Contemporary Western Art Exhibition Opens at the Mattatuck Museum

  • WATERBURY, Connecticut
  • /
  • March 03, 2014

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David Forks, Summer Chisos, 2012, Oil on panel, 11" x 14"

The Mattatuck Museum announces the opening reception for A Feeling of Humanity: Contemporary Western Art from the Ken Ratner Collection on Thursday, March 13, 2014 from 6:00-7:30 p.m. Mr. Ratner will be in attendance to talk with visitors about his collection and will participate in a conversation with the Museum curator, Dr. Cynthia Roznoy and artist Stephanie Brody-Lederman. The exhibition, on view through April 27, 2014, is organized by the Rockwell Museum of Western Art, Corning, New York, with the Mattatuck Museum.

Tony Eubanks, The New Blanket, 2007-10, Oil on board, 8" x 10"

This exhibition of more than 65 works including paintings, works on paper, archives and ephemera by thirty artists celebrates the art of the western United States. It demonstrates artistic response to the distinctive western landscape and to the unique characters the area has produced. The West has been a defining national symbol during much of America’s history. Although considered a region by Euro-Americans, the West was also a myth, a dream, an inspiration and a destination. As the title indicates, the major theme of the exhibition is “spirit of community.” Drawn from the collection of Ken Ratner, the art integrates a multitude of traditions: landscape, portraiture and character study, animal pictures, domestic and urban scenes and Native Americans.

Mr. Ratner collects works that reflect compassion and understanding—an empathy—for western life: a weathered grain elevator standing tall and proud over the plains, a farmer who pauses for a moment’s rest or a landscape where one feels the deep respect the artist has for the terrain. He looks for western images not only by artists at the big Western Shows, but by women artists and minorities as well

The Collector

Ken Ratner, a private collector based in New York City, is a man of modest resources. This collection is Ratner’s third important art collection. After quietly building a fine collection of Ashcan and Regionalist American art in the 1980's and 1990's, and also forming a collection of European prints by late 19th and early 20th century masters, he started collecting contemporary Western art in 2011. Through careful purchases, Ratner's Western collection currently stands at more than 100 paintings, drawings and prints. Along with the contemporary pieces, Ken has also collected a few choice historic Western and Regionalist works. In a recent conversation, Ken explained, “The Western artists whose works I collect and display… seek out what is vital, what is real, they look for truth, they seek out inherent beauty in the commonplace. These artists have a humane quality in their work, and a deep abiding respect for both people and place.”

This exhibition will travel to the Rockwell Museum of Western Art, Corning, New York, Bone Creek Museum of Agrarian Art, David City, Nebraska and St. George Museum, St. George, Utah. The reception is free with Museum admission and RSVP is requested. Please register in advance at or by calling (203) 753-0381, ext. 130. Join the museum to immediately qualify for member benefits.

Visit or call (203) 753-0381 for more information on all of the museum’s adult and children’s programs, events and exhibits. The Mattatuck Museum is operated with support from the Connecticut Department of Economic & Community Development, CT Office of the Arts which also receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, and is a member of the Connecticut Art Trail, a group of 16 world-class museums and historic sites ( Located at 144 West Main Street, on the green in Waterbury, CT the museum is open Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday noon to 5 p.m.  Free parking is located behind the building on Park Place.

Mattatuck Museum
144 West Main Street
Waterbury, Connecticut
(203) 753-0381
About Mattatuck Museum

Located in the heart of downtown Waterbury’s architectural district the Mattatuck Museum is a vibrant destination, known locally and regionally as a community-centered institution of American art and history. The Mattatuck hosts numerous changing exhibitions each year as well as a permanent collection, which features 300 years of work by American artists. Explore the region’s history through interactive displays in the history exhibit and examine the intriguing Button Gallery featuring 10,000 buttons from all over the world. Mission: The Mattatuck Museum is a center of art and history, a gathering place that nurtures creativity and learning through transformative experiences to encourage a deeper understanding of ourselves and our heritage.

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