Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Searching for acceptance...

The morning of. By the time I got there, most of the artist were inside
registering and hanging. I was number 181.

It is that time of year. A mid-winter bacchanalia where anyone can squelch their egos and connect with their inner-id! It's time for the annual Salon des Ind├ępendants hosted by the Hygienic Art Gallery in New London, CT. In it's 33rd year it makes good on the promise to provide a no holds barred environment allowing for the least repressed group of people ever to congregate in one space. Modeled after the parisian movement of the 19th century, the Hygienic's Salon des Ind├ępendants is a direct protest to the rigidity of the art establishment. It is a middle finger proudly marketed and displayed for all to enjoy and take part in.

"Great Day" by Millie Donovan (me) was hung near a ranting
valentine featuring Mel Gibson. You can see Laura Gaffke's piece
on the lower right hand corner of the far wall. Her umbrella series
added color and joy to the Hygienic walls.

My husband is not a fan of this show. He argues that the show only serves to demean serious art and artists. That the work demonstrating craft and intention and YES beauty (at least in his opinion) is lost among the toilet tissue poems and peep sculptures. Well, he may have a point, but I whole-heartedly disagree! This is an opportunity for ALL artists (serious or not) to pull out all the stops and make a what if inspiration was found on the wall of the men's room. I say embrace it...all of it! Put on your best leather pants, pull out your spiked collar and find those pieces that you were too afraid to show. Better yet make something just for the Salon and get there early so that you can display it on the best wall!

Laura Gaffke and I found fellow artist, Ted Genard.
His piece "The Art Fan" can be seen directly in between Ted and myself.
We had so much fun finding a place on the walls.
(The coveted step stool is right behind us.)

Most of the fun is in finding a spot and commandeering the only step stool in the joint in order to hang it, then waiting for the crowd to come. Lined up for a block outside the doors of the gallery will be hundreds of people just waiting to catch a glimpse of the show that promises the forbidden.

You may ask yourself, "how does a girl that paints rainbows, balloons and butterflies manage to fit in this orgiastic environment?" To that I would have to answer that I am breaking all the rules! I do not pretend to make a point, I come as I am, and leave just the same. My protest...I leave a little bit of light and love in the midst of satire and brooding. The best compliment of the day was when a fellow participant (that was in line to take the much coveted step stool away from me) asked which piece was mine. He proceeded to barely look at it then said..."eh, cute", to which I replied; "thank you, that was exactly what I was going for!" Maybe next year I will paint bunnies!

The show opened on January 28th and will run through February 11th. Be sure to stop by and see what it's all about. Don't forget to look for my balloons titled "Great Day" on the far wall of the first gallery (right next to the ranting Mel Gibson, heart shaped valentine). What fun!


  1. I have always enjoyed this show!

  2. So perfectly described.
    I think it's a must see every year!

  3. Thanks Corinne and Kathy! I truly do love this show. It is a time to let our hair down and enjoy what we do. When my kids were smaller, they used to tell people that I color (when they were asked what their mommy does.) I love that description and I think this is one of the shows that truly embodies the idea of doing just that...coloring outside the lines!

  4. I've never been in that gallery, but I've always felt curious about their shows...

    Millie, I love your description of the show , it made me feel kind of left out for not participating, sound like a fun show to be included!!!!

    Good luck with your balloons! One never knows what people might be looking for... it may well be balloons!!!

  5. I love that show... I see what Ken means... but as an Artist I refuse to judge! because I think no matter what the end result, the process is what makes the piece.