Homage to Saint Joseph
A sculptural exhibition by Connecticut artist, Stephen J. Balkun

November 3 – December 31, 2018

Reception and Artist Talk: Thursday, November 29th from 6 – 8 p.m.
Woodcarving workshop: Saturday, December 1st from 10 – 11:30 a.m.

The Clare Gallery is pleased to present Homage to St. Joseph, a sculptural exhibition by Connecticut artist, Stephen J. Balkun. Wood is the medium of Stephen’s work. He considers himself an artist and a craftsman. When carving, he thinks of Saint Joseph (the patron saint of craftsmen) and likens the activity to a form of prayer and meditation. During the workshop, Stephen will demonstrate his method of woodcarving and teach participants about wood selection, types of tools, and how to use them to create carvings of their own. Registration is free, but required. To register call 860-756-4034, or email pcurtis@spsact.org.

Wood has a scent, grain, texture and warmth. It comes in diverse colors. It changes over time. Once it is no longer growing, Stephen believes it is still alive. Light, as well as touching the wood, can change it. He has worked with wood for over twenty-five years making choices—which wood to use for what purpose, or how to communicate an idea. Using various tools such as knives, gouges and chisels, Stephen connects to the spirit of all those who’ve worked with the wood before him. He believes he will continue to advance the spirit forward and give the wood new life by transforming it into something beautiful.

In this exhibition, Stephen chose to focus on Saint Joseph because of his connection to the craft of woodcarving. Saint Joseph created utilitarian objects for daily use. He passed his knowledge onto his son, Jesus. Like Saint Joseph, Stephen shared his love for wood with his son, and they presently share a workshop. While he creates art, or utilitarian objects (e.g. bowls or spoons), his son creates custom guitars. Additionally, Stephen makes and carves ornamental details for his son’s guitars.

Stephen J. Balkun teaches woodcarving lessons and has studied wood and stone carving with Connecticut artists, George Hanover and Elizabeth Rafael. His professional life included being a basketball player, a chiropractor, and an educator. Many of his works integrate human and organic forms inspired by anatomy. Presently, he lives with his wife, Anita, who is also an artist and teacher in West Hartford, Connecticut. If you would like to contact him please email doctorb30@gmail.com

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The exhibition, and reception is free and open to the public. Free parking is available directly across from the church in Saints Lot. The facility is handicapped accessible.