Award-winning artist Donald Axleroad to be honored

Don Axelroad’s Minotaur Escapes the Labyrinth is part of the exhibit.

Don Axelroad’s Minotaur Escapes the Labyrinth is part of the exhibit.

National award-winning Stamford artist Donald Axleroad is being honored by the Greenwich Arts Council with a retrospective exhibition, Ancient Myths, Modern Messages, at the Bendheim Gallery through Dec. 12.

A conversation with the artist is planned on Nov. 12 at 3:45 p.m. The exhibition will trace Mr. Axelrod’s early passion for art from grade school to student days at Pratt, and studies with renowned printmaker Antonio Frasconi, to creative success on Madison Avenue, and then focus on “Ancient Myths, Modern Messages, themes he has pursued as a full time artist in the past 30 years.

In his prints and paintings, he explores themes of ancient mythology which he finds relevant today, as well as contemporary issues such as the challenges of aging, politics, and environmental issues.

Related special events include Shining the Light on Dementia on Sunday, Nov. 16. This will be an overview slide-talk on Alzheimer’s by Stephen Jones, a gerontologist and head of Greenwich Hospital’s Center for Healthy Aging. Art therapist Maria Scaros-Mercado will share ideas for the use of creative therapy and arts in dementia care and Tania Paparazzo, LMSW, Southwest Regional Director of the Alzheimer’s Association, Connecticut Chapter, will provide information on the resources available for caregivers and victims of dementia, Parkinson’s and traumatic brain injury.

The reception is at 3 p.m. with the presentation at 4 p.m.

Mr. Axleroad’s newest work, an expressionistic landscape of Byram Park will be on exhibit at the Bendheim and limited edition prints will be for sale to benefit the Greenwich Arts Council. The exhibition will include examples of his early drawings and prints, some of which he has enhanced with watercolor. Also on display will be his work as a graphic artist, free lance illustrator for books, magazines and ad campaigns as an agency art director and then founder of his own agency, The Food Group. Clients included Heinz, Nabisco and the Culinary Institute of America.

Throughout his life, Mr. Axleroad has been fascinated by Greek mythology which he says “represents all the traits and foibles of mankind, from heroism, bravery and love to jealousy, deceit and treachery.”

One of his favorite works, The Minotaur Escaping the Labyrinth inspired the construction of a three dimensional labyrinth — an interactive installation called Meet the Minotaur; Explore the Labyrinth, for children on Saturday, Dec. 6 from noon to 4 p.m. For adults, he is hosting a free classical mythology theme concert on Sunday, Nov. 23 at 2 p.m. at the Bendheim Gallery.

The trials and challenges of growing older, including Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, inform his portrayal of the human condition. Having coped with Alzheimer’s in friends and family, he also likes to share helpful information through hosting presentations such as the one on Nov. 16.

Mr. Axleroad said, “I like to speak for people who are unable to speak for themselves. In this, I am inspired by the traditions of past artists who have depicted the plight of the less fortunate — from Goya’s rendering of the Spanish Inquisition to America’s Ben Shahn and his portrayals of the Great Depression, German expressionists like Ludwig Kirchner who satirized the vice and moral corruption of Berlin under Hitler, and Edvard Munch who captured the psychological angst of many victims in The Scream.

Artworks by ARI members and displays from other local agencies who utilize creative therapies with dementia such as the Alzheimer’s Association and The River House will also be on exhibit at the Bendheim Gallery. It is located at 299 Greenwich Avenue, second floor. Open Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. 203-862-6750.

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