CHESTER — Art, big or small, can transport the viewer into other places and other worlds.
That’s the power of the Chester Gallery’s Postcard Exhibition show, which is packed with paintings, collages, photographs and drawings — each the size of a postcard or smaller.
“We loved the idea of doing art the size of a postcard and it’s not a juried show so anyone who wants to enter can,” said Sosse Baker, who owns the building and ran the gallery for many years with her husband, Jack Baker who died three years ago. Baker now rents the space to Nancy Pinney, who owns and operates the gallery.
The show had some hidden gems, including pieces by Chester resident Richard Ziemann, who is well-known for his etchings and makes pencil drawings for the postcard show every year.
“We have a wait list of buyers when his work comes in, so his work is always sold before the show opens,” Baker said.
The annual exhibition contains close to 60 artists and has been running somewhere between 15 and 20 years, said Baker. She and her husband “just came up with the idea because we loved postcards.”
One wall was mostly watercolors, another photographs. Other pieces were mixed media and three-dimensional. There were enameled pieces, embroidered work and collages that were held together with stitching, tape, glue or wax.
Baker picked up a collage piece by Pam Erickson made with shad scales, laundry lint, dog hair and wax.
“She calls it a ‘lintscape,’” said Baker, smiling and placing the piece back on the shelf.
Many of the pieces are displayed inside plastic postcard-size sleeves provided by the gallery.
“We want people to be able to touch the pieces and we want people to be able to take them down, because the name and prices are on the back,” she said.
Some of the pieces are tiny oil paintings that are not protected in plastic sleeves, which require a pre-show conversation with the artist. “If they bring something like this, which is oil, are they okay with people handling it, which they are,” Baker said.
The artists are mostly from Connecticut.
“One year we got so much fruit we had a fruit wall. This year there’s a lot of birds,” she said. “It’s just been a lot of fun to have the show. In the past, I buy one every year and my husband would frame it and we’d put them here because a lot of the time people don’t imagine how beautiful they’d be in a simple frame.”
Baker said Sol LeWitt had much of his work framed at the Chester Gallery.
“He inspired us to do this show and he would come early. He always delivered his postcards on time and he would come early in the day and he’d make his purchases. He usually purchased everything Richard Ziemann did,” Baker said. “Sol was extremely supportive of young artists and he loved this show. And of course, his would fly out the door.”
The Postcard Exhibition runs through January 18. The gallery is open Wednesday through Saturday from 12 to 6 p.m. and on Sunday by chance or by appointment.