By Joanne Greco Rochman

Mapping geographical planes and routes is one thing, but mapping out personal terrain is quite another. Hence, the Housatonic Museum of Art in Bridgeport at Housatonic Community College presents Ground Truth: Mapping the Senses/Charting Experience. This exhibit will feature the work of many renowned artists including Susan Sharp, who is also a co-curator of the exhibit, as well as  John Cage, Philip Wofford, Christo and Jean Claude, Ree Morton,  Pat Steir,  and others.

While the term “ground truth” refers to the initial supervised classification of an image, whereby the identity and location of land-cover types are known through a combination of field work, maps, and personal experience, the exhibit at the Housatonic Museum of Art (HMA) is using the title to show how artists map their personal experience with imagination resulting in personal images of places, movement, and responses that are invested with meaning and memories.

According to co-curator Robbin Zella, “The artists in this show are not documenting a physical space but rather charting an internal reality or mapping an emotional or intellectual response.” It’s easy to see then, why Susan Sharp’s works are included in this exhibit.  They represent an abstract navigation through her life’s experiences capturing the sensual throughout in vivid and warm colors intercepting, overlapping, integrating and fusing with dark lines. Her works are part of a series of drawings/paintings executed a few years ago relating to the idea of mapping. They are done on architectural drafting Mylar and have elements of collage. The mediums used are graphite, spray paint, and acrylics.”In these multi-layered works I am navigating disparate worlds,” said Sharp.

terra2 susansharp Last Chance: Mapping Art At Housatonic Museum At Bridgeport

(credit: Susan Sharp)

“I had been thinking about an exhibit like this for about three or four years,” said Sharp. “I’m so glad that it’s finally all coming together. The artists’ works that are included in this exhibit really capture the concept of the show.”  The most recognizable artists in the exhibition are Christo and Jean Claude.  Many people will never forget the work they did by installing 3,100 umbrellas at sunrise, on October 9, 1991. That’s when according to their website, Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s 1,880 workers began to open the umbrellas in Japan and California, in the presence of the artists at both sites. “This Japan-USA temporary work of art reflected the similarities and differences in the ways of life and the use of the land in two inland valleys, one 12 miles (19 kilometers) long in Japan, and the other 18 miles (29 kilometers) long in the USA.

From October 9, 1991 for a period of eighteen days, The Umbrellas were seen, approached, and enjoyed by the public, either by car from a distance and closer as they bordered the roads, or by walking under The Umbrellas in their luminous shadows.”

What makes the Christo/Jean Claude photos and/or drawings of their works perfect for the HMA exhibition is that both artists have explained quite emphatically that all their projects come from within their “two hearts, and two brains. The artists never create works that come from other people’s ideas. Never.”

The exhibition at HMA will bring together the hearts, minds, lives, and creativity of artists from near and far. These art works will intercept, overlap, integrate and fuse with each other as well as with all who experience the exhibit.  This event will extend through February 10, 2012, so you have a few days left to catch it.

Housatonic Museum of Art
900 Lafayette Blvd.
Bridgeport, CT 06604

Hours: Mon to Fri 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Thurs evening until 7 p.m.; Sat 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. (call for holiday times); Sun noon until 4 p.m. (call for holiday times); the Museum and Gallery follow the calendar of Housatonic Community College
Admission is free

Joanne Rochman is the arts editor of “The Fairfield County Review,” a columnist, critic, feature story writer and English professor. Her work has appeared in “The New York Times,” “The Republican-American” and Hers am-Acorn Publications. She can be reached at


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