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The barn at the property of Yolie Moreno, who lives in western Newtown, was nearly teeming with people when “Beautiful Consequences” officially opened at 7 pm Saturday, September 30.
The host location for a one-night exhibition of works by abstract artist Dave Brooker, the show opened with a special 60-minute family and friends event an hour earlier than the public start time. As people mingled over brick floors and took in works that had been created in recent months, all seemed to agree on one thing: the collection was wonderful, gorgeous, clever, and creative.
By the end of the evening, in fact, every piece had a red dot on its accompanying label, signifying a sale. Dave Brooker’s first solo show was definitely a success.
“I am very grateful to this community for giving me a soft landing pad for jumping off a high ledge,” the artist told The Newtown Bee a few days later. “I need to thank all of the people who helped me put this together.”
Still buzzing with the success of the weekend event, Mr Brooker wasn’t sure what was next, but he didn’t need to worry about that yet.
On Saturday, Mr Brooker could not stop smiling. Greeting friends, neighbors, family members, and plenty of people who heard about the show through myriad sources, he laughed and conversed with just about everyone. The main area of 1,080-square-foot barn had been turned into the gallery space, with three areas hosting art and countless conversations.
“I didn’t even know everyone,” Mr Brooker said, sounding surprised. “I tried to say ‘Hello’ to everyone, and some of them told me they had read about the show and just wanted to see it for themselves.”
Even young Maddie Ford, who collaborated with Mr Brooker on one of the works in “Beautiful Consequences,” was enjoying the evening. “Maddie’s Rainbow,” a large scale work with rainbow-hued paint splashed over a black background, sold during the 6 o’clock hour, adding $400 to the night’s tally.
The three-hour public event presented guests with a look at nearly 30 new works. In recent years, Mr Brooker has created art for others — including the Resiliency Center of Newtown (RCN) and Ben’s Bells Connecticut. He has also led workshops for RCN, and others.
“The art, and the reason for them, was all I thought about,” he told The Newtown Bee in September. Earlier this year he decided to finish all outstanding commitments, not pick up anything new for the time being, and return to art for himself.
“I love collaboration,” he said, “but at the same time, now it’s nice to be doing this project because no one is suggesting anything. The result is a little less important.”
Last weekend’s presentation was the end result of that decision.
“It was as big as success as I could have wanted,” Mr Brooker said this week. In addition to selling every abstract painting and each work with plaster cloth as its base, the artist picked up “quite a list for potential commissions and future work,” he mentioned Tuesday afternoon.
“There’s even a rumor that got started about my next show, which I don’t know about yet,” he said, laughing. “I thought that was humorous.”
Mr Brooker and organizers believe approximately 300 people attended “Beautiful Consequences.” The exhibition was a 2017 Newtown Arts Festival event, one of many under the Newtown Cultural Arts Commission banner.
“I was overwhelmed by the diversity of people that came out, and the different groups of people who were represented,” Mr Brooker noted. “It was amazing to see people from so many walks of life in that same room, and all having a good time.”
Feedback since Saturday night, he said, has all been positive.
“Everything I’ve heard — about the art, and the presentation, and the evening, and the vibe – it was a good night,” he said.
When the idea of the show came up, and then the date was set, Mr Brooker promised himself that he would pace the work that needed to be done in order to present “Beautiful Consequences.”
“I didn’t want to get to the week before the show, or even the day of the show,” he had said earlier in September, “and find myself in panic mode.”
When one mishap did occur on Saturday, he was able to laugh it off.
“Saturday afternoon, during final preparations, I went to pick up a case of wine,” he said. “Three bottle hit the floor and just smashed.
“That was the worst thing that happened during the months of planning this show,” he said.