Silvermine Arts Center will be opening a new set of exhibits Sunday, ranging from the abstractions of Sharon Cavagnolo to the visually complex installation by Mary Jo McGonagle. There will also be the hyper-real figurative paintings of Anca Pedvisocar and the aptly named "Human Touch" figurative print group show featuring Karen Butler of Norwalk, Helen Cantrell, Alanna Fagan, Nancy Lasar and Nomi Silverman.

The show will through April 5. All are welcomed to the opening reception on Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m.

In her exhibit, "New Paradigms," artist Cavagnolo deals with chaos and the human need to control and come to terms with it. For the artist, a gestural or impulsive movement often serves as the beginning of an idea for a painting, with subsequent layers imparting balance, line, color and pattern. The creation of the `whole' represents a new place to be.

"If I've seen it before," Cavagnolo said. "It holds no interest. The sole purpose in painting for me is get to these new paradigms. I have always thought that a painter with a different way of seeing things can never be understood without the opportunity to show an ample body of work. As with friendships, we develop a familiarity and relationship with work as our experiences deepen. We develop a rapport, open ourselves to it, accept a bit, and as it becomes a part of our interior life, we find ourselves coming back and wanting more."

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Exploring relationships

(Dis)connect" is the new site specific installation by Silvermine Guild Artist, McGonagle. Combining video and signature wall coverings and paintings, the installation reflects her fascination with how relationships take place in our everyday lives, hovering between humor and desperation. Time-based media in conjunction with painting creates the overall environment. McGonagle's work is a multi-disciplinary exploration of images and narratives of sublimated family dynamics and the idea of the suburban home as an environment of contradictions.

"I strive to make people aware of the complexities that take place within one's `private' space and bring these issues forward to the `public' space," she said.

In her exhibit, she uses decorative wallpapers, patterning and colorful language to conceal contemporary phrases. The phrases are camouflaged within the wallpaper patterns. There is an element of discovery, revealing our innermost feelings which deal with the unspoken, "not so nice," thoughts that we all share.

Take two

Anca Pedvisocar's exhibit "Take 2" is about second chances given to forgotten moments in forgotten lives of forgotten people, to be re-lived in a different way by people of our time. For this artist, the most difficult part in her work is choosing what to do next and why. She will look over the many black and white snap shots she has collected of the last century before choosing the most significant "insignificant" moment in time worth painting. The central theme of Pedvisocar's paintings is a mixture of tension and solitude that seems to bring people together, while simultaneously pulling them apart. This conflict makes itself visually apparent in people's most inconsequential and mundane actions and postures, glossing their figures with an unmistakable varnish that makes them impervious to one another and to themselves.

"I find this captivating and let these traits reveal themselves when I represent people as I find them in the photographs, which are often my point of departure. I start to turn and twist these photographs until some of the subjects ephemeral presence in the world (and on my canvas) is affirmed, and their vulnerability becomes solid," she said. " Only then do I consider that the image made its transition from the conventionality of a casual photograph to the compelling, almost archetypal power of an old film poster, which I feel my work is most related to."

The treatment of the figures in her paintings are restrained, as in a black and white movie, while exalting the color of the background, evoking the presence of an old, skipping soundtrack and a narrator's voice starting to tell their story.

Fabulous five

The Guild group exhibition, "The Human Touch: Five Printmakers," showcases new figurative works by Silvermine members Butler, Cantrell, Fagan, Lasar and Silverman. The five artists share a love of printmaking, exploring contemporary interpretations of the figure in a variety of print techniques including woodcut, intaglio, lithography and other media.

Butler's richly imagined figures, set in narrative situations that explore human emotion, are captured in classic stone lithography. Cantrell's suburbanites and their split level ranch homes seem the essence of normality, though with a disturbing underlay, etched in moody, dark ink layers. Fagan's gentle yet strong figures and portraits utilize the sensuous brushwork and painterly techniques of monotype. For Lasar, elegant lines and layers combine in a modern, multi-media dance, simultaneously adventurous and balanced, while Silverman's compassionate, fierce portrayals of homeless people evoke German Expressionism in both subject matter and her powerful, sharply chiseled woodcuts.

"Coney Island Dreams" is a series of lithographs that Butler began working on four years ago five of which are being exhibited in this group show. In these lithographs, she combines pieces from both the past and the present that give insight into the many wonderful worlds found at Coney Island.

"For me, the medium of lithography is wonderful because I love to draw. The surface of a limestone is different from any other and receives the drawing material in many beautiful and interesting ways. Unlike other print media, the line that is drawn is the line that is printed," Butler said.

This Guild group show continues the Silvermine Arts Center's long tradition of involvement with the printmaking arts. The Silvermine Gallery has recently expanded its print involvement with flat files and a small gallery devoted to works on paper, making its large collection of prints more available.

Silvermine Galleries are open Wednesday through Saturday, 12 to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. For information, call 203-966-9700 ext. 20 or visit the website: