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Milford Beacon
  • Townsend artist's passion for buildings sparks an 'Architectural Connection'

  • Buildings have always had a special place in the heart of surrealist painter and illustrator Mary Putman, of Townsend.
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  • Buildings have always had a special place in the heart of surrealist painter and illustrator Mary Putman, of Townsend.
    The daughter of an architect, Putman, 70, couldn't escape from noticing the barrage of buildings being constructed in her suburban hometown of Farmington, Mich., while she was growing up.
    Her fascination with buildings will play a major role in her new "Architectural Connection" art exhibit at The Gilbert W. Perry Jr. Center for the Arts, which opens Feb. 1 and ends Feb. 27. The exhibit will feature two paintings and approximately 12 architectural illustrations, of which most of the pieces are very large.
    'Red Sky in the Morning'
    One of the paintings in "Architectural Connection" is an acrylic one titled "Red Sky in the Morning." It's a surreal depiction of a tiny building with barred windows and an exterior that's beautifully decorated in pressed tin (or tin wallpaper) that she photographed around 2007, while she was traveling "west of Delaware," Putman vaguely explained. When asked the state where the building was located, Putman smiled and declined to answer, saying the location wasn't important. What was important to her, however, was the building's fancy décor.
    "I thought, 'This is a grandiose building,'" she said. "It was obviously barred, so the building [probably] stowed valuable things in it. It was on a road with no other buildings around. I think it was a stagecoach stop."
    The title "Red Sky in the Morning" comes from an old sailor's proverb used to predict the weather. The adage states: "Red sky at night, sailor's delight. Red sky in morning, sailor's warning," Putman explained. Since Putman spotted the little building around the time the recession hit, she said she felt "Red Sky in the Morning" was an appropriate title, since black clouds were already looming over America's economy.
    Papa don't preach
    While looking at "Red Sky in the Morning," Putman had a funny revelation about her late father, Hal Whiting, the architect.
    "My father particularly loathed exterior wall coverings that mimic masonry," she explained. "I think it's kind of jokey to kind of say I'm [painting] what he hated. But he died before he was 50, so he never saw any of these [pieces]."
    Whiting would lose it when he saw buildings decked out in exterior wallpaper during family road trips.
    "He'd see a barn and it'd be covered in fake brick and his jaw would [lock up]," Putman quipped.
    If Whiting were still alive and able to see "Red Sky in the Morning," Putman would like for him to have an open mind.
    "I hope he would come to terms with himself and that he would laugh."
    Page 2 of 3 - IF YOU GO
    WHAT 'The Architectural Connection' art show
    WHEN 12-5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 1 (opening reception); show runs through Wednesday, Feb. 27
    WHERE The Gibby, 51 W. Main St., Middletown
    COST Free
    INFO thegibby.com or 449-5396
    Buildings have always had a special place in the heart of surrealist painter and illustrator Mary Putman, of Townsend.
    The daughter of an architect, Putman, 70, couldn't escape from noticing the barrage of buildings being constructed in her suburban hometown of Farmington, Mich., while she was growing up.
    Her fascination with buildings will play a major role in her new "Architectural Connection" art exhibit at The Gilbert W. Perry Jr. Center for the Arts, which opens Feb. 1 and ends Feb. 27. The exhibit will feature two paintings and approximately 12 architectural illustrations, of which most of the pieces are very large.
    SUBHED: 'Red Sky in the Morning'
    One of the paintings in "Architectural Connection" is an acrylic one titled "Red Sky in the Morning." It's a surreal depiction of a tiny building with barred windows and an exterior that's beautifully decorated in pressed tin (or tin wallpaper) that she photographed around 2007, while she was traveling "west of Delaware," Putman vaguely explained. When asked the state where the building was located, Putman smiled and declined to answer, saying the location wasn't important. What was important to her, however, was the building's fancy décor.
    "I thought, 'This is a grandiose building,'" she said. "It was obviously barred, so the building [probably] stowed valuable things in it. It was on a road with no other buildings around. I think it was a stagecoach stop."
    The title "Red Sky in the Morning" comes from an old sailor's proverb used to predict the weather. The adage states: "Red sky at night, sailor's delight. Red sky in morning, sailor's warning," Putman explained. Since Putman spotted the little building around the time the recession hit, she said she felt "Red Sky in the Morning" was an appropriate title, since black clouds were already looming over America's economy.
    SUBHED: Papa don't preach
    While looking at "Red Sky in the Morning," Putman had a funny revelation about her late father, Hal Whiting, the architect.
    "My father particularly loathed exterior wall coverings that mimic masonry," she explained. "I think it's kind of jokey to kind of say I'm [painting] what he hated. But he died before he was 50, so he never saw any of these [pieces]."
    Whiting would lose it when he saw buildings decked out in exterior wallpaper during family road trips.
    Page 3 of 3 - "He'd see a barn and it'd be covered in fake brick and his jaw would [lock up]," Putman quipped.
    If Whiting were still alive and able to see "Red Sky in the Morning," Putman would like for him to have an open mind.
    "I hope he would come to terms with himself and that he would laugh."

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