Artistic journeys into winter’s darker side

By MIKE CHAIKEN
EDITIONS EDITOR
The dark side of Earth’s coldest season erupts on the walls of Hartford County Tattoo in Plantsville for the next few months as several area artists (working under the guidance of Bristol’s Bare Bones) display works that interpret their take on the theme of “Winter Underland.”
Among the artists participating in the exhibit is Anna Murfin. (Point of disclosure, this writer also is among the participating artists.)
“I am primarily a ceramicist,” said Murfin via Facebook when asked about her creative endeavors. “I have a degree in ceramics and I make sculptural functionalware.”
Functionalware, explained Murfin, is what it it sounds like. “This is functional everyday tableware – mugs, plates, teapots, bowls but they are all individual unique pieces that are more like sculptures or art.”
Additionally, she explained her artistic reach also strays “into bricolage jewelry and painting using a variety of media, acrylics, egg tempera, and on-glaze china paints.”
Murfin, who has also was artist-in-residence at Farmington Valley Arts Center from March to May 2013, was asked about her inspiration in terms of art. Murfin explained, “There is an overriding theme that tends to run through my work regardless of what avenue I am exploring. My work often takes inspiration from the beauty of the imperfect, the impermanent, and the incomplete. A memory fragment of a dream that never once was. The serene melancholy and understated elegance of a well-worn surface, the beautiful fragility of a rusty object. An act of beautiful redemption, not a restoring of anything that once was here, but taking the inspiration of a broken past and using it to make something beautiful and new.”
Murfin further  explained, “When an item or idea is removed from its usual context or usage and adapted to another form, it presents a cognitive dissonance which, at the most basic level, can contribute to feelings of disassociation or unease. Shadows of treasured preciousness can be read on the surface of an object’s passage through time, thus transforming mundane materials into strange and foreign objects.”
“All ideas and thought process are generated by human imagination and are based on personal experience,” said Murfin. “The images and entities generated arise from imaginer’s mind, borrowing from the rich text of a heritage, which may be left more or less coherent, or ruined and disassembled into a new discourse with a completely different meaning.”
“By taking objects or ideas out of context and incorporating new, untraditional elements,” continued Murfin, “it is possible to transform and create in a different way, observing the obscure and creating the desire to dignify the undignified.”
In regard to the Bare Bone’s Winter Underland show, where artists offered up a darker side to winter, Murfin said the exhibit is about taking “a familiar notion and exposing a different side, disassemble/reassemble the familiar to force you the viewer to see the ordinary in a new light.”
Hartford County Tattoo is not where one would typically expect to see fine art on display, but Murfin liked the unexpected location.
“By showing artwork in a non-traditional venue (a tattoo parlor), it will cause the viewer a moment’s pause to consider (if art needs) to be in an art gallery? In fact, many people are living, moving art galleries with their masterpieces veiled from view, tattooed paintings curtained behind clothes, sometimes exhibited for the world to see, most often just admired by their owners for the artistry and personal pleasure they bring. Is this so much different to the art painted on canvas? Why does artwork change value depending on what media it is painted on? (How) will the Winter Underland Exhibition make you see (art) in a new light?”
There will be an opening reception for “Winter Underland” on Saturday, Jan. 25 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Hartford County Tattoo, 991 South Main St., Plantsville where Murfin also will be selling her jewelry.
“Winter Underland” will be on display through March at Hartford County Tattoo. Many of the pieces will be for sale. Other artists participating in Bare Bones’ “Winter Underland” are Christian Ayala, David LaPointe, Chad Lockhart, Greg Merola, Nick Palazzo, Kae Pilat, Michelle St. Pierre, Johnny Vaina, and Mike Chaiken.
Hartford County Tattoo in Plantsville is open Tuesday through Saturday 12 to 8 p.m.
For more information, call (860) 621-0500.
For more information about Anna Murfin, go to www.adotmuse.com or her Facebook page, Amuse Emporium of Loveliness.
For more information about Bare Bones, go to Facebook.com/barebonesbristol

‘Krampus Skull’ is one of the pieces submitted by artist Anna Murfin for ‘Winter Underland,’ the art show opening Saturday at Hartford County Tattoo in Plantsville.

‘Krampus Skull’ is one of the pieces submitted by artist Anna Murfin for ‘Winter Underland,’ the art show opening Saturday at Hartford County Tattoo in Plantsville.