The set of exhibits opening at Silvermine Arts Center in New Canaan Sept. 15 will challenge the boundaries of perception.

There will be a group exhibition, which questions assumptions of what a book can be, Amy Bilden's tactile domestic-inspired sculptures and the symbolically rich mixed media nature-based work of Christine Aaron.

The opening reception will be on Sunday, Sept. 15, from 2 to 4 p.m. The exhibitions run through Oct. 26.

`Liminal States'

Christine Aaron's new exhibit "Liminal States: Beneath the Surface" focuses on themes of memory, loss and the passage of time in this rich mixed media nature-based work. Trees serve as a metaphor for the cycle of life; symbols of dormancy, growth, strength and renewal.

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"Trees hold the record of their lives in their rings. These inner marks remain hidden from view, the way humans hold within the physical, mental and emotional marks of personal experience," said Aaron. This intellectual and emotional content directly guides the artist's selection of materials, technique and imagery.

"Printmaking and encaustic allow me to develop through layering much the way human perception and memories are formed, and convey a visual sense of the action of the archeological act of recollection."

Aaron's award-winning artwork has been exhibited widely at museums and galleries.


The themes for Norwalk artist Amy Bilden's new exhibit, "Inheritance," revolve around domesticity, including topics such as identity, sexuality, gender and care giving.

Her tactile domestic-inspired sculptures map the artist's emotional and physical space, using a monotonous process in which she connects her internal and external landscapes. Simple daily household tasks can prompt a current theme in her art making. Material usage is important because of its innate history and meaning.

"Cultural and personal ideas of home life are constantly appearing in all that I create and are enhanced by the daily tasks and work I am employed to do," said Bilden of her art work.

Bilden received a bachelor's degree in fine arts from the University of Montana and participated in artist-in-residence programs in India at the Lotus Art Centre and the Global Arts Village, upon graduation.

She has had solo and group exhibitions at numerous galleries and venues. Her works are also in many permanent collections. Bilden teaches art in Greenwich.

`Beyond the Book'

The Guild Group Show, "Beyond the Book," questions assumptions about a book. Artists Kerry Brock, Shiela Hale, Barbara Harder, Stephanie Joyce, Elisa Khachian, Claudia Mengel and Susan Newbold use the concepts, craft and content of books as a springboard to create artworks that go beyond the book.

Six of them are involved because of Newbold, who inspires the journey through the "Illuminated Journal" workshops. Working individually and in collaborative conversations, employing a wide range of media, the group set out to explore and elaborate diverse pathways to and from the book. The result includes paintings, prints, drawings, sculpture and furniture.

Brock explores the mysterious connections that bind human beings in this realm, and perhaps others. Craft and art are revealed on the covers, the hand-painted papers, the sewing and the objects she worked into each design.

Her book designs have evolved in larger scale drawings and as book-width strips of painted paper, mylar, and canvas, manipulated into three dimensional compositions. She is a resident of Katonah, N.Y.,

The cycle of life -- the ephemeral to the ethereal -- is presented in the works of Joyce, from New Canaan. Paper lithographs of landscapes at dusk are printed on a variety of metals and Japanese papers, and combined with smoke paintings to evoke the mysterious quality of nature and her cycles.

Khachian has had solo and group exhibitions throughout Connecticut. Her main medium is watercolor, an invitation to intimate, spontaneous expression. Line is her strongest design element, trying to be sensitive to gesture and placement.

Mengel, a painter and printmaker from Westport, has been studying, instructing and making art for many years and began concentrating on her art full time when she left her corporate career as vice president of creative services at J.P. Morgan Chase eight years ago.

Harder uses her observations of nature, and through the process of printmaking, transforms ordinary images with unusual juxtapositions.

She heads the Printmaking Department at the Creative Arts Workshop in New Haven and teaches at Quinnipiac University in Hamden.

She has been a guest lecturer/instructor, curator, visiting artist and consultant at many educational institutions, in addition to being the recipient of numerous awards, and is represented in private, corporate and museum collections.

Newbold, a Fairfield resident, is an award-winning mixed-media artist who has exhibited, taught and studied extensively within the U.S. and abroad.

Her work has been collected by private donors as well as institutions, and she has exhibited at several regional museums, galleries and art centers.

The gallery at 1037 Silvermine Road is open Wednesday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. For information, call 203-966-9700 or visit