From November 14 – December 12, 2010, the Carriage Barn celebrated the tradition of farming and addressed some of the many challenges facing farmers today. With 172 works in every media by 108 artists from across Connecticut and New York, it was a big, beautiful show about a vital, complex component of our lives and our world.
On display “salon style” were bucolic views of idealized farms around the world, including notable local barns, sweeping Midwestern wheat fields, patchwork French lavender vistas, and rural scenes in South Asia portrayed in etchings, collage, pastel, oil and watercolor. Farm animals abounded in paintings, drawings, photographs and whimsical sculptural depictions. Exquisite landscape, still life, and portrait photography captured the beauty and the reality of farming today with a bittersweet sense of a disappearing way of life.
The artists in this show presented many aspects of agriculture with beauty, grace, humor and, most significantly, a deep respect for the land and those who work incredibly hard to supply the food on our tables. There was a particular emphasis on the small, independent family farms and its struggle to survive the age-old problems and the new pressures of industrialized farming and increased land development.
The Connecticut Department of Agriculture and the non-profit organization Connecticut Farmland Trust offered valuable information about area farms today. Several artists also shared their compelling stories of their own farm experiences, adding an important personal connection to agriculture.