MICHAEL BORDERS | PAUL ESSENFIELD | MAR ANNE MCCARTHY
ANN HODGDON CYR | BALAM SOTO
Annex Gallery | May 14 – June 06, 2021
Michael Borders is a muralist, illustrator, painter of formal portraits and the producer of a long line of original ideas for institutions and individuals. His images have been seen on buildings, small and large, indoors and out, on albums and compact disks,in book illustrations, coloring books and posters, living rooms, night clubs, cafeterias, elementary schools, universities and churches. He has lectured at Fisk University, Trinity College and the University of Hartford among others.
A lifelong resident of Connecticut, Michael Borders is happily married, has two children and lives in Bloomfield, Connecticut. He has been a member of the Unitarian Society of Hartford since childhood.
Paul Essenfeld is a photographer who only later in life began to treat photography as art. Since 1964 he has employed photography for advertising and journalism and published a regional magazine for five years. Now he calls himself “an opportunity picture taker.”
“I very rarely set up a picture, although I do sometimes. Usually I just see something that want to capture and share.”
In his very first competition exhibit at Hygienic Art in New London, Connecticut November 2018 he won First Prize in an annual event called “The F Stops Here” and the photo was purchased on opening night. His photos have been exhibited and sold at Spectrum Gallery in Centerbrook, CT.
Paul works with color as well as black and white and considers himself a “street photographer” although not every image was shot in the street. His images have been reproduced in magazines and newspapers over the years.
I am a New Haven artist. I was educated at University of Hartford, where I received a degree in painting, and also two minors in print-making and art history. I pursue formalism with pencil and silverpoint drawings, and oil paintings usually on linen. My subjects range in portraiture, still life, interiors, and landscapes. The works revolve around sensitivity to detail and forms, but I am also inspired by more abstract concepts of art history and philosophy. I often choose my compositions with an observation, a thought, or an illustration emerging from a personal narrative. This does not lead to an obvious interpretation; rather it lends the work uniqueness and a mystery.
I also have a degree in computer science.
“There must be something in the man who makes the photograph which has something to say to the mind or heart....” Imogen Cunningham I have been greatly influenced by Imogen Cunningham, especially her images of fragments of the body and her use of light and shadow. The face and the body say something to my mind and heart representing for me the human condition. To me the face reveals or hides the inner person, the body strips everything down to basics, the surface of the flesh, the forms created by the muscles and bones. I see these basic forms as a metaphor for human survival and I work with dark and light, gritty textures and fragmented body imagery, to paint the raw tenor or my images. The camera is my paint brush, with the finished canvas lurking in the dark room. I have also been influenced by the painters of the Renaissance and by the great sculptors of history. They fill me with their beauty. For instance, Rodin said something which I experience often when starting a photographic work: “Sometimes, looking at a model you think you have nothing. Than all at once a little of nature reveals itself, a strip of flesh appears and then this shred of truth conveys the whole truth and enables you to arise a single bound to the absolute principle of things.”
An award-winning, new media artist, Balam has exhibited in fine art venues worldwide. Venues include the New Zealand Art Festival; Brooklyn Academy of Music; Creative Tech Week in NY; the AluCine Latin Media Festival in Toronto, Canada; World Maker Faire at the New York Hall of Science Museum in Queens, NY; El Museo del Barrio in Manhattan, NY; Gallery of Oi Futuro in Brazil; Queens Museum of Art in Queens, NY; Everhart Museum of Natural History, Science & Art in Scranton, PA; the Centre Cultural in Brussels, Belgium; the National Library of Cameroon in West Africa; and the Art and Technology Corridor at the Three Rivers Arts Festival in Pittsburgh, PA among numerous others.
Balam has received six Editor’s Choice awards and one Best in Class award from the World Maker Faire held at the New York Hall of Science Museum in 2010 – 2016. In 2016, Balam was Officially Recognized by the Hartford City Council (CT) for the positive impact his work has had on the region. In 2009, he was awarded the Latino de Oro [Golden Latino] Award for Arts & Culture in Connecticut; he has also received Official Citations from the Mayor of the City of Hartford, CT and the Governors of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. In April 2008, Balam was honored with a Diploma of Recognition as a “Maestro,” a Master of Visual Arts, by the National Congress of Guatemala for “being a valuable and outstanding artist with international success.”