Local artists dazzle NHS crowd

This Lewis Dube piece, created with cut paper and hodge podge, was part of a wine and cheese art show at the Naugatuck Historical Society.

This Lewis Dube piece, created with cut paper and hodge podge, was part of a wine and cheese art show at the Naugatuck Historical Society.

NAUGATUCK — Fine art of two distinct styles lines the walls, sits upon easels and peeks out of opulent gilded frames. Elegant classical music emanates from the center of the room, percolating through canvas, wood and glass media, filtering at last into the ears of patrons sipping wine and nibbling cheese wedges. Flashbulbs fire and art aficionados socialize among their itinerant bursts of brilliant, blinding light.

No, this is not the Museum of Modern Art in New York City—this is the Naugatuck Historical Society on Water Street, and the art on display belongs to two local artists: Lewis Dube and Roseanne Shea, student and teacher, respectively.

Shea, an art instructor at Holy Cross High School and Naugatuck Valley Community College, where she met Dube, allows that her work is more “intimate” than his—meaning only that one needs to stand close and examine the details to deduce the meaning or critique the aesthetic quality of the piece. Her recent work utilizes a combination of two- and three-dimensional formats to represent what she calls the “archaeology of the attic”—the “sacred relics,” like family heirlooms that, when put into context, reflect the “connections between generations,” which can be “deep and profound.”  Many of the pieces on display were detailed arrangements of just these artifacts—antiquated silverware, clothing, and books, for example—and two-dimensional complements such as paintings and photographs.

Roseanne Shea's "artifacts of the attic" motif also was on display, part of a series of events to celebrate NHS' 50th anniversary.

Roseanne Shea's "archaeology of the attic" motif also was on display, part of a series of events to celebrate NHS' 50th anniversary.

Dube’s artwork, on the other hand, is bold and eccentric, comprising abstract, minimalist patchworks of often-colorful geometrical shapes set against one another.

Dr. Kathy Battista, Director of Contemporary Art at Sotheby’s Institute of Art, wrote that Dube “has a unique sense of geometric abstract language. He combines this with a keen sense of color and an adventurous approach to form and composition.”

Suffice it to say that Shea’s and Dube’s approaches stand at just about opposite ends of any spectrum of artistic style. But they have inspired one another—Dube said without Shea’s encouragement he might never have dove headlong into such an adventurous style; Shea has written that she has been “inspired by [Dube’s] enthusiasm and by his artistic approach to begin a new work influenced by the flattened space and simplification inherent in his work. The student informs the teacher, as is often the case.”

The art show was a continuation of the Naugatuck Historical Society’s 50th anniversary celebration, which will culminate with a gala dinner Oct. 10. Charles Marino, the society’s president, said he was impressed by the turnout.