August 12, 2014 08:01PM
By Eric Vo
ORANGE — When Patricia Corbett walked through the large glass doors of the main entrance to the University of New Haven’s Orange Campus, she looked to her left and saw an oil painting hanging on the wall of the Derby Avenue Bridge on the Merritt Parkway.
The painting features a few cars driving under the bridge, with snow on the median and pink trees. It was displayed on the wall across from the front desk in the lobby of the building.
“That’s one of my favorites,” Corbett said. “There’s some color to the trees, but it wasn’t spring — there’s snow on the ground. I like the colors and the feeling. It has this soft feeling to it.”
Corbett, a Wallingford resident, painted the Derby Avenue Bridge painting. She started painting in 2000 after battling endometrial cancer. Before painting, she spent 30 years traveling the world singing in operas and concerts, performing on television and Broadway. She operates a gallery out of her home, which she calls the Camelot Gallery of Fine Art.
Corbett’s work features the various bridges along the Merritt Parkway, often depicted in different seasons. She signed a contract with the University of New Haven to have 10 of her paintings displayed on a year-long basis.
Her artwork has previously been featured in exhibits in the state, but it was Corbett’s first time seeing the paintings displayed at the university. She walked around the building with her granddaughters, Charlotte and Roxane Antilogus — pausing at each painting and smiling.
“I’m really excited about it,” she said as she looked at “The Nike Bridge,” a large oil painting of the James Farm Road bridge in Stratford. “It’s an honor for me, it really is. And to be able to share it with my granddaughters is great.”
As she stood in front of a painting called “Morning Mist,” she explained that her goal when painting is to capture the “shapes” of trees and branches, as well as the feeling inside of her.
“I wanted this phantasmagoria of colors,” she said, staring at her painting. “I wanted to capture the birth of spring.”
The University of New Haven’s Orange Campus is the former location of Hubbell Inc. After recently purchasing the building, an effort was made to “enrich the buildings,” said Laura Marsh, who is an art gallery director and instructor at the school.
“I met Patricia and was impressed with the content,” Marsh said. “The campus is right off the Merritt Parkway and her paintings fit conceptually here.”
The paintings were strategically placed around the building, Marsh said. Paintings of the Merritt Parkway during the winter were placed on walls that were painted blue, while artwork depicting the spring and summer seasons were displayed on green, orange and yellow walls.
While looking at one of the paintings — “Primavera” — Marsh said the artwork is an example of “intersecting arts.”
“The painting comes out through the love of singing,” Marsh said. “If you can show that intersection, it’s enriching.”
Corbett agreed with Marsh’s explanation of the intersection of arts, adding that the title of her paintings are from songs she performed during her music career.
Marsh hopes to feature local artists’ work at the university to give them more exposure. As the group walked through the building, two faculty members from the university stopped to talk with Corbett, complimenting her paintings.
“My hope is that someone will see the paintings and say, ‘I love these,’ and want to investigate her work,” Marsh said. “I see myself as part of her timeline and I want to see her succeed — see her grow.”
Those interested in seeing more of Corbett’s work can do so at the second annual opening of the Camelot Gallery of Fine Art, 310 N. Main St., Wallingford, on Aug. 23. The event runs from 4 to 8 p.m.