The Klein Mezzanine Gallery

Artists in the present exhibit

Benjamin Casiano

Artist and Curator

Native New Yorker, Benjamin Casiano is an accomplished creative director, designer & painter. He received his BFA from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. Painting was always his first love. Inspired and influenced by the great masters worldwide, But it's the women also played a crucial role in his life, which is why he pays tribute to them with his paintings.

Casiano’s work fuses expressionism and pop-cubism. Although he uses geometric and abstract shapes in his artwork, a prominent focal point is the one-eye figurative. “Most of my one-eye figurative are a reflection of my alter ego and a self-portrait of my subconscious,” says Casiano. “Im blind in one eye, but the irony is I was painting figures with a single eye years before losing my vision.”

 

Casiano always had a love for strings and classical music. “Music and art go hand in hand. I never learned to play but I at least paint my favorite musical instruments with the ladies,” he says. For Casiano, painting has proven to be a positive emotional outlet. His works have been exhibited in galleries in the U.S. and as far away as China. Recognized with numerous honors & awards. Casiano is currently exhibiting in New York City, Philadelphia & Paris. Numerous pieces are owned by corporations and private collectors.

 

His goal is to simply add something not seen in modern-day culture. Something different, something beautiful, one painting at a time. One exhibition at a time.

Patrice Barrett

I am a designer who loves to paint. What motivates me is making sense of colors and shapes, leading the eye across the page to rest on an important element. Analyzing why choices were made, and sometimes not - just accepting a serendipitous brush stroke or color mix. My purpose is to express myself in color and shapes, and to garner a response from the viewer.

Sometimes I paint because I want to make an image, or design something beautiful for it's color, lines and flow. It's a sheer exercise of power over my sense of composition and the medium(s) I use. There's a deep satisfaction in being skillful and bringing forth something that people look at and relate too, just because they find it beautiful for itself.

 

Sometimes I paint to illustrate an event that has affected me deeply: a loved one's heart attack and surgery, my grandfather's dementia and distant personality. These end up being my favorite pieces because they are emotionally driven and close to my heart. The viewer may see my message, share my emotion, or take away their own, but there will have been a connection made, feelings touched upon.

 

As subject matter, I choose most frequently to paint people. Faces in particular. There's so much to work with from the perspective that people can be enigmatic, fascinating and ever changing. The recurring design style of having two distinct sides of the faces is my way of saying that everyone, always, has one side they show to others, and one side they hide, no matter what the circumstance.

Claudio Altesor

Claudio Altesor was born in Montevideo, Uruguay, on March 20th, 1981. During his adolescence, he began to take drawing classes in Maldonado, Uruguay. 
 

 His first painting classes were with the artist Derrick Quarles in Stamford, Connecticut. In the past several years Claudio has studied at Silvermine Art Guild, Greenwich Art Society, School of Visual Arts, and New York Academy of Art.

At the same time, his work has been selected for exhibitions in Connecticut and New York City, including the Bendheim Gallery, Flynn Gallery in Greenwich, CT; Prince Street Gallery NYC, Pleiades Gallery NYC, Stamford Museum, Sheraton Hotel,  Ferguson Library, The Stamford Art Association, the Palace Theatre, and the UConn Gallery, Stamford, CT, also he is a Cofounder of Liber-Art painters association and member of the Loft Artists Association. 
 
He was also the Art Assistant for the photo-realistic painter, Steve Smulka from 2006 to 2009, now Claudio creates paintings on commissions. Since he began surrealistic painting several years ago, has focused on existential themes that involve a human being.

Cesar Alvarez

Cesar Alvarez was born in December 1968 in the town of Rionegro, Antioquia, Colombia. At an early age, Álvarez was interested in drawing, shapes and colors, and soon discovered his passion and dedication for art. He started with colored pencils, and overtime began to attend workshops and classes that taught him more complex artistic techniques. In 1996, he completed an internship where he practiced engraving and the use of color.

 

In Rionegro, Álvarez is well-known and is an active member of the municipality’s arts committee. He and fellow artists regularly perform at salons and exhibitions of painting and sculpture.

In 1999, he traveled to the United States and settled in Connecticut. Today, César Ovidio retains his Impressionist roots and occasionally accepts the challenge of some sculpture experimenting with various materials and with the possibility of attaching dimension to those images that he does not want to limit to the canvas.

Kristin Ambrosi

Inspired by light, color, nature, spirit, melody, and words, Kristen Ambrosi’s work is an evolving exploration of the beauty within these elements. As a dedicated yoga instructor and bhakti practice inform her perspective and her approach to art as creative expression. 
 
“Staying grounded and open, continually inquiring what moves me, I use those whispers as motivation. Incorporating mantra, lines of poetry, or simple affirmations creates a foundation of themes, emotions, or ideas layered into paint."

Raised in rural Massachusetts, Kristen lived for twenty years in New York and New Jersey, and now resides in Fairfield, CT. Impacted by study abroad in Samoa, Polynesia, Kristen has always valued exposure to diverse cultures to further understand a broader world and her place within it. Independent travel for retreat and study have been enriching experiences and Kristen anticipates future trips wherever the thread of opportunity leads. 

Nancy Breakstone

I’m a full-time photographer. During the last eight years, I’ve developed a new form of abstract photography: extracting patterns never seen before from the objective…first in nature on the beach, now inland, even in the built world. It started in 2014 on a scorching beach in Costa Rica’s Guanacaste Province, when I saw the ocean cut extraordinary patterns in the volcanic sand.

At first I collected them like seashells at the high tide line, but over 13 return visits, I discovered how to find more exciting images. Eventually, I joined the ocean in its process capturing patterns that only lasted for the seconds of a small wave. Then with the sun, sea and lens all at the correct angles, I made natural colors appear in the water and on the sand. I never Photoshop. The unique images you see are what I saw.

Yvonne Claveloux

Yvonne’s passion for art was sparked while studying fashion design at Marangoni Instituto in Milan. Since then, her creative journey has taken many forms, from running her own interior design firm to working as head stylist for AtHome Magazine.


After taking classes at Silvermine Arts Center, the primarily self-taught artist began experimenting with different mediums, including acrylic, graphite, gesso and watercolors, finding joy in combining them all in her mixed media paintings.

Yvonne paints from her home studios in Westport and Miami, and sells and exhibits her work in several interior design stores and galleries in both Connecticut and Florida.


Claveloux invests her time into the art and design community by speaking on panel discussions, donating art to worthy causes and fostering relationships with both established and up-and-coming designers. As she encounters these new opportunities, she continues to evolve her artistic eye and explore the world around her.

Julia Contacessi

Julia Contacessi explains her process of creating modern abstract art as a combination of conscious and subconscious exploration. With a focus on color, texture and composition, Julia strives to delivers an atmospheric, feel-good effect in every one of her pieces. The artistic influence of Helen Frankenthaler and her belief that there is “no formula” and the artist should “let the picture lead you where it must go,” are principles that Julia embraces. In addition, finding beauty in the contrasting nature of things, much like artist Patricia Larsen, is what Julia seeks through her work.

Herm Freeman

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Herm Freeman earned a degree (Phi Beta Kappa) from Queens College (City University of New York) in 1969 and a Master of Fine Arts in Painting from Indiana University in 1971. He studied painting with several major American artists, including Fairfield Porter, George McNeil, James Brooks, James McGarrell, and Richard Serra.

The artist draws his landscape inspiration from the motifs of Soutine, Cezanne and Courbet. He is represented by Phil Demise's 'a' gallery in NYC, and exhibits his paintings primarily in NYC and the Northeast. Recently, he was awarded ‘Best in Show’ at the prestigious Silvermine 51st Art of the Northeast USA Annual Exhibition.

 

Herm Freeman shows and sells his work primarily in the New York/New England area, but has also shown and sold work in Europe and the planet of New Orleans.

In addition to his emotionally charged landscape painting, Herm Freeman has pursued his musical muse throughout the years; he played guitar, keyboards and vocals in the infamously obscure N.DoDoBand during the late 70's and early 80's.

Russell Miyaki

Since 1984 Russell has been working as a graphic artist, illustrator, fine artist, and a creative director. Throughout his career he has worked for several design studios and advertising agencies winning his share of industry awards and recognition. From the One Show Interactive to multiple Webbys. But his most fulfilling moment of his career was when he risked everything he had and started his own greeting card design studio where he designed, painted and published his own lines of work.

Russell established a national fan base of followers (pre-Twitter and Facebook) working with a unique technique of design markers onto metallic paper. He called them “marker paintings”. He hand painted every single card that went out the door. His technique utilized a special stencil in order for him to marker in vibrant colors that seemed to swirl and come to life right on the surface of the metallic paper. This became a distinctive look that adorned the shelves of many boutique gift and gallery stores across the U.S.

Jennifer Moné Hill

Working primarily with acrylic paint, artist Jennifer Moné Hill creates abstract works exploring viscosity, motion, vibration, and the interaction of color, to provoke emotion, spark curiosity, and visual delight.

Her signature cell details and drips down the canvas sides are evidence of the movement and spontaneity of her process. Jen comes to painting with great enthusiasm, curiosity, intuition, love of color, nature, and positive energy.

 

You may have seen Jennifer's work on exhibit on the monumental screens at the Oculus World Trade Center, her solo show on LinkNYC across from Lincoln Center, and closer to home in recent exhibitions at the Mattatuck Museum, Rene Soto Gallery, Carriage Barn Arts Center, and Ridgefield Guild of Artists.

Jennifer lives and works in Danbury, Connecticut. Born and raised in White Plains, New York, she studied Visual Arts at SUNY Purchase, and then began working as a commercial photographer for over twenty years. Jennifer's curiosity has led her to simultaneously pursue many creative outlets including furniture making, hand dying fiber, and of course painting which is now her greatest passion. Continuously learning technical processes, inventing new ways, and using old and new to conceive something beautiful is the common thread in all of her pursuits.

"Working in abstract painting, going beyond the representational world, to the pure, raw, power of emotion is what excites me. When colors combine, when we make a mark that means something to the spirit, beyond the known familiar image, breaking past the facade of our perception to something greater, that’s what motivates me."

Meighan Morrison

Meighan Morrison's paintings are part of private collections around the world including notable political figures and distinguished members of the entertainment and fashion industry.

 

She studied at Boston University before attending Parsons School of Design as an illustration major. After careers in textile design, interior design and children's books, she returned to painting, continuing studies at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.

She is happy to be continuing the artistic tradition of her great, great grandfather Edmund Garrett, illustrator, painter, and mentor of American Impressionist painter Childe Hassam.  Edmund Garrett's work is in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and other distinctive institutions.

Jill Morton

Jill Morton is an abstract expressionist artist. She grew up in Australia and left there in her twenties to pursue travel and art.  Jill studied clay in Europe and textiles in Asia.  Later she ended up pursuing an art education in the U.S.  In New York City she obtained a B.F.A. in painting from the School of Visual Arts and two Master’s Degrees, one in art and one in art education from Teachers College, Columbia University.

She resides in Connecticut where she previously taught children’s art for 23 years in public school.  Jill maintains a studio in Bridgeport, Connecticut.  She has exhibited in New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut. Her works reside in private collections across the U.S.

Dale Najarian

Dale Najarian is an internationally recognized artist. She received her BFA from Moore College of Art & Design in Philadelphia and worked for over fifteen years as a Graphic Designer and Art Director at various design firms and advertising agencies in New York City, Philadelphia and Washington DC.
 
Dale works in several mediums including watercolor, acrylics, mixed media, and oils.  She has a passion for photography and documenting her experiences is an important part of her creative process and source of inspiration for much of her work.

She recently spent an extended period of time in Switzerland, documenting life in the city and mountains. When she relocated with her family for 3 years to Singapore and traveled throughout South East Asia, New Zealand and Australia, she found the light and textures of Asia interesting and palpable. Her Koi series is inspired by traditional Chinese brush painting that she studied under a Master Calligrapher while in Singapore.

Janice Sweetwater

I attended the Chicago Art Institute, studying painting and sculpture. It was at The Institute where I was inspired to paint in oils and acrylics. Being primarily a landscape artist I frequently explore New England looking for Mother Nature's best work to transpose and interpret, sketching and photographing on location and then returning to my studio to put brush to canvas.

 

I recognized my passion for art early in high school and with encouragement from my art teachers and artistic family, I began to transform my surroundings into landscapes of Color as Light.

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The Klein is sustained by the generosity of our community.  We offer a wide range of programming and the ONLY tuition- free after school arts program in Bridgeport, Klein Theatre Arts. The Klein is a 501c3 non-profit organization. Your donations are tax-deductible. 

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