Wilton Library provides a canvas for a fascinating display by the Silk Painters International–NY Metro Chapter, whose works represent a wide variety of styles, media and subject matter choices all created on silk. The exhibition opens on Friday, Sept. 6, with a reception (free and open to the public) on Friday from 6-7:30 p.m.; the show runs through Thursday, Oct. 3.
The artists in this exhibition are Ronda Lanzi (Wilton, CT); Gloria Lanza-Bajo (Brooklyn, NY); Lydia Bang (Palisades Park, NJ); PJ Cobbs (New York, NY); Christine Cusmano and Jim Cusmano (Long Valley, NJ); Calice Fyffe (Catskill, NY); Susan Grant (Califon, NJ); Linda Parker (Orange, NJ); Suzanne Punch (New York, NY); Sissi Siska (Hoboken, NJ); and Johanna Tiemann (New York, NY).
According to the organization’s website, Silk Painters International exists “to establish silk painting as a recognized art form by encouraging and promoting the collecting, displaying, and production of silk art at the highest level.” Several examples are available on the NY Metro Chapter’s website.
Ed MacEwen, art chairperson for Wilton Library became intrigued by this method of painting after meeting Wilton silk artist Ronda Lanzi. “Over a few conversations, we decided it was time to share this wonderful technique with this art-loving community. Ronda was enthusiastic about bringing her peers into this expressive exhibit.”
The artists in the exhibition came to silk painting in many ways:
Lydia Bang (Palisades Park, NJ) studied silk painting in South Korea’s prestigious Ewha Women’s University. She has a graduate degree in their Industrial Design Program. Her goal through silk painting is to use colors as a voice in various ways to inspire a beautiful life.
PJ Cobbs (New York, NY) is a former fashion journalist who gave up the Prada for a paintbrush. The British-born Cobbs was inspired to try painting on silk for fashion and function (“Comfortable Paintings” pillows) while living in Paris in the 1990s, at the same time covering fashion shows for various publications.
Christine Cusmano (Long Valley, NJ) is a newcomer to the art of Silk Painting. The New Jersey artist has worked in Mixed Media, Pastels, Textile and Ceramic Tile. Her current focus is on framed Silk Paintings and Silk Wearables using transparent liquid French Dyes on white China silk.
James Cusmano (Long Valley, NJ) is a native New Jersey artist working in Pastels, Oils, Watercolor, Printmaking, Textile and Ceramic Tile. His current focus is on vibrant nature-themed paintings using transparent liquid French Dyes on white China Silk.
Calice Fyffe (New York, NY) discovered her love for silk painting when she was transitioning from oil on canvas paintings. An exploration into various mediums led her to the works of textile artists who became her inspiration. As a result, she had the opportunity to study with two master silk painters, Sissi Siska and Suzanne Punch, both of whom are in this exhibition.
Susan Grant (Califon, NJ) is relatively new to silk painting. Largely self-taught, she has been passionately pursuing many forms of textile art for her adult life–in between raising a family in New Jersey and reinventing herself professionally several times.
Gloria Lanza-Bajo (Brooklyn, NY) is mostly a self-taught artists who challenges herself by reading lots of art books and practicing her skills. She has been painting on silk for over 20 years. Her current work has shifted to a more abstract style that she is using for her wearable collection of blouses and scarves.
Ronda Lanzi (Wilton, CT) studied oil painting at Loomis Chaffee school and took courses in painting and architecture while completing her degree in electrical engineering at Tufts University. Lanzi lived in London for two years in the early 2000s and as a member of the Royal Horticultural Society took two courses in painting on silk.
Linda Parker (Orange, NJ) began her silk painting in the 1990s with an adult class in silk painting. She received a BA in Studio Art/Weaving at Montclair State 1985. For her, silk painting was a more immediate medium than weaving and it suited her nature.
Suzanne Punch (New York, NY) has opened up new possibilities of painterly expression by pushing the boundaries of this ancient medium since 1984 and bringing a fine art sensibility to the interaction of dyes and resist on silk.
Sissi Siska (Hoboken, NJ) is a leading American voice in silk painting. Her work is prominently featured in Susan L. Moyer’s classic book, Silkpainting: The Artist’s Guide to Gutta and Wax Resist Techniques, now considered the “Bible” of silk painting.
Johanna Tiemann (New York, NY) was drawn to silk painting by her fascination with silk’s reaction to dye, and dye’s reaction to silk. Tiemann has been instructed and mentored by the extraordinary silk painters Sissi Siska and Suzanne Punch.
Most of the more than 50 works will be available for purchase with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the library. Wilton Library is located at 137 Old Ridgefield Rd., and is open Mondays through Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Fridays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays, from 1 to 5 p.m. Wilton Bulletin is the media sponsor for the library’s art exhibitions. For information and directions, visit the Wilton Library website or call 203.762.6334.