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Westport artist's work showcases Fairfield in transition

Published 12:21 pm, Saturday, December 21, 2013
  • Miggs Burroughs's lenticular photography will be on exhibit at the Fairfield Museum from Thursday, Dec. 19, through Feb. 18. The process combines two images that, in person, fade into one another as a viewer walks by. Above is "House" that combines a Roy Lichtenstein painting with a Fairfield red shack. Photo: Contributed Photo / Connecticut Post Contributed
    Miggs Burroughs's lenticular photography will be on exhibit at the Fairfield Museum from Thursday, Dec. 19, through Feb. 18. The process combines two images that, in person, fade into one another as a viewer walks by. Above is "House" that combines a Roy Lichtenstein painting with a Fairfield red shack. Photo: Contributed Photo

 

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'FAIRFIELD BACK & FORTH'
Fairfield Museum and History Center, 370 Beach Road. Hours: Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Saturdays, Sundays, noon-4 p.m. 203-259-1598; www.fairfieldhistory.org
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According to the wisdom of the ages, there are two sides to every story.

And thanks to the lenticular photography process, every image created by Westport artist Miggs Burroughs also tells two stories: one past, one present.

"Fairfield: Back & Forth" is an exhibition at the Fairfield Museum and History Center that opened Dec. 19, and runs through Feb. 18.

As the museum explains it: "Lenticular imagery is achieved by using a normal lens on the camera, but the optical plastic which laminates the specially processed image (also known as a `lens') separates out the two images as the viewer walks by. Using this method, Burroughs has produced scenes of familiar Fairfield landmarks in their past and present forms, in essence allowing visitors to see the passage of time happen before their eyes."

"This exhibition provides another creative way to view the changing landscape within our community," said museum Executive Director Mike Jehle.

"Miggs' lenticular images are a fitting addition to the museum as our mission is to use the power of history to inspire the imagination."

(It is important for the reader to realize that it is impossible to convey the lenticular effect in print; the process can only be experienced and observed in person. So for the purposes of this article, a portion of each of the paired images is reprinted. In person, the works do not appear as "split images.")

Burroughs said the show will include more than 20 recent images.

One, called "House," for example, shows a Roy Lichtenstein piece combined with the red shack that used be on the entrance ramp 44 of the Merritt Parkway, across from the Hi-Ho Motel.

"It has since been torn down but I was intrigued by the similarities in their shapes and angles and their completely different representations of what a house can look like," he said.

Burroughs said: "The appeal for me is the emotional journey that these images can evoke, inviting the viewer to reflect on the pace of change, measured in decades or hours. I am honored to help celebrate Fairfield's 375th birthday with this unique look at how some of its familiar places -- stores, monuments, and streets that we pass every day -- have changed over time."

In a previous interview, he noted that: "As a graphic designer, I'm trained to see the world as a series of signs and messages." And as an artist, "I'm intrigued by duality, by transition ... by all the changes ... large and small that are part of our daily lives.

"The lenticular process allows me to explore each one in a fresh and somewhat magical way, because it is a medium that combines two images into one, changing from one to the other as the viewer walks by," said Burroughs, who has designed everything from a United States postage stamp to Time magazine covers and award-winning posters for Save the Children and the American Red Cross.

Burroughs, who is in his 60s, said his fascination with lenticular technology was triggered in 2004 when he "received a cheesy postcard in the mail" that featured a rather primitive lenticular image. "I was a frustrated painter at the time" and looking for new creative outlets, he said. "So I guess the timing was right because it really caught my imagination. ... For me, the appeal of lenticular imagery is the emotional journeys it can evoke."

Among the images featured in the new exhibition are "Firehouse," 1910-2012, which shows the transformation of the Fairfield Hook and Ladder Company to the current Firehouse Deli; "Fountain," 1910-2012, which depicts the Southport Fountain over time; and "HiHo 2010, Day & Night," showing the popular motel landmark in daylight and lighted against a dark sky.

The images also have been transformed into postcards, available at the Fairfield Museum shop.

"I think people have been tickled by lenticular images for decades" -- ever since it was developed in the 1940s.

"I don't know, but perhaps it brings us all back to the joy of childhood and those little (lenticular novelties) that were packed inside boxes of Cracker Jacks," he added.

A lifelong resident of Westport, Burroughs graduated in 1967 from what is now Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. A graphic artist since 1972, Burroughs is renowned in the area for designing hundreds of logos, ads, brochures and websites for commercial and nonprofit clients throughout Fairfield County. He also created the designs for the official Westport flag and a football-shaped decorative egg (now in the Smithsonian Institution) for President Ronald Reagan's White House Easter Egg Hunt in 1984.