twice, or [it] hasn’t ever been shown for some reason or another.”
He said that much like the deleted scenes of a movie are cut because they just don’t fit in the film, he likes all of the pieces but didn't feel that they fit into any specific gallery.
He said the show is similar to a showing that has pieces from the artist’s private collection, just without the fancy name. He explained that pieces from an artist’s private collection are, simply put, just pieces the artist liked too much to sell, so he or she held onto them.
“It’s easy too, because they all come out of my closet,” he said.
When I asked why all the pieces in the show were from 1997 and onward, Bitmead said it had a lot to do with the fact that in 1997 he moved back to Buffalo, NY from Chicago. He said the move was both an ending and starting point in his life.
“I kind of started all over again when I moved back to Buffalo,” he said.
Bitmead said that when he moved he didn’t own a car, so he flew himself to Buffalo and had some of his belongings shipped later. The process ended in a lot of things getting left behind. He said it was a stupid reason, but it was real life. He said he lost one painting in particular that he really loved and wished he still had. Pining over a painting 15 years after you lost it, now that’s true love.
“I feel the closest to 20th century American realists,” Bitmead said, when I asked about his influences. He specifically called out the artist Henry Koerner as a big influencer of his work.
“Henry Koerner was an instructor of mine at the Art Institute, and he not only influenced me, he inspired me,” he said.
He said it was really cool having Koerner as an instructor. He was familiar with Koerner's work before he started school, and was able to take a class taught by an artist he admired.
Bitmead’s art will be available for purchase at the show, with prices ranging from around $95-$295. There will also be food and drinks at the opening reception on Friday, or as Casto put it, “Oh you know, just gallery food. Grapes and cheese and crackers... punch.”
The opening reception for the show will be held from 6:30-9 p.m. Friday, July 20, and the exhibit will be on display at The Art Junction during the gallery’s regular hours, which are 4:30-7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays from July 21 through August 18.