The artistic life of Joelle Sander

"Flowers" by the late artist and writer Joelle Sander.

Cornwall Library

The artistic life of Joelle Sander

The Cornwall Library unveiled its latest art exhibition, “Live It Up!,” showcasing the work of the late West Cornwall resident Joelle Sander on Saturday, April 13. The twenty works on canvas on display were curated in partnership with the library with the help of her son, Jason Sander, from the collection of paintings she left behind to him. Clearly enamored with nature in all its seasons, Sander, who split time between her home in New York City and her country house in Litchfield County, took inspiration from the distinctive white bark trunks of the area’s many birch trees, the swirling snow of Connecticut’s wintery woods, and even the scenic view of the Audubon in Sharon. The sole painting to depict fauna is a melancholy near-abstract outline of a cow, rootless in a miasma haze of plum and Persian blue paint. Her most prominently displayed painting, “Flowers,” effectively builds up layers of paint so that her flurry of petals takes on a three-dimensional texture in their rough application, reminiscent of another Cornwall artist, Don Bracken.

Sander’s first book, “The Family: The Evolution of Our Oldest Human Institution,” was published in 1978 while she worked as an instructor with the Institute of Children’s Literature. She described the history book, which took young readers on a journey of the evolving family unit from the Ice Age to the 1970s, as a kind of anthropological tour. “Kids are exposed to so many families in this culture,” she told The Lakeville Journal at the time. “I felt the book would give them a perspective on families in other cultures, both historical and contemporary. In 1992, The Lakeville Journal reviewed another of her published works, “Before Their Time: Four Generations of Teenage Mothers,” which Sander wrote as a faculty member at Sarah Lawrence in Westchester County, N.Y., where she served as the associate director of The Center for Continuing Education and taught modern American poetry. She was also a volunteer at a New York YMCA. At this YMCA, she met a young single mother named Leticia, whose trauma, struggles and hopes for the future inspired Sander to share Leticia’s story as told through the personal histories of the women who had come before her. Lakeville Journal writer Richard O’Connor called the book’s psychological exploration of cyclical poverty both “wonderful and disturbing.”

Her first slim volume of poetry, “Margins of Light” was available for attendees of the show to read while they examined Sanders’ paintings, a dual experience to take in the twin passions of her lengthy artistic career.

“Live It Up!” will be on view at The Cornwall Library through Saturday, May 18.

"Cow," by Joelle Sander.Cornwall Library

Latest News

Mountaineers compete in state track meet

Kyle McCarron led the pack through three laps in the boys 1600-meter race at the Class S state meet, May 29.

Riley Klein

NEW BRITAIN — Housatonic Valley Regional High School had eight athletes compete in the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference Class S track and field championship May 29.

HVRHS made its mark throughout the long day of competitions at Willow Brook Park. The meet saw several Mountaineers set new personal records (PR) and two podiumed, qualifying for the State Open meet Monday, June 3.

Keep ReadingShow less
Rising demand for home elevators

Ray and Eve Pech inside their Sevaria home elevator, which was recently installed as part of a larger renovation project.

Debra A. Aleksinas

Ray and Eve Pech were in their late 30’s when they built their dream house 40 years ago on the side of a mountain overlooking Ski Sundown.

The modest, 2,000-square-foot, vertically-designed home offered privacy, ample space for their young family, stunning scenery — and stairs galore.

Keep ReadingShow less
Summer series triumphs at Music Mountain

Benjamin Hochman and Friends opened the 2023 Music Mountain summer series at Gordon Hall.

Anne Daily

Music Mountain in Falls Village is set to begin its 95th season on June 2.

The summer will open with a benefit concert and reception featuring pianist Benjamin Hochman and Friends from the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Oskar Espina Ruiz, the festival promises a season rich with transformative musical experiences.

Keep ReadingShow less