Art League Of New Britain Salutes Figure Model Jyll Kashmann

Who was Jyll Kashmann? To Larry and Faith Bilansky, she was a sexy exhibitionist. To Jack Bussmann, she was an acrobat with a hoop. To Elizabeth Hundt Scott, she was an elegant lady in red. Frank Krasicki, she was a pastel blur.

The West Hartford resident worked for more than a decade as a model for artists in Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts. She was a popular sitter at Art League of New Britain. She last sat for artists there in December.

"She got laid up with a back problem in January. She couldn't get out of bed. The next we heard, in mid-March, she was in hospice in Branford," said Bruce Blackman of ALNB. "We never knew she was that ill. It took us all by surprise."

Kashmann died April 3 at age 66 of breast cancer. In her memory, ALNB has mounted a unique exhibit, of about 50 interpretations of Jyll: in pastel, oil, charcoal, watercolor, wall relief, photography and digital art.

"Most exhibits, you see one artist and his vision. In this one, you see one model, and different artists' vision of her," Blackman said.

Kashmann, born in Middletown and raised in Milford, got a B.A. from University of Bridgeport and an M.A. in community psychology from the University of New Haven. Betsy Kashmann said her sister worked at social service agencies, was a freelance writer and was a yoga and meditation instructor as well as being a model.

"She got a lot of satisfaction out of being a part of the art community," Betsy Kashmann said. She added that her sister sometimes worked for barter, and owned some artworks of herself.

Photographer Larry Bilansky, who takes photos with his wife, said he liked working with Jyll because "she was fun, both intelligent and interested.

"The first time she modeled for me, she was referred by another artist. It was a normal paid session and she never saw the pictures. The next year, at Open Studio Hartford, she ended up buying several pictures of herself," he said. Bilansky added that several of the poses in the nine-piece series in the gallery were her own idea.

Artworks in the show are complemented by two written works: a poem by Martin Elster and a mourner's kaddish. One work by Kashmann herself hangs in the gallery. It's not a self-portrait. It's a still life.

REMEMBERING JYLL will be at Art League of New Britain, 30 Cedar St., until July 2. Gallery hours are Wednesday 4 to 7 p.m. and weekends 1 to 4 p.m. alnb.org.

Copyright © 2017, CT Now
43°