American flag art stars in upcoming show at @287 Gallery


by Paul Steinmetz | February 21, 2019

The @287 Gallery at 287 Main St. in Danbury will host an art exhibit of America’s dynamic pluralism as reflected in depictions of U.S. flags.

 The show by artist Muriel Stockdale, “E Pluribus — Out of Many, One,” will open on Friday, March 15, and run through the middle of June.

 An artist’s reception will be held on opening day from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the gallery, which is organized by the Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut. The reception is free and open to the public, but reservations are requested.

 Stockdale will also present a lecture on her work at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, April 5, at the gallery.

 A native of England, Stockdale moved to Long Island as a teenager and says she was immediately struck by how eager her new friends were to share their own diverse immigrant histories.

 “I personally feel that America is a multicolored, multifaceted nation of extremely diverse interests, views and substance and that is what makes it great,” Stockdale said. “Our flag and our prophetic motto remind us that we can be very different and yet still come together in harmony. To honor that diversity inclusively I began making these flags. This is not a statement of an Empirical United States abroad but rather a welcome to really look at the current make up of our country and to celebrate who we are now, and here at home in the USA.”

 Stockdale’s project is a series of American flags made by hand from fabrics evocative of the different cultures that make up the U.S. Examples of her flags include the Scottish American made from tartan wools, Japanese American made from origami papers, and Chinese American made from Chinese silks and talismans.

 Her flags have been hung in more than 20 venues in New York and New England, including Martha Stewart’s American Made Summit in 2015 and the Trinity Church Community Center, where Stockdale’s community art flag honors the 10th anniversary of 9/11. The New Britain Museum of American Art owns the original E Pluribus African flag as part of its permanent collection, and Stockdale was invited to create an installation this year for a ceiling flag at the World Trade Center.

 Stockdale has pursued many careers as well as artist.

 She graduated from the University of Vermont with a bachelor’s in Nutrition. She earned her MFA in 1982 from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Design Department, and she began in entertainment as a stage manager for theater. She has directed several shows in New York City and New England while maintaining a successful career in costume design. She has created costumes for Opera Omnia’s production, “The Return of Ulysses,” and works for The Jim Henson Company, constructing costumes for the Muppets in films and Sesame Street episodes. Stockdale has also designed and constructed puppet costumes for the new Kennedy Center production of “Carnival.”


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