When a story begins with a woman who has spent with her partner over 55 years, it can only get better.
Her name is Connie McSilver.
In Miami we have been familiarized with her since she has been showcased as multimedia artist at Markowicz Fine Arts in the Design District.
How did she become a staple in the beaming art world of Miami from bucolic Connecticut?
Via New York baby!
The only separation between Silver the teacher in the tiny nook in the basement of the building and the artist exhibiting in Miami is the Mc before her last name. The Connie McSilver before being an artist has been the psychoanalyst and social worker involved for over two decades with McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research.
And although the institution is named after her last name, her understated demure doesn’t let any hint of it trickle down. She is shy and reserved when it comes to sharing her personal life, which makes her philanthropist activity even more genuine, alas it’s part of her life.
She has researched and worked all her life with extreme poverty, hence the second-hand furniture in her office nook in the basement of the school, no-name garments and subway as preferred form of transportation.
Exposed to the intricacies and ever challenging conditions of the human psyche, she started describing characters by jolting down lines with a pencil. Like an anthropologist who wants to know what makes humans human, she reads below the surface of the characters she encounters daily and transports them into paintings and sculptures. With unexpected lines, she describes her subjects and the traits of their character in a unique and insightful manner.
Connie McSilver’s debut as an artist in Miami was in 2012 at the Red Dot Tent during Art Basel Miami Beach. People Treed was a series of portraits where her wicked sense of humor first started standing out and showing through vivid colors and vibrant expressions of her almost cartoonish characters.
From drawings and watercolors to mixed media art, it wasn't just a hop and a skip, but a natural evolution of the artist who only a few years before was just crafting holiday cards for friends and family (on second thoughts, we hope they all kept those cards!).
The common thread within McSilver’s body of work is the deep connection with life’s contradictions, struggles and conquers, pains and glory which result into vibrant and whimsical sculptures.
I invite you now to have a coffee with me and Mrs. McSilver.
How did you begin drawing?
I began at about the age of 8. My grandmother and I would look for faces in tree branches...and would try to draw them.
Were you one of those students doodling on the footnotes of the books?
Would you say your background as a psychoanalyst helped enhancing your natural skills as an artist?
No question...I have so many interesting wonderful models.
Looking at your pieces you convey a positive message: no matter how troubled the circumstance may be, the despair converts into smile, amusement, humor without lacking of tact or understanding. Are the sensibility and irony that transcend in your body of work a reaction to the troubles of life you have been exposed to during your career as a social worker?
It was a way to bring LIFE to my drawings.
Any influence or training from artists?
Yes, The great Will Barnett at NYC Art Students League.
Creating is a release, a form of ideal oasis for most artists. What are you escaping from, if you do?
I guess that all form of art may be escapist in part. I would say that art takes me on a great journey that I may sometimes wish for in the real every day space. Reading a great book is a bit of the same.