Sacred Heart University honors artwork of the late Stefan Novotny

Stefan Novotny’s extensive body of work belies the shortness of his life. The prolific artist, who worked in a variety of mediums, died suddenly at the age of 30. He left behind paintings, sketches, drawings, carvings, and ceramic pieces, all in his iconic, colorful, and complex style. The Art & Design Gallery at Sacred Heart University, 5151 Park Avenue in Fairfield, is featuring his artwork in a solo show dedicated to his life and talent through March 12. The art gallery is open from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from 1-5 p.m. on weekends.

Mary Treschitta, associate professor and chair of the Art & Design Department, is the conservator of the exhibition.  The exhibit covers his early work, dating from 2003 through 2007. “Stefan was an original and deeply creative artist. How he produced the amount of work he did in his reduced time on this earth is staggering,” said Treschitta. “His inspirational influences were Duchamp, Gustav Klimt, Willem de Kooning, Wassily Kandisnky, Pablo Picasso, and Vincent Van Gogh.”

Born in New York City, Novotny moved with his parents to Fairfield, as a young child, and attended Fairfield public schools. He graduated from Paier College of Art in Hamden, in 2008, where he won several awards. His work was exhibited at the Blue Lemon Restaurant in Westport. There were two previous exhibits of his work at City Lights Gallery in Bridgeport.

He worked for several years at Giant Steps School for the Neurologically Impaired in Southport, with young adults with autism disorder. He was passionate about this work, and it coincided with one of his most prolific art periods. When he died in April 2015, he had just completed a set design for a play at Fairfield Warde High School. Novotny was a friend of Beechwood Arts and Innovation in Westport. The organization has worked with his family to set up The Stefan Novotny Artists Fund in his honor, to help other young artists establish a creative life. The proceeds of this fund help Beechwood continue to reach out to aspiring artists with support, guidance, and opportunities to show their work, as well as to collaborate with a community of other artists across genres and generations.

More of Novotny’s work can be seen at btefan.deviantart.com, or on Facebook at facebook.com/btefan.

The Art & Design Gallery is designed as a “Center for Content,” that begins with but reaches beyond the university. The Gallery at Sacred Heart University is a venue providing a showcase for collaboration between local, regional, national, and international talent, as well as the enormous talent pool within the university faculty and staff. Learn more at shuartanddesign.com.

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