A sole unicorn stands in the Fisher Gallery at the Farmington Valley Arts Center in Avon, before the installation for a show titled “Glitter Winter / Eye Candy ” by Camomile Hixon.
By ROGER CATLIN, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Hartford Courant
It’s understandable if
— after the tons of snow and ice have fallen this week, collapsing roofs, snarling traffic, closing schools and providing the aches and pains of driveway shoveling — the notion of risking a drive over an icy mountain to see 300 pounds of glitter may not be on top of your to-do list.
Bad timing, then, for Camomile Hixon, who has been brought in from New York for her installation of “Glitter Winter / Eye Candy” at the Farmington Valley Arts Center in Avon.
The show opening Friday, Feb. 4, is transforming the arts center’s Fisher Gallery with mounds of silver glitter, as well as some of Hixon’s recent work, which comes in a form familiar to any elementary-school art student: glitter on glue.
Her subject matter will include things familiar to anyone out scraping windshields this week — glistening winter branches — as well as stuff in the priority aisles these days at CVS: glitter valentines.
Hixon’s interests at times seem to be the art-world equivalent of Lisa Frank, whose purple-tinted rainbows and unicorns multiply on middle school girls’ notebooks.
And while Hixon’s gallery works have echoed pop art from Ed Ruscha (with big words on canvases) to Jasper Johns (glitter Union Jacks in the style of his American flag icon) to Barnett Newman (minimalist horizon lines in glitter), her biggest splash came last summer when she instigated a search for a unicorn in Manhattan, with posters on telephone poles and trees and the occasional billboard.
She put up 3,000 posters in late October and got hundreds of phone calls to a hotline in a matter of days. They helped provide the audio portion of a subsequent art show at the Grady Alexis Gallery at El Taller Latino Americano in New York.
It was the natural thing to get noticed by a dozen or so blogs and news organizations seeking light news: a sign for a missing unicorn, last seen at Central Park West at 72nd Street, “large female with friendly disposition.”
Hixon has mastered the marketing of art, even though she’s been in the field a remarkably short time, just nine months.
She studied film in college and worked for a company that contracted with Dreamworks. She left the industry, though, to concentrate on music, composing, singing and playing guitar. She studied under Indian vocalist Mala Ganguly, began playing the harmonium and singing in Sanskrit and Bengali, and then trained in New York under soprano Edna Lind. An album of what she bills as alternative pop music was recently released on a small label.
Her first exhibit came only in April, 2010, at the Tria Gallery in Chelsea. It led to presenting mounds of glitter for the Figment Arts Festival on Governor’s Island off of Manhattan and the commissioning of her child-friendly glitter paintings of zebras and unicorns by zoo and a marionette theatre.
Hixon weekends with her husband and children in Lyme, where they are restoring a historic 1730s farm house, so was featured in a December show at the town’s Diane Birdsall Gallery. “The Glitter Wonderland” featured 400 pounds of silver glitter, as well as sparkling tree branches and a large bird nest.
As in Farmington, the glitter will lead to a lot of tracking. “Yes, it’s all over,” says the arts center spokeswoman Kim Knock Beckius, even before the show opened.
In a statement, Hixon says “art lovers will experience the uplifting thrill of 300 pounds of silver glitter” which will “remind viewers to access their own playful nature, which will hopefully lead them down a trail of wonderous optimism and beauty.”
That or make their aching back from shoveling sore all over again.
"Glitter Winter/Eye Candy"
opens Friday at the Farmington Valley Arts Center, 25 Arts Center Lane, Avon. The reception is from 7 to 9 p.m. with a snow date of Saturday. The exhibit continues through March 5. Hours are Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 4 p.m.; admission is free. Information: 860-678-1867.