Hunt Li­brary presents WWI mil­i­tary ex­hibit

The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT) - - NEWS | RELIGION - David M. Hunt Li­brary A re­cep­tion with re­fresh­ments will take place at the li­brary from 4 to 6 p.m. Oct. 20. The ex­hibit will re­main on dis­play through Nov. 24. For in­for­ma­tion, call 860-8247424 or visit huntli­brary.org.

FALLS VIL­LAGE — Co­in­cid­ing with the 100th an­niver­sary of the end of World War I, the David M. Hunt Li­brary, 63 Main St., will present the ex­hibit, “By Sea By Air By Land: Mil­i­tary Art and Ar­ti­facts 100 Years af­ter the Great War,” through Novem­ber.

Fea­tur­ing mar­itime, avi­a­tion and fig­u­ra­tive art­work in paint­ing, draw­ing, and pho­tog­ra­phy by artists in­clud­ing Robert An­drew Parker, Pamela Berke­ley, Robert Cronin, David Fer­tig and La­zlo Gy­or­sok, the ex­hibit in­cludes items from the Falls Vil­lage-Canaan His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety and from pri­vate col­lec­tions.

Not lim­ited to the WWI era, the ex­hibit en­com­passes mil­i­tary cul­ture, his­tory and iconog­ra­phy from many coun­tries and over sev­eral cen­turies, from Berke­ley’s por­trait of the mythic knight Par­si­fal to an in­stal­la­tion of Parker’s wooden air­plane mod­els and a U.S. Cavalry uni­form that saw ser­vice in the “Puni­tive Ex­pe­di­tion” to cap­ture Pon­cho Villa dur­ing the Mex­i­can Rev­o­lu­tion and in three ma­jor cam­paigns in WWI France. Also fea­tured is a mar­itime paint­ing by Nor­man Wilkin­son, the Bri­tish artist who in­vented the tech­nique of daz­zle cam­ou­flage, which helped im­prove the safety of ships against at­tack in WWI.

Painter Fer­tig is known for his fo­cus on the age of Napoleon and Ad­mi­ral Nel­son through the lens of the New York School, while Gy­or­sok’s pho­tog­ra­phy cap­tures his­tor­i­cal re-en­ac­tors’ en­thu­si­asm for the Amer­i­can Rev­o­lu­tion and the Civil War. Ken Mus­sel­man’s paint­ing, “Mighty Mo,” de­picts sailors ready­ing a 16-inch gun on the USS Mis­souri, while Cronin shows the ten­der­ness of a lonely cou­ple on the deck of the RMS Lusi­ta­nia. Paint­ings by Ge­of­frey Parker and Mary Jeys show ships in states of dis­tress, and Emily Rut­gers Fuller pro­vides a land­scape of a watch tower used to spot sub­marines off the coast of Maine dur­ing World War II. A wo­ven rug of a soldier by Hen­don will also be in the ex­hibit, along with works by other artists in­clud­ing Sergei Fe­dor­jaczenko, Lil­lian Lovitt, and Mar­tijn Spi­jk­ers.

Garth Kobal, the cu­ra­tor of the ex­hibit and one of its artists, was in­spired to as­sem­ble “By Sea By Air By Land” through fam­ily re­search into Elzie Dil­lard Rig­don’s WWI ser­vice in the fa­mous “All-Amer­i­can” 82nd Divi­sion of the 328th In­fantry. Rig­don, then 24, of Alma, Ga., and the father of Kobal’s hus­band, was wounded by shrap­nel and gas on Oct. 8, 1918, dur­ing the de­ci­sive Meuse-Ar­gonne cam­paign in France, which helped bring the Great War to its con­clu­sion. His in­juries, earn­ing him a Pur­ple Heart, took place on the same day and about 2 miles from where Sgt. Alvin York, also in the 82nd Divi­sion, fa­mously cap­tured 132 Ger­man sol­diers.

A fam­ily mem­ber lo­cated Rig­don’s em­barka­tion pa­pers, which led to the dis­cov­ery of a pho­to­graph of the Walmer Cas­tle, a daz­zling cam­ou­flage-painted Bri­tish mail ship that trans­ported the Amer­i­can Ex­pe­di­tionary Forces from Hobo­ken, N.J., to Liver­pool. It was this im­age, Kobal said, “that brought E.D. and the whole con­flict to life for me. My hus­band’s dad — a young green farmer who I never met — sailed to WWI in a paint­ing, so-to-speak, ex­pe­ri­enced in­cred­i­ble hard­ship and in­jury, and was a par­tic­i­pant in this bru­tal and dev­as­tat­ing world-chang­ing event. I im­me­di­ately sent the photo of the Walmer Cas­tle to Robert An­drew Parker in Corn­wal­land he jumped on it, paint­ing a pair of wa­ter­col­ors that are the start­ing point of this ex­hibit. Parker was in­te­gral to mak­ing the ex­hibit what it is, as many of the ar­ti­facts fea­tured in the ex­hibit are from his pri­vate col­lec­tion. Add to that his wooden air­plane mod­els, paint­ings and etch­ings and you have an ex­hibit largely built around Parker’s work, one of our great­est liv­ing artists with a truly his­tor­i­cal and 20th cen­tury per­spec­tive.”

David M. Hunt Li­brary / Con­trib­uted photo

A wa­ter­color by Robert An­drew Parker ti­tled “Walmer Cas­tle 2017.”

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