The paintings and sculptures in The Kaleidoscope of the Mind display an incredible stability between observed and imagined qualities. The artists of this exhibition observe the fleeting qualities of light, substance, and emotion to create extraordinarily balanced and also enigmatic works. When viewed as a whole, the union of these productions radiates the immutable energy of existence.
Marie Åkerlund’s paintings offer photorealistic renderings of contemporary creative life leaning toward the mystical and the cosmic. Working across media, her works might be produced in acrylic, graphite, watercolor or colored pencil on canvas or paper. Inspired by music culture and social justice issues, these compositions often possess an air of the otherworldly, with references to ethereal beings and the music of the spheres folded therein. Typically working in grayscale with muted hints of impressionistic color, Åkerlund creates paintings brimming with emotionality and human instinct. Billowing streams of crystalline light, dark shadows, expressive visages and subtly anthropomorphic figuration speak to the mythological underpinnings of the work and the artist’s unique personal expression of faith through art. Also invested in realism and known for her portraits of musicians, Åkerlund calls these works "inspirational paintings," as evidenced in reoccurring motifs such as stylized angels and eyes which are characteristic of her oeuvre.
Marie Åkerlund was born in Sweden, where she still lives with her family and works professionally as an artist.
Inspired by calligraphy and life’s radiant emotional energies, the works of Turkish abstract expressionist Feride Binicioglu employ contrasting, chaotic and dynamic structures. “My paintings are a second language… a journey to spirituality… the energy I get from colors,” notes the artist. Binicioglu fully exploits sharply delineated forms and stark colors to explore such themes as self-contradiction, the spiritual impact of one’s life’s experiences, the thin line between life and death, and the integrity of coincidences. Each work radiates life’s primal energy.
As in life, Binicioglu unites coincidence and intentional appearance in these works, using circles to express creative power and diagonals to convey life’s inescapable mortality. Each piece is strident, evocative, and subliminal in its search for universal truths. Vibrant colors reveal the artist’s sense of awareness of life’s physicality and its connection with emotions. The movement and brushstrokes manifest the very dynamism of existence. Colors and forms are juxtaposed, mimicking life’s harmony and chaotic unpredictability. Each work is carefully structured to draw us into the rhythm of Feride Binicioglu’s creative spontaneity.
There is an impressive amount of versatility in the works of Edelweiss Calcagno. Employing a range of media that runs from gouache to pastels to lithography and sculptures, she expresses a powerful vision that comes through in a surprising variety of ways. With a bold sense of line, color and movement, her images incorporate elements of realism, Cubism and Expressionism and abstract art. But her vibrant pieces transform those styles through their dynamic compositions and the mixture of what Edelweiss Calcagno calls “total freedom” with a highly disciplined technique. “My art is not simple,” she says. Rather, it is the result of a meticulous process in which she builds each piece up layer by layer to produce a “labyrinth of colors and materials.”
Inspired by her faith in Jesus and a desire to expose “the injustice that I see,” her images convey a passion for life that unifies the influences that come to play in them. Whether expressing abstract concepts or rendering lifelike human figures, she gives each image a sense of space, light and physicality that pulls viewers in, and then subtly rewards their attention.
Eli Cantini’s striking abstract acrylics are both graphic and organic. Cantini covers her canvases with intricate, layered textures that only sometimes resolve themselves into a recognizable depiction of space, with foreground and background and even half-visible figures. These works show imagined landscapes where empty space roils with action as much as do people and objects. Just as often, the texture in its infinite variability and unpredictability is the painting. The artworks either are monochrome or revolve around a palette carefully chosen for its emotional resonance – browns, yellows, and reds bleeding in and out with surprising softness, denoting shades of loss and wonder. There are countless brushstrokes, angular and taut. In a different artist’s hands, the grid-like motif and murky depths might result in an emotionally removed painting. But Cantini creates a world of change, intrigue, and palpable human feeling.
Eli Cantini was born in Mendoza, Argentina, just next to the Andes mountain range. She has exhibited throughout her home country as well as in Spain. She also works in watercolor and graphic design.
For American artist CORDERO, the process of creating art is an instinctive one. Combining surrealistic aspects with realistic tendencies, CORDERO creates figurative portraits that are as elegant as they are compelling. Each painting features an elongated face with large, expressive eyes and a strong emphasis on elements of light and shadow. Loose, dramatic brushstrokes of color lend texture and depth to each image and create a strong sense of emotive expression.
Within her work, CORDERO seeks to capture the essence of the human spirit within her larger than life faces. Thus, the hallmarks of her portraits are the soulful eyes and expressive facial expressions of her subjects, which invite the viewer to look closer and behold the true beauty hidden within the larger image – perhaps even enabling them to forge an emotional connection. Through her contemporary portraits the artist is able to explore the deeper truths contained in our humanity and the meaning behind the three-dimensional mask that is human existence. As CORDERO explains, “My paintings are intuitively and psychologically stylized expressions of my soul.”
As she celebrates the creative spirit, Marie Delabos creates art that vibrates with an energetic and atmospheric vitality, infusing her surfaces with layers of depth and detail and revealing a joyful simplicity within the color storm. A sense of freedom fills these abstractions, immersing viewers in the sheer richness of the paintings and sculptural works just as they are, without the pressures of formal categorization. Delabos’ “Bidules” series of sculptural paintings are presented “à-plat,” contrasting slickly vibrant hues and dynamic organic curves with the intriguingly varied natural forms of the tree trunks they are cut from. Working intuitively, the artist paints in acrylic on canvas or wood, occasionally incorporating elements of tissue paper and gold leaf as she playfully experiments with color and materials.
A novelist and avid photographer as well as an accomplished artist, Marie Delabos was born in Normandy, France and studied arts at the University of Picardie and clothing design at the National School of Decorative Arts in Paris. She later left Paris to begin a new life and artistic direction in a small village in the south of France.
The paintings of Argentinian artist Valeria Guarnieri are explosions of bright, cheerful color and expressive line. By mixing watercolors, oils and acrylic paints, Guarnieri creates unique pieces that utilize the best of each medium’s characteristics and offer a “lush, enlightening finish.”
A native of Mendoza, Guarnieri is deeply inspired by terrain. Her paintings are reflections of place and atmosphere and all that goes into it: sun, soil, population, traffic, mountains, architecture and storms. She cites the warm, sunny climate of Mendoza for her choice of favored pigments: carmine, orange, golden yellow, burnt sienna, turquoise and raw amber. Instead of interpreting her landscapes literally, Guarnieri's paintings of cities and nature are abstracted and energetic reflections of her experiences in different locations. She has a talent for capturing and conveying the emotions of a city or environment on canvas. The artist says that she wants her paintings to provoke excitement, fun, motivation and revolution in her audience, and she hopes to expand and enhance the lines of communication between people through her expressive use of pigments. Her work as a Graphic Designer has made her sensitive to the impact of hue and line, and able to adapt all ideas to the most appropriate format, just as she has in the past adapted paintings to adorn wine labels.
The work of American artist Sandra Mueller-Dick spans artistic styles from the figurative to the abstract. In her process of creation, Mueller-Dick starts with something representational and then allows it to evolve, often into a more abstract rendering. Whether representational or not, each image has a dreamlike quality to it, full of symbolism and replete with deeper meanings and significance. Colors and forms merge and contrast in rhythmic patterns, evoking a strong expressive quality within the work that naturally invites an emotive response from the viewer.
An important characteristic of Mueller-Dick’s work is her exploration of mood, which she achieves both through configurations of line and shape, and in the particular way these forms are integrated with color. Her compositions are meant to speak directly to her audience and be reflective of their own inner life. As Mueller-Dick explains, “My goal is always both to portray and evoke emotion, encouraging viewers to interpret what they see for themselves and experience their own emotional response.” In this way, the artist intends her art to help viewers to better know themselves and stay in touch with who they are.
The paintings of Marina Olmi explore the human body through the prism of the elements: water, air, fire and earth. By flattening out the human figure, Olmi is able to transform it into an abstract pattern of limbs and colors, twisting bodies around and breaking them apart so that her subjects take on a surreal, almost alien, aspect. The artist is influenced by photography and film, something that is clearly evident in the way she plays with visual distortion and optical effects. Yet Olmi’s work is more than a pastiche of visual puns: there is an underlying sense of emotional resonance to each piece, perhaps reflecting the painter’s own state of mind.
Known for employing bright colors and humor in her work, Marina Olmi is originally from Argentina and has also worked as a rock musician, actress and performer. Her painting style is a unique blend of punk aesthetic, classical art knowledge, bold composition and an underlying spirituality. She says her work is a constant exploration of different forms of expression, with the goal of “healing through art and humor.”
The fanciful and expressionistic paintings and drawings of UK artist Stanley Peach focus both on landscape and on various aspects of the human form, including abstract figures, portraiture, and social studies. Working mainly in oil and charcoal, Peach combines subdued colors and soft lines with compelling compositions to create images that speak to particular moments in time and to the depth of emotion that underlies all human existence. At the heart of Peach’s work is a keen eye for detail and a fascination with people, relationships and modern social issues. As he explains, his art explores “the way they look, the stories that at a glance can tell, the shape and form of the body, the abstract nature of shadows over the undefined muscles.” For Peach, the human form is so much more than a figurative rendering. It represents childhood memories, emotions, and inspired and past events.
Stanley Peach currently lives and works in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, England.
R. Keith Rendall
“Images conceived and realized in intaglio and relief can be graced with truth,” says contemporary American artist R. Keith Rendall, whose large-scale woodcut prints on paper explore the elements and nature in unusual but moving form. With birds, especially waterfowl, as a reoccurring motif, Rendall’s works offer a mysterious entry point into the ancient rhythms of humanity. Rendered in stark relief with generous contrasts of light and dark, his semi-narrative works on paper offer a point of view and a point of departure. In Rendall’s latest series “The Aged and Unknown,” we see detailed renderings of birds and other mammals nestled in their natural habitats like majestic totems. Adopting the rich language of sign, myth and metaphor to explore our human relationship to animals both high and low, his intricately rendered woodcuts simply glimmer with the resilience of ancient mother tongues.
R. Keith Rendall was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey and currently lives and works on an old dairy farm in Wiscasset, Maine. He studied at Fairleigh Dickinson University and obtained a BFA from Kenyon College.
Irish artist Fintan Ryan paints vivid renderings of his favorite subject matter - aspects of nature such as trees, grass, flowers, dogs, stones, fields, leaves, apples and wood - in oil and acrylic on canvas or board. Some works read as semi-figurative landscapes, others as contemporary still lifes leaning toward the surreal, abstract and impressionistic in places. Faithful from an observational perspective, Fintan’s paintings fuse the imagery of daily life in Ireland with the sensation and emotionality of powerful human expression. Always left unframed and rendered in bold, bright hues and his signature basic black, Fintan’s paintings show time unfolding in slow, sweet measures. Textures, highlights and painterly sentiments rise to the surface of these carefully rendered classic works showing the influence of great American Abstract Expressionists like de Kooning, Kline, Rothko, Pollock and Rauschenberg.
Fintan Ryan was born in Enniscorthy, Ireland and his ancestors were all Irish, as far back as he can trace. In addition to being an artist he works part time in a small furniture warehouse just outside Enniscorthy.
The soft and modest colors of New York artist Sarah Webb maintain the fluidity of such material as light, water, and drapery. The reflections that Webb depicts in her seascapes are something of a fantasy, giving the velvety impression of pastels while sustaining the luminescent power of oil painting. “So often we overlook the details in life,” says the artist, “My artwork is a celebration of these details… and the simple beauty in things we take for granted every day.”
Webb graduated from the New York School of Interior Design, and as a former interior designer, she paints the minuscule, decorative detail of hand-crafted objects. The artist preserves many techniques from this profession, occasionally conducting several studies of a single subject from multiple viewpoints, then framing triptychs within a deep border to emphasize the minutiae of her material. “Whether a lone boat, a carved corbel, a birdcage, or a curtain tied back… all of my paintings are singular in concept, which emphasizes that they are seen by one individual, at that very moment.”
Janet Wilson’s tranquil oil paintings offer a kind of subtly emotional realism, with scenes of stillness charged by the richness of their visuals. Wilson paints misty river banks and deep orange sunsets at mid-distance. She reveres the land and desires to share its beauty, but never pulls back far enough to make the environment seem remote. Her abstracts are equally personal: warm colors, brushstrokes energetic but not showy, and simple compositions that allow the viewer to be drawn in. Though Wilson’s subject matter varies considerably across landscape, close studies, and non-representational graphics, she always incorporates organic forms in the work. Within her landscapes she gravitates towards visions of water: streams, marshlands, the ocean’s edge. When manmade structures appear, it is usually to give a sense of scale to the natural splendors around it. There are no people to be seen in any of Wilson’s work.
Janet Wilson was born in Washington State, and continues today to live in Seattle. She counts her many years boating on Puget Sound as a major influence on her work.