Connecticut’s Weir Farm National Historic Site will open its 2017 season with the debut exhibition “Photo Ceramics by Xiomáro: An Homage to J. Alden Weir and the Tile Club,” a collection of photographs fused on black ceramic tiles by the park’s Visiting Artist, Xiomáro. The collection of 22 photo ceramics will be on view at its Visitor Center and Museum Store until October 31, 2017, Wednesday through Sunday, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Admission is free.
Weir Farm is Connecticut’s first national park unit and features the wildly eccentric home and studio of J. Alden Weir (1852-1919), the father of American Impressionist painting. In 1877, Weir formed the Tile Club with Winslow Homer, William Merritt Chase and other iconic artists for the camaraderie of creating hand-crafted decorative tiles – a Gilded Era craze sparked by displays at the 1876 Centennial celebration in Philadelphia.
Xiomáro, the park’s Visiting Artist since 2012, applied a modern twist to the idea. Rather than painting on 8” square crème-white tiles as Weir did, Xio used his brush to apply adhesives and finishes to fuse photographic prints he created onto black ceramic tiles that are 4”, 6” and 12” square. The photo ceramics have a luminous surface and the accidental effects from the flow of the stippled brushwork impart an individualized antiqued texture to each piece, all of which are for sale directly from the artist.
The solo exhibit presents four themes as an homage to Weir and the Tile Club. For the first two themes – “Stepping Back in Time” and “Decorative Treatments” – Xio used photographs that Weir Farm commissioned him to create as well as images from when he began as the park’s Artist-in-Residence. These themes give an overview of the park’s historic buildings and grounds as well as close-up views of stained glass, wallpaper designs and other artful details from Weir’s house and studio.
The final two themes are “Long Island” and “Connecticut.” Xio borrowed photographs from his Fire Island National Seashore collection to commemorate the Tile Club’s three famous excursions to Long Island, which helped popularize plein air painting and the Impressionist style. As Weir and many of his contemporaries were drawn to the beauty and light of the Connecticut landscape, Xio used photographs from his collection of the New England Scenic Trail, a 215-mile hiking route that starts at Guilford, goes through the state and ends at the Massachusetts-New Hampshire border.
Xiomaro (pronounced “SEE-oh-MAH-ro”) is an internationally-recognized artist, writer and speaker whose photography has been covered by The New York Times, The Boston Globe, CBS Eyewitness News and The Huffington Post. His photography has been widely exhibited at Harvard University, the State Capitol in Hartford, the Bridgeport office of Congressman Jim Himes and the Mayor’s office in Stamford.
Weir Farm National Historic Site is located at 735 Nod Hill Road, Wilton, Connecticut 06897. The exhibition is at the park’s Visitor Center and Museum Store and runs from May 1 to October 31, 2017. Viewing hours are from Wednesday through Sunday, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Admission is free. For more information call (203) 834-1896 or visit www.nps.gov/wefa. For more information about Xiomáro and to receive a free e-book on Weir Farm, visit www.xiomaro.com.