Looking for a Weekend Art Escape? Check Out Our Guide to the Gallery-Packed Town of Kent, Connecticut

This picturesque New England town is home to an unlikely number of waterfalls—and galleries.

Earlier this year longtime Westchester gallery Kenise Barnes Fine Art opened a new space in Kent, CT. Photograph Courtesy of Kenise Barnes Fine Art.

The picture-perfect weekend getaway has its requisites: scenic nature views, picturesque abodes, a restaurant-lined main street, and, in our opinion, lots and lots of art. The idyllic town of Kent, Connecticut, which lies just two hours (about 75 miles) outside of New York City, checks all these boxes. This teeny-tiny town (the population is in the high 2,000s) is home not only to Bull’s Bridge, a 19th-century covered wooden bridge, but to 17 waterfalls at Kent Falls State Park and a sizable and surprisingly sophisticated set of contemporary and modern art galleries.

If you’ve been searching for a new weekend escape, you’re in luck! Here’s our must-see guide to the art of Kent.

 

Kenise Barnes Fine Art

Sophie Treppendahl Gold James, 2017. Courtesy of Kenise Barnes Fine Art.

Sophie Treppendahl, Gold James (2017). Courtesy of Kenise Barnes Fine Art.

Earlier this year, longstanding Westchester gallery Kenise Barnes Fine Art opened an outpost in Kent. “Cool and Collected, CT” the gallery’s summer exhibition is a refreshing mix of voices, many who have been long associated with the gallery’s Larchmont location. Especially eye-catching is Sophie Treppendahl’s painting of swimmers in a river, which is both nostalgic of childhood summers and dynamic in color and composition.

On View Now: “Cool and Collected, CT” through September 8, 2019
Location: 7 Fulling Lane
Hours: Thursday Saturday, 11 a.m.–6 p.m., Sunday 12 p.m.–5 p.m.

Craven Contemporary

"Conversations with Alex Katz" is currently on view at Craven Contemporary.

“Conversations with Alex Katz” is currently on view at Craven Contemporary.

Shutterbugs, here is your can’t-miss spot. Another newcomer to the Kent gallery scene, Craven Contemporary opened its doors earlier this year, but is already making a name for itself with its bold displays some of the hottest names in contemporary art. The emphasis here is definitively on photography, offering works by Alex Prager, Marilyn Minter, and Catherine Opie, among others, but the gallery also shows a range of figurative contemporary painting by the likes Kehinde Wiley, Mickalene Thomas, and Xaviera Simmons.

On View Now: “Conversations with Alex Katz” through August, 2019
Location: 4 Fulling Lane (Kent Barns)
Hours: Thursday–Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, 12 p.m.-5 p.m.

 

Ober Gallery

Karen LeSage’s Summer Lake, courtesy of Ober Gallery.

Ober Gallery was founded back in 2006, and has since been a hallmark of the Kent art scene under the direction of proprietor Rob Ober. Born in the Soviet Union, Ober was interested in Russian culture from a young age, and having a father as an American diplomat gave him access to cultural exposure from all sides. Since opening his eponymous gallery, Ober has shown many Russian artists who have broken out onto the international art scene, in fact many were included in the landmark 2005 Guggenheim show, “Russia!” and continues to show artists like A.R. Penck and Markus Lupertz. Ober was also the first gallery to show Katherine Bradford and Katherine Bernhardt in Connecticut, and was one of the first to sell prints of Sigmar Polke, way ahead of the curve.

On View Now: “Karen LeSage: New Paintings” through August 4, 2019

Location: 6 North Main Street

Hours: Saturday, 12 p.m.–5 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m.–4 p.m.

James Barron Art

"Some Women and A Triangle," 2019. Courtesy of Barron of Fine Art.

Installation view of “Some Women and A Triangle,” 2019. Courtesy of Barron of  Art.

With a focus on modern and contemporary American and Italian art (founder James Barron splits his time between Kent and Rome), this gallery is known for its playful and unlikely displays. Point and case is their current exhibition “Some Women and A Triangle,” which juxtaposes the artworks of both highly trained and self-taught women artists. Rather than clashing, the encounters are enlivening; the contemporary odalisque scenes of Vera Girivi and Rothko-esque glass works of Laura de Santillana, though seemingly diametrically opposed, are surprisingly complementary.

On View Now:  “Some Women and a Triangle” through August 25, 2019.
Location: 17 Old Barn Road
Hours: Thursday, Friday, Sunday, 12 p.m.–4 p.m., Saturday, 12 p.m.–5 p.m.

 

Morrison Gallery

Installation view of Morrison Gallery, 2019.

Installation view of Morrison Gallery, 2019.

William Morrison, the gallery founder, first made this career as a guitarist playing with musical legends such as Les Paul, and Pat Metheny, before establishing Morrison Gallery in 1998. Presenting mainly abstract painting and sculpture, the gallery is home to work both by emerging local artists and a range of more established names, including the Color Field painters Cleve Gray and Gene Davis, and sculptor George Sugarman.

On View Now: Summer Group Show through August 3, 2019.
Location: 25 N. Main Street
Hours:  Thursday–Saturday, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Sunday 1 p.m.–4 p.m.

 

Eckert Fine Art

Eric Forstmann, Take Out (2019). Courtesy of Eckert Fine Art.

Eric Forstmann, Take Out (2019). Courtesy of Eckert Fine Art.

Many of the major names of 19th and early 20th century American Art can be found here, including Helen Frankenthaler, Andy Warhol, Larry Rivers, Robert Rauschenberg, and an eclectic mix of others. At the moment, the gallery is showing recent works of realist painter Eric Forstmann. The paintings, many of which were made during the artist’s residency at the Vermont Studio Center earlier this year, are witty still lifes of objects found in his everyday life.

On View Now: “Eric Forstmann: Here and There” through August 7, 2019.
Location: 12 Old Barn Road
Hours: Thursday–Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, 12 p.m.-5 p.m. 


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