Above: Ann Chernow and Miggs Burroughs
What happens when you merge three Westport icons? Something wonderful. The iconic Westport Country Playhouse has a new addition by way of The Gallery. Enter icons two and three: painter/printmaker Ann Chernow and graphic artist/photographer Miggs Burroughs. These town treasures will present Amazing Grace, a joint exhibit that marks the launch of the playhouse gallery space.
“We are delighted that the Westport Country Playhouse is partnering with the Westport Public Art Collections and the Westport Artists Collective to create a new gallery space,” says Managing Director Michael Barker. “It will showcase the varied and vibrant visual arts scene in Westport and celebrate the role of the playhouse as one of the town’s cultural centers.”
Chernow and Burroughs have intriguing stories to tell. Because of their mutual respect for each other’s art, they chose to create an exhibition together.
Chernow’s work is based on impressions related to film noir, the American movie genre of the ’30s and ’40s. For this show, her “Fictitious icons,” Chernow digitally abstracts the portraits of these noir starlets, so their stories and foibles, written and displayed, are not readily identifiable. Visual “hints” allow the viewer to decipher each image.
Burroughs, fascinated with the portrayal of time, uses this theme in his images, transitioning from innocent baby to aging miscreant. This medium allows the viewer to travel back and forth at their discretion via what he calls “Enfants Terrible,” a series of mugshots of thugs and crooks from New York City dating back to the early 1900s. “It is my attempt to get us all to lament their loss of innocence,” he says, “and to examine the paths we have all taken since birth.” He uses his lenticular camera (as Chernow, her brush) to depict criminals with their rap sheets flagrantly displayed.
Amazing Grace unites Chernow’s twenty-four bad girls with Burroughs’ twenty-four ne’er-do-wells. This dynamic duo’s exhibit runs November 24 (5–8 p.m.) through December 22 (Tues.–Fri., noon–6 p.m.) at Westport Country Playhouse, 25 Powers Court.
All images contributed.