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The Lost Seclusion Drawings of Cletus van Stratten
October 12, 2019 @ 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
The Elusie Gallery is hosting (ghosting?) an exhibit of a very strange nature. Please read with caution and a sense of humor…
Below is the press release that Van Stratten concocted with incredible foresight more than 40 years ago…or by his alter ego Ken Gagne…?
For Immediate Release
“The Lost Seclusion Drawings” by Cletus Van Stratten at The Elusie Gallery
October 10 – November 5 with the opening Reception on Saturday October 12: 5-8 PM
In Easthampton, Massachusetts, the Elusie Gallery is a space that showcases “local and not-so-local talent, established and emerging artists, and the unexpected”. Unexpected is a good way to describe the Lost Seclusion Drawings exhibit by Cletus Van Stratten.
Recently rediscovered by Van Stratten’s alter-ego Ken Gagne, a fellow artist and Easthampton resident, these large charcoal drawings were done by Van Stratten, in 1975 in NYC. For three months Clete retreated in a dimly lit room furnished with only one chair, ingesting varying amounts of hallucinatory drugs, hoping to unravel the secret truths of the universe. Every week one visitor was allowed to enter the room, serving as a model for Van Stratten’s drawings. This exhibit is the fruit of these weekly visits. Gagne states that Cletus liked to work on large (28×39”) charcoal boards, so in his own words, “I can approach the work with a sense of profligacy”. In 1978, Van Stratten was killed by a hit-and-run driver on his way back from eating breakfast for dinner at a deli located on 2nd Avenue and 7th Street. “Sometimes I miss him,” states Gagne.
This exhibit also includes artifacts that were found on or near Clete after he was run over, only his money was missing (imagine that). “Cletus was also a huge Beatles fan and the drawings will include clues to one of his favorite songs on the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album.”
The Artist Reception is Saturday October 12 from 5 to 8pm. Van Stratten will be present in spirit and his alter-ego Ken Gagne will be on hand to discuss unusual this body of work.
(Legal) refreshments will be served, a splendid time is should be had by all…