October 30, 2019 Melissa Lamar

The community is invited to “Generation,” an exhibition of large-scale portraits in acrylic by abstract expressionist painter and assemblage artist James Spinelli, on display at Tunxis Community College’s Barnes-Franklin Art Gallery Nov. 14-Dec. 12. A reception with refreshments will be held Nov. 14 from 5-8 p.m.

“With this latest body of work, I’ve taken images of people in my life, visual and performing artists, and family members that have influenced me from my childhood through my adult life,” wrote Spinelli, who came of age in the 1960s and has a reverence for the music from that time. “My goal is to bring the viewer in to experience a morsel of the same passion and emotions I had while creating them.”

Portraying the feelings of his subjects was especially important to him in his works that reference photos, including John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Keith Richards, Jim Morrison, David Bowie, Andy Warhol, Robert Plant, and Janis Joplin. Spinelli paints with music playing, capturing the energy of the 1960s and ’70s through multiple layers of paint applied in bold strokes with palette knives.

A lifelong resident of Bristol, Spinelli’s illustrations and paintings have been viewed and collected nationally. He holds a B.A. in graphic design from Central Connecticut State University, and held creative positions at some of the top ad agencies in Connecticut for more than 30 years. Later, he organized Black Sheep Studio where he continued making his art and instructing youth in art. As a member of the Connecticut Urban Artist Initiative, Spinelli was awarded multiple grants for his work with children and the community.

The Barnes-Franklin Gallery is located on the campus of Tunxis Community College in Farmington, in the 600 Building. For a map of campus, visit tunxis.edu/map. Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and by appointment. For more information, email asimoes@tunxis.edu.