Accomplished painter, print-maker, sculptor and noted theatrical set designer, Mark Beard is a master of fiction. See him here as he takes on the persona of painter Bruce Sargeant in Alter Ego: Bruce Sargeant|Mark Beard. View the world through the lens of a camera and reshapes your idea of the “everyday” with Strange Beauty: The Photography of Carolyn Marks Blackwood and discover the beginnings of one of America’s most beloved styles in The Origins of Preppy: John Meyer of Norwich.

Artist Mark Beard’s talent is so overflowing that he developed a number of distinct artist personalities with intertwining story-lines. Each has a detailed biography and portrait photograph, to enable him to work in a variety of styles and mediums. The central figure in this fantasy world of Beard’s is his imaginary great-uncle Bruce Sargeant (1898–1938), an English artist and contemporary of E. M. Forster, Rupert Brooke, and John Sloan. The fictitious Sargeant is a painter who largely idealized and celebrated the beauty of the male form who, had he not met a tragic and unexpected death in a wrestling accident at the age of 40, may have gone on to achieve the fame and renown of such painters as James McNeill Whistler, Thomas Eakins or Winslow Homer.

With her camera in hand Carolyn Marks Blackwood creates deceivingly simple photographs of things we all know— newly harvested cornfields, huge flocks of birds in the fall, the ice as it moves on the tides and shatters like glass on the banks of the Hudson River. In Strange Beauty Blackwood finds her pictures by cropping them, never manipulating them, and skillfully redefines our perception of the familiar.

The Preppy style was born on the campuses of America’s Ivy League colleges but it was manufactured using the resources of Eastern Connecticut. Origins of Preppy explores the style’s transformation from campus fad to innovative fashion by pioneering purveyor John Meyer of Norwich. From the creation of the multi-million dollar Norwich Industrial Park to the revolutionary computerized cutting machine, John Meyer was a true innovator, bringing trendsetting style to the Northeast. The John Meyer of Norwich label provided a certain status and confidence to stylish women from the 1950s through the 1970s. Meyer’s daughter, Elise, has compiled an archive of the groundbreaking businessman including photographs, stories and vintage clothing. The exhibition is a stunning tribute to this lasting American phenomenon.

These exhibitions, on view through Sunday, September 8, 2013, will be accompanied by educational programming, lectures and films. They are supported in part by Ethan Allen, Howland Hughes and The Josephine & Lois McMillen Artist Fund at the Mattatuck Museum. This event is open to the public; RSVP is required. Join the museum to immediately qualify for member benefits. Please register in advance at or by calling (203) 753-0381 ext. 110.

Visit the museum website at or call us at (203) 753-0381 for more information on all of the museum’s programs, events, and exhibits including the Blue Star Museum Program which offers free admission for active duty personnel and their families through Labor Day.

The Mattatuck Museum is operated with support from the Connecticut Department of Economic & Community Development, CT Office of the Arts which also receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, and is a member of the Connecticut Art Trail, a group of 16 world-class museums and historic sites ( Located at 144 West Main Street, Waterbury, the museum is open Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday noon to 5 p.m. Free parking is located behind the building on Park Place.