WOODBURY — Almost 20 years ago Tracey Young started The Elemental Garden in Woodbury and changed the field of garden furniture and accessories. It has become the leading importer of fine French and English ornaments in the country. From far and wide, decorators, designers, architects, collectors, and private clients, from Martha Stewart, Oprah Winfrey, Linda Allard to Bunny Williams and John Rosselli, Candace Bushnell, and Robert Couturier consider The Elemental Garden a source of inspirational style and consistent quality and value.

Now Young has extended her keen eye to the world of fine art. On Friday, June 7 the shop will be transformed into a gallery to exhibit the work of Belgian artist Stefaan Eyckmans.

“I met Stefaan about eight years ago,” explains Young. “We both bought houses in France at about the same time and were introduced by mutual friends. Shortly after that we were invited to dinner at his home and I was bowled over by his paintings.

“Not only are they breathtaking in their composition and execution, but so contemporary in feel because of his use of negative space. The simple objects in his paintings are transformed by his masterful technique to show us their unexpected beauty. Essential to this effect is the interaction of light and dark, multi-layering, and glazing. The result is a powerful and beautiful whole, strong and alive, that initially attracts the viewer from a distance through color, composition and lighting, but which is fully revealed only upon examination of each painting’s intimate details.”

Eyckman’s paintings are reminiscent of the 17th century Dutch and Flemish still life masters. Adapting the tonal techniques of old masters and combining them with modern materials, colors, and objects, he creates a contemporary realism that is almost photographic from a distance and entices the viewer to come closer. It is then that his work reveals surprising details and the drama and emotion that only a painting can instill.

“The aesthetics of Stefaan’s paintings work well with The Elemental Garden,” says Young. “We consider ourselves to be the stewards of time and we are always looking for the unusual, what is bold and challenging and objects that elicit a strong aesthetic. Items that have been around, have been loved by generations and are timeworn. While his paintings are new, they have the illusion of having been created centuries ago and evoke the emotions of the past.”

The shop will be stripped of everything except the paintings and a drinks table for the opening.

“It’s important that the viewer see only the paintings and not be distracted by anything else,” says Young. “The exhibition runs through June 23. After that the shop will return to normal but the artwork will hold its place on the walls.”

Young has worked tirelessly in planning the presentation of Eyckman’s work. In addition to revamping the shop, she has commissioned a video of the artist at work, discussing his philosophy. The 23 paintings in the show are available for viewing and for purchase on the shop’s website.

Eyckmans is from a small village near Antwerp and is the son of the painter and commercial artist Louis Eyckmans, who he considers his greatest mentor and teacher.

The objects he includes in his paintings are the most commonplace, but take on a new meaning and beauty thanks to his painterly technique: Plums in a bowl spilling out with a Ming vase, vibrant grapes next to cutting boards with cheese, a cityscape with oil tins and a toy car. There is always an ironic twist or amusing addition to set Eyckman’s work apart from the crowd — an interpretation of objects and settings that is challenging and provocative.

In his own words, he talks about art: “There are as many definitions for art as there are artists. For me art is emotional. It’s an experience through the senses, you look at art, you listen to music, you feel a sculpture. How I look at something provokes an emotion, it touches me. I keep on painting, I keep on learning, and my best painting is yet to come.”

Today Eyckmans leads a secluded life with his partner in the French Quercy Blanc region, in a small hamlet between the vineyards of Cahors and works in a converted barn.

“Light and Beauty in Contemporary Realism: The Still Lifes of Stefaan Eyckmans” opens on Friday, June 7, from 5 to 7 p.m. at The Elemental Garden, 259 Main Street South, Woodbury. The shop is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and by appointment.

For more information visit www.theelementalgarden.com or call 203-217-2464

Connecticut Media Group