Jane Eckert’s Local/Global Art Gallery
Eric Forstmann, October 23 - November 6
It’s not everyday when a “local” artist and a “local” gallery attract more than local interest. (And when the local collectors include Kevin Bacon, Jill Clayburgh, Jane Curtin and Melva Bucksbaum & Ray Learsy.) But Sharon artist Eric Forstmann and Kent gallery owner Jane Eckert (above) are well known beyond New England. One of the reasons Eckert, who used to run a gallery on Florida’s west coast, decided to open a gallery in Kent three years ago was its proximity to Forstmann’s studio. “I thought he deserved the sort of representation that would get him serious attention,” says Eckert, who’s thrilled that he’ll be having a one-man show at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, MO, in April 2011. More immediately, she is proud to be opening a new show (Saturday, October 23, from 3 - 6 p.m.) of work by Forstmann that they’ve titled It’s Really All About Me, which refers to the fact that what Forstmann paints—landscapes, barns, street scenes, and objects found at the dump—are deeply meaningful to him.
Forstmann, who grew up in Litchfield County and attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, is best known for his trompe l’oeil paintings (such as Maybe It’s Not Really All About Me, 2010, right) which harken back to the masters of 19th century American realism, according to Louis A. Zona, director of the Butler Institute of American Art (the first museum devoted to American art) which has shown Forstmann’s work. “When we view the paintings of Eric Forstmann we quickly are made to realize that contemporary art can indeed draw inspiration from the classics and that no apologies need to accompany the creation of visually beautiful painting now or ever,” Zona wrote in an essay “Trompe L’oeil and Beyond.”
Eckert sees Forstmann as a modernist as well as traditionalist, and she proudly displays a photograph of Forstmann with the late Pop artist Robert Rauschenberg who was her dear friend and whose work she sells. In fact, Raushenberg owned several of Forstmann’s paintings and told the young artist that he was in awe of his talent in front of a Florida gallery full of collectors a couple of years ago. “Everyone seemed to hear him say that, and the show sold out immediately!” says Eckert with a hearty laugh.
The dealer is happy with her rural life, which includes serving as president of the MASS MoCA Director’s Advisory Council, though she allows that many of her biggest clients come from the New York. “I love the collectors from the city who will come up here for the day or a weekend,” she says, standing in the middle of her sunny Main Street gallery. “They are so relaxed in this environment. That’s why I am here. How can you not love a gorgeous New England town like this?”
Eckert Fine Art
27 North Main Street, Kent, CT; 860.927.0012
Opening reception for Eric Forstmann’s It’s Really All About Me
Saturday, October 23 from 3 - 6 p.m.