Creating in the Moment

The Advocate/Greenwich Time

By L.P. Streitfeld

Symbiosis is a term that immediately came to mind upon viewing works in a recent Chelsea exhibition by three members of Stamford's Loft Artist's Association.  Themes of identity, personality, inheritance and transcendence that ran throgh the offering at DWG Contemporary Art Space are integral to the process pioneered by the artists.

Don Desper, 45, arrived in Connecticut from California in 1982 after serving an apprenticeship with Walker Hancock in Gloucester, Mass., and has had a combined work and exhibition space at the Yale Towne Lock building for five years.  Brian Whitely, 30, a native of Katonah, N.Y., is a self-taught artist who exhibited at his third Loft Artist's Association Open Studios in November.  Sandy Garnett, 30, also self-taught, made art for the music industry in college and has been exhibiting his fine art when he moved into his studio at Yale Towne in 1992.

"I think a visit from people and being involved with people is very much a part of the experience of being in the arts," Desper says.  "I really like to absorb myself in the actual response to the material by staying in the present moment.  The reality is that you are making something that you are going to share with other people."

The leap forward with this concept is beneficial for both Stamford and Chelsea, the current hot spot of the New York arts scene, for the consciousness exuded from the works in the LAA artists' Chelsea show - which opened in the fall and I recently attended - breated dynamism and insight into the very process of delivering art that is highly personal in origina to the public.  In this media-saturated age, when emerging talents rise from obscurity to the collective consciousness in an internet instant, the border between private and public art is a worthy subject for examination.

All three artists toiled in the old Yale and Towne factory in Stamford's South End where the world-class sculptor Ruben Nakian retreated from the New York art scene to embark on an evolutionary underground journey.  The work I saw by Desper, Whitely and Garnett proved fitting of this legacy.  Future exhbitions by these artists, whether together or individually, will surely make an evocative statement in contemporary art.  Their message should not be missed.

- L.P. Streitfeld

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