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.
J.M. Henry, Rhythm XI
J.M. Henry, Tropic
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.
Millicent Young was born in New York City in 1958 and attended Dalton School, Wesleyan University, and University of Virginia. Two years after receiving her MFA from James Madison University in 1997 she received a Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Professional Fellowship Award.
Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. Her work has been recognized by curators and directors from the Whitney Museum, the Guggenheim Museum, the International Sculpture Center, the Hirshhorn Museum, Grand Rapids Art Museum, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Merida, Mexico. Young’s work received a top award at the 2005 Biennale of Contemporary Art in Florence, Italy and in the 2009 biennale at Chianciano, Italy. She resides in Albemarle County, Virginia.
Chuxin Zhang specializes in Asian painting techniques with a contemporary slant, and technical approach. Of Chinese descent, she spent several years in S. Korea. She currently resides in Singapore. Chuxin practices a number of other art forms in addition to painting and calligraphy. She has studied under a master of Chinese painting, but does photography as well and has incorporated that medium into her newest work. Zhang also studied and performs traditional Chinese dance, and tea ceremony, she designs tattoo graphics, and is a poet and singer songwriter (sometimes composing under the pen name Caelyn). All of which inform her visual artistic direction.
Chuxin Zhang, Air & Water series
Chuxin Zhang, Seeing the Sea & A Simple Life
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.