It's June, and gardens are full and bursting with blooms, making it the primary month for this year's crop of birds to sortie out of their nests and begin their own lives. This group lark presents a number of artists who celebrate birds in their work. Who doesn't love a piece of art that includes a bird?
Floating Worlds: The Art of Sherrie Hunt
Two themes are represented in this show with the common thread of floating imagery. I have immense passion for nature and the well being of our planet from the tiniest of creatures and flora to the oceans and forest. The beauty and mystery of nature feeds my soul and awakens my creative spirit endlessly and at the same time, on a daily basis, I am reminded of it’s fragility for I am an advocate of species in jeopardy.
As I paint or create photographic images I pull up the visuals in my mind of the twisting vines, soft velvety petals, undulating foliage, familiar and foreign shapes and colors or perhaps the beauty and spirt of a bird. These images pass through a filter of my imagination
and then float out into my art so to speak.
Most of my pieces are laced with metaphors, some obvious, some not so obvious, of our connection with nature and the fragility of our planet. The wings of a bird or petal of a flower not being fully painted would be examples of metaphors for the threat of extinction.
The intelligent hawk is the seer of the future - the harbinger for the environment of our endangered planet in my paintings.
I desire to put beauty with an element of mystery out in the world with my work to engage the viewer and at the same time an underlying quiet message of the importance of cherishing our planet.
The second theme in the show is work over the years inspired by tiny Chinese
puppet heads I continually return to for inspiration. The photo-based mixed media pieces perhaps will stir the viewers imagination and connect with them on an emotional level as will the more recently photographic collage prints.
Michelle Gagliano has been painting for over 25 years and has shown across the country, including solo exhibitions in Texas, Louisiana, California, and New Mexico. Her work is held in numerous private and corporate collections throughout the United States and Europe, including Texas, Amsterdam, London, Beverly Hills, New York, Paris, and Washington, DC. Gagliano was born in Jamestown, NY, and studied painting at North Texas State University with painter Vernon Fisher. She has a degree in painting from Plymouth State University (New Hampshire). She travels frequently between Texas, New York and Virginia.
Her body of work has, for quite a number of years, involved painting scenes of evanescent natural beauty, particularly of landscapes of trees in the foreground with a mysterious light often leading the viewer deep into the painting. Michelle draws much pleasure from the act of painting this work, and imagining the earth as having a radiant spirit just beyond human reach.
The exceptional world that Aggie Zed creates is operatic on a miniature scale. Her little characters may be human or animal, or some combination of the two, but they share the same tenderness, cautions, pains and paranoias as they confront the terms of life; fragile beings just trying to make it through. There is always, always Zed's wit and compassion baked into their deeply expressive porcelain faces.
The "Scrap Floats", Zed's larger mixed media constructions, give physical form to the covert psychological machinations it can often require to overcome and progress. In confronting her work, one is always torn between chuckling at one's own follies and trials, and feeling a guilty sense of bad manners for wanting to do so. Because, for certain, these characters know what we are thinking.
Using the latest technological imaging tools along with his deep background in graphic design and photographic illustration, the work of John Grant captivates the viewer and brings new attention to the beauty that lies within our daily reach. From the cover of Stephenie Meyer’s New Moon to the gallery walls at Kew Gardens, London, where he recently placed in two categories of the International Garden Photographer of the Year competition, Grant's work is found in many major collections, including The United States National Institute of Health, The United States Federal Reserve Board, the permanent collection of Capital One, and many other private collections.
Tanja Softic employs printmaking, drawing, photography, painting and poetic text to explore questions of cultural belonging, hybridity, and memory. A transplanted native of Sarajevo, Softic is compelled to explore these subjects in a continuing story of place and being, using the visual language of the organic world. In this particular series of work she also considers how electronic surveillance is slowly insinuating itself into our body of culture, becoming in a sense another organism.
In her work the the paper functions as a traditional "substrate that civilizations are recorded upon, the last bastion of tactility in our world of virtual images." The marks made upon the paper are recordings and metaphors that endeavor to anchor, recall and clarify events that are difficult to resolve or rectify. By softly floating her imagery in its field she speaks to the conditions of change and evanescence she has personally observed in her life. Tanja Softic lives in Richmond Virginia, and teaches at the University of Richmond.
My interest and focus is in making art spontaneously, but with the conscious objective of self understanding and growth. Through the painting process I look to transform outward sensations and conditions into individual language, to borrow content from those forces, abstract their hidden powers and simply turn them into expressive discovery and play.
Rick received his formal art training in New York at the National Academy of Design, the New York Academy (now known as the Graduate School for Figurative Art), and the Art Students League. He studied painting and drawing with a number of notable art instructors, including Robert Beverly Hale (anatomy), Ted Seth Jacobs (painting), Ron Sherr (painting), and Harvey Dinnerstein (painting). Subsequently he earned his Master of Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, where he was influenced by the sculptor Billy Lee.
Rick has shown his work in a number of venues nationally, including galleries in Chicago, Washington DC, and New York. He has received recognition for both his sculpture and painting. Recent awards have included grants from the Vogelstein Foundation (2009), Finalist in the Peer Gynt Konkurransen (2007), Outwin Boochever Portrait Finalist (2006), Bader Fund (2005), the George Sugarman Foundation (2005) and a fellowship from the Virginia Commission for the Arts (2005).
The artist lives in Charlottesville with his family. He teaches privately in his River Road studio and at Piedmont Virginia Community College. He also gives workshops through the Art League in Alexandria, VA, and Beverly Street Studios in Staunton, VA.
For nearly four decades Robert Strini has exhibited his work across the country in dozens of solo and group shows. His sculpture has been included in a number of corporate and museum collections including the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Initially studying ceramics with Peter Voulkos and James Melchert, Strini received his MFA in sculpture at U.C. Berkeley. In 1971 he was awarded a two-year Rome Prize, and subsequently two NEA grants. Robert Strini's teaching career includes stints at Rhode Island School of Design, U.C. Santa Cruz, and the Corcoran Museum School in Washington D.C.
Jim Henry's paintings are usually essentially inscrutable. That is the proposition. Whether as large scale paintings, or more intimate works on paper that pose as prints, the formal structure, the oxygenated atmosphere and the richness of surface generally hold supremacy over any particulars of subject matter. Still something is usually fathomable in the gathering and evaporating fumes of the scenes Henry offers. It's really left to the viewer to make decisions about what they can make of them. In the midst of the riddle of each work - and Henry usually provides the name of a thing within - is that single floating object to set our compasses by.
Tumble , Acrylic on canvas
Tumble , Acrylic on canvas, 48" x 48", 2017 $4200.
Mist Figure #1 , Acrylic on canvas
Mist Figure #1 , Acrylic on canvas, 40" x 40", 2017 $3800.
J.M. Henry, Mirage
Acrylic washes on canvas, 40" x 40";, 2017, $3800.
J.M. Henry, Silver Beacon
Silver Beacon , Acrylic on canvas, 24" x 30", 2016-17 $1850.
J.M. Henry, Rhythm XI
J.M. Henry, Dark Landscape
Nina Ozbey's work is about spontaneity, about opening herself up to the unexpected. In this ongoing series of non-objective paintings, she relinquishes subject matter to explore composition, color and line, blending elements of design with intuition. The process of putting paint onto canvas or paper, and the choices that unfold as each work builds and evolves are Ozbey's main interest. As Ozbey explains, Working off the first brushstroke, which often that dictates the rest of the work, I take pleasure in making marks, observing how each stroke relates to and energizes the next. The paintings are records of my brushes’ actions, webs of gestures that I hope embrace something raw and unseen.Ozbey's paintings tend to reveal the season they were painted in as the ambient light and surroundings slip into and influence the consciousness of her work.
Nina Ozbey began her studies at Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK, later receiving her Masters of Education at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville. She has taught art throughout her career, while studying independently to advance her own artistic direction and skills. Ozbey is a fellow at the VCCA and has participated in art residencies at Hambige in Georgia as well. Her work has been curated into numerous exhibitions nationwide, and is included in the Emily Couric Cancer Center, University of Virginia Hospital, and Martha Jefferson Hospital collections in Charlottesville, Va., as well as private collections in Florida, New York, North Carolina, Texas, and Virginia, as well as England and Turkey.
Sara Conca, is a contemporary abstract artist of Native American and French- Italian descent. She has sold her works to many collectors in Europe, Asia, and the United States. Her paintings can be found in private chateaus and hotel lobbies in France, as well as in many exclusive celebrity homes and museums.
By the age of 17, Sara was living and working in Paris. A life changing experience that reinforced her need for movement, energy and art. While in Paris, Sara studied sculpture at Ateliers D’Art De St Maur Des Fosses, and further continued her education in South Florida as an assistant of the critically lauded artist Purvis Young.
Sara Conca has spent her last 18 years in Manhattan, Living solely off her painting sales, Extensive international travels, and the influence of New York City has given her an insightful appreciation for her ever- changing environments and settings, as well as heavily influencing her.
Sara Conca has returned to her roots in Florida, which has inspired her to create a fresh new aquatic mystical series involving natural mixed media such as raw silver dust and 18k gold leafing, raw pigments colors, mica flakes and natural crystals.
“My work is intended to instantaneously immerse the viewer into the visual and emotional energies that I have devoted to each piece. Depending on one's ability and willingness to be guided by the senses, these paintings can lead one away from the mind and into an alternate and self-made reality filled with color and feeling. My new series features gold. I love working with this color because it changes in the light and I can manipulate the textures and layering; thus affording each piece movement and energy from the reflecting and refracting light.” ~ Sara Conca
Mixed Media on canvas, 32" x 42"
Mixed Media on canvas, 48" x 48"
Imperial Garden 2
48" x 60", Mixed Media on panel
Mixed Media, 56" x 76"
Mixed Media, 56" x 76"
52" x 76"
Gulf of Honduras - Belice Diptych 1
Each panel is 33.5" x 51"
Gulf of Honduras - Belice Diptych 2
Mixed Media 33.5" x 51"
Sara Conca, Thunder Sprite
Thunder Sprite, Mixed Media on canvas, 32" x 52"
Leigh Anne Chambers
Leigh Anne Chambers' work considers how society determines what is tasteful, engaging domestic/building materials to challenge traditional notions of art.
Altering familiar items like vinyl flooring and carpeting she exploits these mundane materials, re-purposing them and reconsidering them as a source of inspiration and backdrop to her environments. The result is a dynamic eruption of fluid planes as Chambers continually reinvents the forming of the planet.
My work is inspired by sacred geometry, which is thought to convey sacred and universal truths by reflecting the fractal interconnections of the natural world. By reiterating these patterns and ratios, my work unlocks the language of abstraction through the collective recognition of geometric perfection that is evident in ethnic patterns all around the world. This commonality creates connections. As such, my work is a perfect conduit for cross-cultural conversations that embrace and celebrate diversity.
Lara Call Gastinger
Lara Call Gastinger is a botanical artist and illustrator in Charlottesville, Virginia. She was the chief illustrator for the Flora of Virginia Project after she received her master’s degree from Virginia Tech in Plant Ecology. She was awarded a gold medal at the Royal Horticultural Society garden show in London and her work has been in numerous ASBA traveling exhibits and catalogs. Her painting was accepted into the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation and she is widely followed on Instagram where she shares her nature journals and painting processes.
Fax Ayres' photographs merge a somewhat 17th Century Dutch manner of conveying an image, with his own distinctly contemporary twist.
In the Netherlands at that time, Vanitas painting was a highly fashionable way to insinuate the cautionary if dramatic idea of mortality underlying beauty, pleasure, temptation or hubris.
Ayres' photographs capture some of those qualities of hazard, fragility, impermanence and even romance, but generally with Ayres' sense of ironic humor and playfulness. The scenes are The scenes are lit in a cinematic Old Master style and acted out through object placement to effectively anthropomorphize his players acted out through object placement to effectively anthropomorphize his players. Purloined from the kitchen counter, pulled out of a toy bin, or concocted from various fragments of convenient hardware, Ayres' subjects quietly misbehave in his arrangements, having a lot more to propose than their still-ness might suggest.