Student abstract painter focuses on the color of art

Robin Glynn | General assignment reporter 
(Left): An untitled oil painting created by Merilee Pritchard. (Right): An untitled flashe and acrylic piece of art also done by Pritchard.

Robin GlynnGeneral Assignment Reporter -

The professional space inside Earl Hall was filled with abstract work provided by area artist Merilee Pritchard.

“I am an abstract painter,” said Pritchard, who is from Middletown. “Color is my main focus.”

According to local-artist.org, Pritchard said she paints “to explore unconscious process. I try to avoid allusions to any literal meanings, looking for universals that others will connect with, using color, line and movement. Often avoiding subject, I want to express the space of this moment.”

Pritchard said the point is to exemplify underlying communication.

“My work is gestural, direct, and immediate,” according to Pritchard on local-artist.org. “I get involved with relationships and stay on the surface of the canvas. However the work is usually about space.”

“I don’t recall getting into art until the end of high school,” said Pritchard.

Pritchard said it was suggested that she apply to Pratt Institute in New York.

“When I got there, it was an unusual atmosphere,” said Pritchard. “It opened my eyes.”

A source of inspiration for Pritchard is Paul Clay, a modern artist from the 19th century.

“It was a a real funky art school,” said Pritchard. “It was the best at the time.”

Pritchard’s recent showing at Southern was her second show, the first being in 2008.

According to Pritchard, art professor Arthur Guagliumu, asked her to put together pieces for another show.

“Her work reflects the 1940’s,” said Guagliumi.

Guagliumi said he tries to contact artists whose style the department rarely sees. Guagliumi said it is important for students to see all kinds of different styles. Guagliumi said he is in charge of filling the space at the entrance of Earl Hall and said the space is reserved for professionals.

Guagliumi said when looking at art, people find a fresh unique vision.

“It doesn’t mean it is wrong,” Guagliumi said.

Pritchard is an award winning artist. Her awards include Court of Excellence for Shorline Alliance for the Arts in Guilford, Honorable Mention for Multi-Media in Guilford, second place for the National Juried Exhibition, Greene Art Gallery in Guilford and UNICEF Christmas Card Award in New York.

Pritchard has had many other showings and exhibitions, including group shows for the Guilford Art Leauge Mill Gallery, Shoreline Arts Alliance, Edwards Street Artist’s Collective Hagaman Library. Solo shows include Atwater Memorial Library in North Branford, City Wide Open Studios in New Haven, Gallery Artist Shoreline Art in Branford.

Recent paintings that Pritchard showed at her exhibit in Earl Hall are untitled, but are described as Blue/Red, Figure, 6/12, 8/12, 7/12, Collage, and Space. The works are oil, acrylic, flashe or paper based. Pritchard said that the paintings are different from each other.

“The most common comment is about the color,” said Pritchard. “People love the color.”

Pritchard said she was recently told a comment from a professor about the use of color in her paintings.

“People generally discuss the color,” said Pritchard. “It is usually what people talk about.

Pritchard said when she paints whatever is coming from within comes out.

“I use tools in designing to form the content,” said Pritchard. “So people can talk form, line, space, contrast and color.”

“I consider my work process oriented,” said Pritchard about her work. “It is about the unconscious process and bringing it to the surface.”

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