The exhibits for the New Year at Silvermine Arts Center, located in New Canaan, brings the annual New Guild Members show plus exhibitions featuring Director's Choice, Jak Kovatch, and works by multidisciplinary artist Grace Shanley. All are welcome to the opening reception Sunday, Jan. 8, from 2 to 4 p.m. The exhibits will run through March 4, 2012.

Since 1992, Director's Choice Jak Kovatch has worked on a series of mixed media paintings, combining ink etching with oil painting technique, on printmaking or water color papers. His new exhibit at Silvermine will explore this ongoing series in multimedia works which will include paintings, sculptures and works on paper created by the artist.

"For me, the boundaries between pure drawing and pure painting are difficult to define in any exact terms," Kovatch said. "When I work, I consider both ways of presenting images, regardless of the medium used. Using both drawing and painting in a single work, I think I achieve the best of two worlds."

Painter, printmaker and educator, Kovatch is a native of Los Angeles where he studied at UCLA, Chouinard Art Institute, California School of Art, Los Angeles City College, USC and also attended Art Students League in New York. While living on the west coast, he became involved in printmaking and in 1952 studied and worked in the Lynton-Kistler Studio. He also worked in the animation department at Walt Disney Productions and designed stage sets for the internationally acclaimed theater director-choreographer Benjamin Zemach. When he moved to the east coast, Kovatch turned to teaching. He has more than 45 years experience teaching art design students. A resident of Westport, he currently works at the Silvermine School of Art where he teaches drawing, figure and anatomy. At the University of Bridgeport, he was Ethyl Professor of Industrial Design and taught in the Design and Art Departments. He also has been an instructor at several public and private institutions in New York and Connecticut.

Since 1952, Kovatch has been working on a series of etching and painting exploring his concept of "Image Continuum," partially-funded through a grant from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts. In 1949, he first exhibited at the Los Angeles County Museum, at the age of 20. Since then he has exhibited in more than 700 regional, national and international museums, universities and institutions. His works can be found in public and private collections throughout the U.S., and he has won more than 180 honors, prizes and awards

Multidisciplinary artist Grace Shanley's new exhibit "Circle of Life -- Then and Now," focuses on images of her six children and husband as her subject. The selection of work ranges from printmaking and pastel to painting. The idea of her love and connection to her large and growing family has been a continuing theme in the artists work. Through the use of a variety of mixed media, she presents portraits and landscapes that relate to family, place, memory and relationships. One might say that her choice of imagery is highly personal, but at the same time it speaks universally to the sense of parental love, according to Silvermine.

A resident of Rowayton, Grace Shanley is best known for her dedication to the art of printmaking. She is the founder and guiding spirit of the Center for Contemporary Printmaking in Norwalk. She received a bachelor's degree from Manhattanville College and studied at the Parsons School of Design, Baltimore Institute and Art Students League.

A member of the Pastel Society of America and Silvermine Guild of Artists, Shanley served as the executive director of the Silvermine Arts Center in New Canaan and on the board of the Vermont Studio Center. Shanley has an extensive exhibition history and is the recipient of many awards.

Each year in the spring and fall, new members are selected through a jurying process into the Silvermine Guild of Artists. The Guild of Artists is a distinguished group of professional artists comprised of more than 300 members who work in a wide array of media and are represented in museums, and prestigious private and corporate collections. Selection into the guild is based on several criteria such as creativity, uniqueness or timeliness, excellence of technique, compelling notion or idea, cultural or social relevance, professional presentation of work, clarity and continuity of style, and professional accomplishment. The New Members Exhibition will showcase the works of 12 new Guild Artist members inducted in the spring and fall of 2011, representing a variety of media.

More Information

Fact box

The new members include: Margot Bittenbender from Old Greenwich -- printmaking; Lucienne Buckner from New Canaan -- sculpture; Carlos Davilia from Ridgefield -- assemblage; Kevin Ford from Norwalk -- sculpture; Hanneke Goedkoop from Rowayton -- watercolor; Barbara Harder from New Haven -- printmaking; Barbara Korman from New York City -- sculpture; Hally McGehean from Norwalk -- mixed media; Mary Jo McGonagle from Southport -- installation; Bob Miranti from New Rochelle, N.Y. -- ceramics; Karen Neems from Stamford -- photography; Angie O'Brien from Stamford -- mixed media.

Silvermine Arts Center turns 90 this year and the celebration begins with a special exhibit, 90th Birthday Celebration Exhibition, featuring the work of the arts center found, sculptor Solo Borglum.

For more information on upcoming exhibits, visit www.silvermineart.org or call 203-966-9700, ext. 20.

Silvermine Arts Center located in New Canaan, Connecticut is one of the oldest artist communities in the United States. Located on a four acre campus, the center is comprised of a nationally renowned artist guild, award winning school of art offering multi-disciplinary art classes for ages 2 to 102, a gift shop and galleries, offering over twenty contemporary and historic exhibitions annually. The center also provides innovative arts education in Norwalk and Stamford schools through its outreach program, Art Partners, and hosts a lecture series and special programs throughout the year. Silvermine Arts Center is a nonprofit organization.

Grounded in the belief that art is vital to the spirit, creativity and wholeness of human beings, the mission of Silvermine Arts Center is to cultivate, promote and encourage growth through the arts; to showcase and serve artists; and to foster arts education and appreciation opportunities for the greater community.

Silvermine Galleries are open Wednesday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m.