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.

Miggs B

A lifelong Westporter and graphic artist, Miggs Burroughs has designed hundreds of logos, websites and print material. In 1972, at age 26, he was the youngest person ever chosen to design a Commemorative U.S. Postage Stamp. Shortly thereafter he illustrated several covers for TIME Magazine, one of which resides in the Smithsonian Institution, along with a hand-painted Easter Egg he was asked to create for President Ronald Reagan.

More recently, Miggs has won much acclaim for his work with lenticular imagery, which has been exhibited in numerous one-man shows throughout Fairfield County since 2003, and has won several "Best in Show" awards.


With a Fine Arts degree from Carnegie-Mellon University, Miggs has taught graphic design at Fairfield University and UCONN, and has written and produced a problem-solving video for children. From 1984 to 2004, he was producer and host of MIGGS B ON TV, an off-beat TV show on Cablevision. He is a member of the Westport Arts Center and the Silvermine Arts Center in New Canaan. He has been honored by the Rotary, the YMCA, the Town of Westport and many other local organizations for his artistic contributions.

Tara Blackwell

Tara Blackwell is a mixed media pop artist working in Connecticut and New York. Raised in a household of artists, Tara was immersed in differing artistic styles and modalities from a young age. Experimenting with a variety of mediums and techniques, Tara employs bold colors, layers, and texture, often incorporating nostalgic pop culture to explore contemporary social issues. 

In her CORNER STORE and SATURDAY MORNING series, Tara utilizes her advertising background to take us back to her childhood. Exploring vintage imagery with subversive wit and whimsy, Tara recreates familiar logos, packaging, and cartoon characters into a visual narrative of her youth as she transports us back to our own. At a glance, these paintings depict a childlike innocence, but there is usually underlying social commentary seen with a closer look. 

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.

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.

Lewis Huffman

Lewis Huffman is an American architect and abstract painter, primarily working in acrylics, with other work in watercolor and mixed media. He currently lives in Southport, CT

Lauri Maclean

Lauri MacLean, celebrated dance innovator with more than twenty years’ experience at the helm of her own dance studio, is recognized in the regional creative community for her significant contribution to the field as both an artist and educator.  Lauri now turns her creative vision to the canvas where
she choreographs paint.

The subconscious surfaces through this process of visual alchemy as the subliminal emerges to create equations of line, color, shape. The parallel to dance is both obvious and engaging. There is great joy in translating the technique and passion of a dancer/choreographer to the movement of paint. Long inspired by the great Abstract Expressionists, I find myself compelled to bring forth my own vision.  My goal is to create an evocative experience for the viewer. May my work serve as a catalyst for your own creativity.

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."

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.

Rich Patton IV

"Painting has become a form of prayer, meditation, and release for me. It allows me to express my true self and emotions from my subconscious mind, and give my perspective on the world and how I see it. It is a beautiful thing!"

Nicole Salva

Nicole Salva, a passionate and lifelong artist, is set to grace the exclusive arts show with her profound talent and distrinctive work. Born and raised in Connecticut, Nicole brings the essence of her love for the ocean and her passion for creating art into each piece she crafts. Her fascination with the sea and its many mysteries can be seen in her mastery of the traditional Japanese printmaking process known as Gyotaku.


As the mastermind behind the well-known Reeled Ink, based out of Oxford, CT, Nicole's work echoes her profound respect for nature's immense beauty and her dedication to her craft. Nicole's acdemic achievements include a Master's Degree in Fine Arts from Western Connecticut State University and a Bachelor's Degree in Illustration from Paire College of Art. These accomplishments have only enhanced her natural talent and have further established her standing in the art community.

Over the years, Nicole's unique approach to art has led to civic commissions and multiple exhibits that have earned her numerous awards. Yet, she remains as dedicated as ever to nurturing the next generation of artists. Currently, Nicole teaches Art & Color Theory, sharing her wealth of knowledge and boundless enthusiasm for art with her students.


Nicole's admiration for the sea and the art she creates is the beating heart of Reeled Ink. The fusion of her passion and craftsmanship manifests itself in the beautiful and inspiring pieces of art. It is her journey, her interpretation of nature's wonders, that breathes life into the canvas, inviting everyone to share in the majesty of the ocean as seen through her eyes.


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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