The work in Sensorial Realms takes the viewer on a journey among tranquil indoor and outdoor scenes and emotion-laden figurative portraits. Whether with photography or paint, the artists in the exhibition prove their mastery over color and form by elevating their subjects from just visual to immersive, sensational experiences.
In Susanne Bondrop’s paintings, landscapes — from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean — are brought to life. Her vibrant works exude sunshine, air and space, giving each a physical immediacy that plays off beautifully against the abstract elements of the artist’s approach. Whether she is painting in acrylics on canvas or working in pastels on paper, Bondrop employs her sharp eye for line, composition and color to create images that combine her unique sense of perspective and form with a charming spontaneity.
“Intuition leads my brushes,” she says, and that can clearly be seen in her paintings. Perhaps that instinct and freedom are most evident in her approach to texture. Constructing her images from layers of brushstrokes or boldly drawn swathes of pastels, she gives the surface of each image a powerful energy. That force is magnified by her expressive color palette, in which the balance of bright and muted tones creates a dynamic rhythm and vivid sense of space. The resulting images conjure up a world that feels utterly believable and real, while remaining part of the artist’s inner, personal vision.
Nancy Burch Brassington
Nancy Burch Brassington’s domestic still lifes and rural environments capture scenes from a distinctly American community. Landscapes of quaint towns, absent of bold shadows, do not mask a melancholic tone. Homes are crowded on the canvas, as they appear to fight for territory. When Brassington enters her indoor scenes, she always arrives only to find the traces of a recent event. Food, clothing, and newspapers are unattended, and the viewer wonders where the subjects have gone. These studies of domesticity are decorated with eclectic objects that reference traditional roles of women in the home: baking, cleaning, and entertaining.
The cultural relics in Brassington’s work articulate a bygone spirit of wealth in post-war America. Her horizons are dominated with commercial real estate. The viewer is charmed by the pastel shades of tablecloths and tract homes, tempted to remain ignorant of the deeper social conflict that might lie behind each scene. Ultimately, Brassington’s touch of oil paint finds a beauty in the manmade world of rural Pennsylvania. The pastoral grace of her paintings arrives through the bittersweet harmony of America’s countryside and its violent history.
Asta Caplan hovers with ease in the middle ground between drawing, painting and photography. Interested in the most delicate, intimate and immaterial of subjects, her work is ultimately about perception, the pleasure we take in looking and the profundity of visible beauty. Having grown up in a household where both parents were artists, her earliest works are nestled in the pages of her mother’s diary with her mother’s written explanations next to them. Caplan is also a former professional dancer and yoga instructor, and the vernacular of flow and bodily awareness certainly shines through in her compositions. Although fluent in several languages, in her visual work Caplan courts nonverbal communication. Grounding her work in the slow and the durable, the grounded and the sacred, her work strives toward the fulfillment of the human search for ideal beauty.
Artist Asta Caplan was born in Tampere, Finland and studied printmaking and painting at the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts. Her work has been included in solo and group exhibitions in Japan and throughout Europe. She currently lives in Berlin, Germany.
Nadiejda Charova Tscheltzoff
Fascinated by the unconscious, French artist Nadiejda Charova Tscheltzoff describes her paintings as a “partnership” between herself and the canvas. For Tscheltzoff, painting provides a creative outlet, and the final products represent a manifestation of her inner world. She is inspired by mythology, fairy tales and dreams, and has been deeply influenced by her travels to Asia. Her landscapes suggest a spiritual vastness with their atmospheric and dream-like terrain. Working in oils, the artist makes subtle but expressive use of nature's richness: a single tree may be the focal point in one of her paintings, or several may be spread out across the expansive landscape of another. Her brushstrokes are sweeping, and her colors range from rich corals to muted, sleepy pastels.
Tscheltzoff currently lives and works in Geneva, Switzerland. She is training to be an art therapist for children.
James Chisholm’s lovely plein air paintings celebrate the landscape as a living, breathing thing. Working outside year-round in the northeast United States, Chisholm captures the delicate shifts in the woodlands. He concentrates on close and medium-distance views that showcase the play of light on a single brook or clump of trees. Nature is untamed but inviting in his pictures – the trees may sprawl, unruly, out of frame, but they never crowd, withdraw from, or loom over the audience. The view is always light and open, even though Chisholm rarely creates the traditional vista. The artist paints with a full palette, making for exuberant and intricate images. He focuses on light’s behavior as it dapples, glistens, or glows on different surfaces. His watercolors are airy and playful, while his oils are elegant, finished pieces that nevertheless retain a joyful energy. Textures of bark, wild grasses, and clouds are all finely rendered.
Chisholm lives in Salem, Massachusetts and exhibits regularly in the Greater Boston area. He is an accomplished professor and is attached to several learning institutions, teaching drawing, painting, design, and art history.
Tom Clark captures natural images both epic and small, from towering mountains to still-life florals. Through light, shape, and color, timeless and universal emotions evoked by nature are powerfully expressed in his work. Clark’s oil on canvas paintings employ vibrant pigments and rich, generous brush strokes that lend grace to great natural and architectural structures which could otherwise seem imposing. His large compositions inspire a sense of awe and distance, while sunset tones and still-lifes offer warmth and familiarity. This dynamic works to enhance both the natural and urban subject matter in Clark’s work.
Living and sketching near the Sierra Mountains and other areas of Northern California have greatly influenced Clark’s interest in the natural landscape. His inspirations include Italy, particularly Venice, and such artistic greats as Manet and Turner.
Tom Clark was born in Texas and currently resides in San Fransisco, and aspires to continue developing his eye in trying to create art with presence, life, and character.
COLP-ONE’s work is a true hybrid: authentic graffiti sensibility melded with the observational powers of contemporary realism. COLP-ONE immersed himself in the street art of cities around the world from a young age, and today works with the spray paint, grout, primer, brushes, and limitless canvas that belong to the streets. But he also immortalizes his unique pieces on panel. They have the hallmarks of graffiti – tags, anti-establishment slogans, portraits in dramatic monochrome. They also evince great care, compositional skill, and a polish that is rare in any kind of art. This kind of finish is particularly unusual in graffiti because there is simply not enough time to linger over an illegal act. But in bringing the form to the fine art world, COLP-ONE stands up for the potential and inherent ingenuity of street art. He invites the viewer to get to know the city intimately, and to allow its energy to feed the visuals.
Born Carlos Ovidio Lagos in the creative enclave of Rosario, Argentina, COLP-ONE has developed his art in several different countries, including Uruguay, Spain, and the United States.
British glass artist Dominic Fondé uses the process of drill engraving to explore the many narratives spun by both memory and emotional attachment surrounding the experiences of love, loss, trust, and forgiveness. These narratives are explored through image and also by the inscription of Fondé’s own original short stories and texts on glass surfaces. The engravings the artist creates are simple in scope yet stunningly beautiful. There is a haunting quality to the work, brought about by taut compositions, unexpected juxtapositions of images, and a strong dedication to detail. What results are works laden with meaning and unforgettable for those who encounter them. Above all, Fondé’s visual and textual stories aim to explore the emotional weight that objects have in our lives and how their sudden loss can be both dramatic and devastating. Fondé explains the significance of inanimate objects in our modern lives in simple but moving terms: “A glass can hold more than water and a vase more than flowers. They hold thoughts, feelings, and memories, too.”
Dominic Fondé currently lives and works in Kobe, Japan.
The eastern shore of Lake Superior comes to life in E. Halfpenny’s inspired watercolors. Well away from the populated areas of Ontario and the highways that connect them, Halfpenny searches through land “wild with nature” for a feeling to share with her viewers. This feeling of happiness, serenity, and self-realization is the direct product of a communion between the artist and nature itself, and Halfpenny captures this sensation and translates it beautifully into art.
Working from reference photos, Halfpenny starts with a light sketch, gradually working in her washes and blocking out color. The focal points of her pieces are further brought out by pen work, establishing a three dimensional plane. Halfpenny is more than capable of emulating other styles in her work, as one might find traces of Art Nouveau, Abstract Expressionism, or Impressionism. Yet, the paintings maintain their own identity and sense of control. As an admirer of Cézanne, Halfpenny uses her watercolors to honor his comment to Émile Bernard: “To achieve progress nature alone counts, and the eye is trained through contact with her.”
New York based artist Marcia Haufrecht captures the human spirit in oil paint. Haufrecht’s work, characterized by bold planes of solid colors and repeated contours of figures in motion, incorporates elements of Fauvism and Futurism as her figures interact with the world with motion and texture. In some pieces, elongated shadows extend from the bottom of the painting, projecting off-scene subjects, with the environment and perspective turned around on the viewer and painter. In other works, faces stare emotionally from bright, poignant portraits. Each image is a study in movement and mystery, but also maintains an intimacy with its subjects. Cozy painted spaces, like subway cars, allow Haufrecht to explore the unique personalities behind the city masses, creating a portrait of New York City as well as the individuals within it. Haufrecht makes a priority of developing a deeper connection to her subjects through her work.
A dancer and actor as well as a painter, Haufrecht believes that “all the arts are a means of communicating with the world at large.” Her paintings serve as an exploration of and connection to this complex world.
Inspired by the Golden Age painters and their humility in describing the details and substance of their subjects, Ulla Lundsgart is a modern Danish artist with a unique style and vision. Her beautifully rendered florals explore the relationship between the three-dimensional abstract and the concrete. “The relationship between that which we see and the reality that lies behind,” says Lundsgart. “Everything in nature is inspired and originates from… an underlying structure.” There is movement and grace in every work. Colors ebb and flow around each canvas, revealing a fresh spontaneity that seems serendipitous and random.
Intricate and delicate, Lundsgart’s flowers are painted as portraits, expressing both consciousness and sensuality. Each work eloquently conveys the dimensions, the extravagance, and the abundance of nature’s eternal desire to express itself and sublimate. Rich pastels and inspirational detailing underscore Lundsgart’s sensitivity and appreciation for nature’s endless diversity, its colorful bounty. There is passion and commitment in every brushstroke, allowing the artist to engage us, and to draw us into what we so often take for granted.
A wanderlust lifestyle and eclectic photographs of her travels serve as the source of inspiration for artist Samantha Malpass. Through striking contrasts and bold colors, she creates an intimacy with her subjects that reflects a free-spirited spontaneity. Her liquid, impressionistic style is deliberate yet borne out of the moment, absent planning or forethought. “From classical preliminary sketches to thick dripping layers, I drift in and out of consciousness, creating fluent, textured imperfections,” explains Malpass. Richly saturated hues and evocative forms capture the soul and style of each subject.
Malpass often works on several pieces at once, transferring working elements from canvas to canvas, building upon layers until each work moves and inspires. These hybrid techniques create works that are remarkably distinctive. They reveal her classical influences and a love of bold colors and free-flowing brushstrokes. Whether creating figurative pieces or landscapes, the works of Malpass are emotionally compelling, lush and evocative. She succeeds in connecting with viewers on levels both subconscious and subliminal, creating lasting impressions that demonstrate a striking talent.
Susan Marx’s wildly colorful paintings are joyous translations of image into hue. Marx paints the outside world, working en plein air, with her feet on the grass, with an emphasis on paring down visual elements to concentrate on “color, light, and energy” - subjects which entice and engage the viewer, drawing them into a fresh and beautiful world. Marx describes her style as Abstract Impressionism, combining “the light of the Impressionists, the brilliant color of the Fauves and the energy of the Abstract Expressionists” to create shapes out of quick, assertive paint-filled strokes. Colors are not blended and the brushstroke length varies widely; she paints spontaneously with energy and emotion. Marx draws in color, using fast drying acrylics so that she can quickly capture her reaction to her “radical amazement at the visual world.”
The paintings in this exhibition were painted en plein air in New Jersey, where Marx lives, and also during a painting trip to the Luberon area of Provence in July when lavender was in bloom. This was the most recent of her many trips to France to paint, a practice which started with summers painting in Monet's garden in Giverny. Marx has exhibited widely and her work is found in collections in the US and abroad.
Widely recognized for the realism of his portraits and his exemplary talents in informalism, the work of Spanish-born artist MENPO unites the skillful use of composition with a subtle, retrained use of color. One can immediately see the experience, integrity and quality in every portrait. His richly textured oil on canvas paintings reveal the character and soul of the individuals being portrayed. MENPO creates a sense of presence, a snapshot in time in the lives of each subject.
MENPO’s works are worldwide. In 2008 Her Majesty Sofia, Queen of Spain, said that the portrait MENPO had done of her and the King was amazing. The artist recently painted the walls of San Juan church in Tarragona, Spain, a grand piece — over 414 square meters — in which he interpreted the baptism through realism, portraits and informalism. “For me… it is crucial to pour all of my effort and energy into a piece when I am engaged in the creative process, and I think that this level of integrity gives a powerful substance and force to my work,” explains the artist. It is impossible to disagree.
As Lisa O'Brien explores nature through her camera, she reveals elegance in the everyday, gracefully unveiling the beauty in the backyard. Sunlight floods the photographs with a luminous warmth and vitality, revealing a purity of color and form in these images of flowers, leaves, and birds. Discovering a joyful serenity in details, O'Brien focuses her gaze on the wonder of a single bloom or the intricate patterning of foliage and light. A self-taught photographer, she takes a minimalistic approach to her medium, using few computer interventions but capturing the true beauty and sensation of her scenes. O'Brien prints her works on canvas on an intimate scale, drawing the viewer into the luscious richness of her visions.
Working professionally in a variety of genres, Lisa O'Brien has had her art featured in publications and exhibits throughout Florida in recent years. Also employed as an oncology nurse, she received a degree in Music Education from Hartt School of Music, and one in nursing from Eastern Florida State College, and will soon begin studying at the New York Institute of Photography.
Aernout Overbeeke’s immensely rich landscape photography seeks out hidden corners of faraway places. Overbeeke, who has traveled the world in pursuit of images, was drawn to an already remote area in Tanzania for this latest series. These photographs show intimate views: the grotto at the bottom of a waterfall, a few straggling cattle, or a sweeping tower of clouds. There are no people in sight, and even the background is often smoothed out to evoke an atmosphere of closeness. Tight compositions also add to this, although Overbeeke brilliantly captures depth and unusual perspective within the framing constraints. In their extraordinary black-and-white tonal quality and texture, the photographs project an overwhelming aura of otherworldliness. The viewer is allowed to enter these little pockets and experience the land intimately, not as a native, exactly, but as part of the landscape itself.
Aernout Overbeeke was born in Utrecht, Holland, grew up in the cities of Rotterdam and Amsterdam, and currently keeps a home studio in Burgundy, France. Other recent work includes a series of portraits featuring CoBrA artists.
Leeds-based English artist Laurence Pusey’s bright oil paintings epitomize the need to capture the complex, fleeting patterns of nature on canvas. His work demands attention, embracing a Fauvist appreciation of color to pull emotion from tranquility. His paintings create a delicate balance between pattern and depth, referencing his background in illustration with his attention to atmosphere and graphic swatches of color. Pusey responds to the intricacies of nature with an impulsive “I want to paint that” sentiment that manifests in an impactful, practiced approach to his vibrant images.
Laurence Pusey draws inspiration from the English landscape and his mission trips to Nigeria, Uganda, and Burma to gain “a fresh, creative and alternative impetus” from the pattern, light, and color of his surroundings. Pusey has exhibited his work since the early 1960’s, most recently at Headrow Gallery in Leeds and Bono Gallery in Otley.
Robert Paul Saphier
In Robert Paul Saphier’s images, a sense of formal composition and structure combines with the artist’s meticulous eye for color and texture to create a body of work that strikes a compelling balance between the spontaneous and the intentional. “To me,” he says, “a work of art should evoke a visceral response and yet also induce a state of calm and measured contemplation.” Starting from what he calls a “mathematical base,” Saphier gives each of his works a geometric solidity, a grounded presence that anchors even the most abstract image. But he also makes that exactitude and precision come alive, using a subtly modulated color palette to create a feeling of light and space that heightens the physicality of each work.
In many ways the distinctive colors in Saphier’s pieces come from his expert use of egg tempera, employing a process that requires patience and contemplation to best achieve its effects. The artist says he finds tempera to be the perfect vehicle for “clear articulation and tonal translucency,” and indeed those qualities are what give his work its unique aura.
Robert Paul Saphier passed away on June 5, 2014, having battled M.S. for over 40 years. The positive energy and dedication that characterized his life and his work mean that he is greatly missed by friends, family, and those who had the privilege to know him through his art.
In Lydia Stadler's multi-layered digital prints and collages, the artist utilizes the techniques and tools of photography to explore how color, texture, and composition communicate powerful ideas. By printing her works on paper and Dibond, Stadler gives each piece a clarity that makes its texture come fully to life, adding a level of realism to even the most surreal image. She also makes strong use of a bold color palette, wherein bright shades often provide just the right accents to enliven a composition.
Once she found that “pure photography” was not sufficiently getting her message across, Stadler devised a method that combines the medium with painting and collage. Her works conjure up an imaginary world that is based in the fragments of reality she captures with her camera. Those pieces are then arranged to form assemblages that reframe each element, letting the layers of each image combine to let through complex, subtle sentiments. The artist says that in life, a “changing vantage point” can change everything, and that power of transformation is strongly present in her art.
In STORDEUR’s work, distinctive approaches to color, texture, materials and composition all come into play in works that feel timeless yet thoroughly modern. Her paintings take elements from classical architecture and recast them in graphically powerful settings. The artist says that she paints on wood because she likes the “hard and smooth support” that it supplies to the gold leaf and acrylic paints she uses. That hardness and smoothness also find expression in the clear lines of her images, and in her precise sense of detail. When that quality is combined with the contrasting effects of the media she uses, the result is an almost surreal physicality that intriguingly mixes the rough and the smooth.
Her use of light and color is equally strong. Whether painting a night scene or an architectural detail, STORDEUR balances light and shadow in a way that gives each work a vivid feeling of space and air. “Drawing has always been a refuge in difficult times,” she notes, and her paintings offer a compelling and haunting refuge for the viewer as well.
Rich colors, varied textures and a dynamic sense of movement and space give Eugenia Tafolla’s oil paintings a vibrant physical presence and strong dramatic impact. The artist grew up on a ranch in Mexico, and she cites nature and her Mexican heritage among her inspirations. Tafolla brings those elements into sharp focus, partnering her carefully placed brushstrokes with a finely tuned color palette to capture the distinctive textures of buildings and clothing, and the hues of the skies, plants and earth in her images.
Having worked in many media - from batik to watercolors - Eugenia Tafolla knows how to get the most out of her materials. She makes particularly impressive use of the deep tones and the lushness that oil paints provide. From saturated reds to a range of subtle earth tones, her colors have a natural feel that lends each image weight to make even the most surreal, dream-like composition seem totally real. The artist says that the secret to her work lies in its combination of spontaneity and discipline, and her unique mixture of open-ended fantasy and precise realism are proof of that.