‘Myth & Muse’ paintings on display

The public is invited to a reception at Art/Place Gallery on June 14, from 2 to 5 p.m. for “Myth & Muse,” the paintings of Toby Michaels and Mary Louise Long. The artists will talk about their work on June 18, from noon-1:30. The show will run from June 11 to July 12, at 70 Sanford Street, Fairfield. Visit artplacegallery.org or call 203-292-8328. Art/Place is open from Thursday to Sunday.

Agnes, Georgia, and Lee by Toby Michaels.

Agnes, Georgia, and Lee by Toby Michaels.

While working as an elementary school art teacher in Weston and Darien, Toby Michaels received her master’s degree in art therapy and counseling. Soon after, she initiated an art therapy program for Norwalk Hospital’s Department of Psychiatry where she practiced for 17 years. Michaels later moved on to lead art therapy groups at Silver Hill Hospital. At the same time, she was appointed Adjunct Professor of Art Therapy at Quinnipiac College in Hamden.

Currently a full-time artist, the Westport resident is affiliated with the Westport Arts Center Artist Collaborative and Silvermine Guild of Art, and is represented in the Westport School’s Permanent Art Collection. Her media appearances include Cablevision’s “Creative Women Today” and the award winning film “Years in the Making”, a documentary which celebrates late-life creativity.

Michaels says, “When planning for this exhibition, I used the opportunity to reconnect with those Abstract Expressionists whose work inspires me. I studied their intentions, philosophy and visual style. Fired by these ‘muses’ I worked with fluid, spontaneous ‘all over’ gestures. I continued in my own way, honoring those who have gone before me, their work gratefully etched in my soul.”

Cloudless Climes and Starry by Mary Louise Long.

Cloudless Climes and Starry by Mary Louise Long.

Mary Louise Long, a painter and printmaker, maintains a painting studio in Port Chester, N.Y. She received a BA in Studio Art and an MA in Printmaking from Montclair State University in Upper Montclair, NJ. As a Lecturer in Art at Bloomfield College in Bloomfield, NJ, she taught courses in painting, drawing, and art history, and also curated four exhibitions for their Westminster Gallery. She was also a studio instructor at the Montclair Art Museum, and later was a visiting artist and teacher at Trinity College in Hartford.

Long has exhibited her paintings and prints in many national and area galleries and museums and has had thirty solo shows. Memberships include the Center for Contemporary Printmaking in Norwalk, Stonington Printmakers in Stonington, and the New Canaan Society for Art, The Monotype Guild of New England, the Katonah Museum, the College Art Association, and Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. She has received many awards and is listed in the Who’s Who of American Women and Who’s Who in America 2014. Her work is represented in numerous private and public collections.

Long says, “Working in oil painting and printmaking monotypes allows me to gravitate between the two, wherein each medium provides fodder for the other…Recurring ancient mythological themes emerge, the human condition is foremost in my mind. Though not derived directly from nature, these works attempt to interpret existence, not only celebrating it but questioning it. Literature, especially poetry, contribute to the titles of the work…” Her triptych in the show focuses on myths about the sun and stars.

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