Pathway to Abstraction features notable artists who utilize abstraction as their creative expression. Viewers will experience technical mastery in the forms of intimate, sensual abstractions as well as dynamic environments of pure, brilliant color. From pure abstraction to compositions subtly hinting at recognizable reality, the artworks in this show demonstrate the wide-ranging practices of abstract artists across the globe.
The drawings and paintings of Christine Brunelle are intimate and sensual, capturing people and their essence. Brunelle is inspired by individuals and their stories, intrigued by the challenge of turning a three-dimensional figure into a two-dimensional picture. She extracts her subjects' fundamental qualities and reinterprets them through art. Her preferred medium is charcoal, which gives her portraits a seductive quality; but she is not afraid of experimentation and has worked with everything from oils to spray paints to welding and latex. Whatever medium she works in, Brunelle sets her canvas or paper on the floor and circles it, working as she goes. She hopes that her work will inspire people to follow their own artistic inclinations and help underscore how vital and relevant fine art still is in the modern world.
Born in Massachusetts, Christine Brunelle describes her greatest influences as her generation and the artists she admires, like Marci Gintis and Liz Solomon. From her charcoal portraits to her colorful abstract paintings, all of her pieces contain an emotional intimacy and technical mastery that makes them unique.
Artist Virgil Carrillo makes use of cake icing tools and silicone wedges, in conjunction with the usual paintbrush, to craft his abstract acrylic paintings. These tools allow Carrillo to layer his thicker paints, creating additional volumes that are skillfully manipulated to create stronger art statements. The resulting dynamic image that draws on what Carrillo terms “colored lyricism” is achieved through the amalgamation of controlled gesture, geometry, pattern, and bold color choices.
Carrillo’s broad brushstrokes, inspired in part by the magnified paints of Roy Lichtenstein’s Brushstrokes series, are arranged in hypnotic patterns that lure viewers in. According to Carrillo, the colors and shapes are the subjects of his works, composed to one cohesive image, painted purely for aesthetic reasons. His goal is to create universally appealing art, avoiding any socio-political commentary, focusing instead on his own colorful, captivating self-expression, with which he hopes to bring a sense of happiness and life affirmation to his audience.
Born in the Philippines, he currently lives and works in Bergen County, New Jersey. He is a veterinarian, business owner and an avid art collector.
Artist CUFU attacks each painting with wide, sweeping strokes, employing brushes, spatulas, and her own hands to create large, abstract paintings. Each piece begins with a predetermined color palette, from which the artist never deviates. After this first session, CUFU lets the painting sit, returning days later to discover what is missing. Once finished, the colors invariably smash into each other, corralled by choppy brushstrokes that texturize each piece with tangible energy. The result is a rapturous clash of colors that harmonize despite their best intentions.
CUFU’s art is inspired by the likes of Fontana, Mondrian, Kandinsky, and Gerhard Richter: abstract painters who valued emotive work over traditional, representational styles. She believes that we carry colors within ourselves, and that our emotional experiences are catalogued within us and can be shared. This is the raw data, and it is the viewers who are tasked with discovering the points of contact with their own lives. Memories are private, intensely personal things, but our emotions, which we attach to these events, are universal. Ultimately, CUFU is able to communicate in a language that is felt rather than heard.
“When I am creating art,” Kristina Garon says, “it just comes to me naturally.” That feeling of naturalness and spontaneity is at the heart of what gives her paintings their appeal. “I can’t wait to see what comes to my canvas,” she adds, and that journey of discovery is something viewers also make while taking in her work. In what initially appear to be abstract swirls and patterns, faces and objects emerge, adding an element of human drama to the juxtapositions of colors and lines. That mix of worlds and tones gives her works energy and movement.
Working in acrylics, Garon capitalizes on the textures they provide and their intense colors. The paints in her works often have a liquid quality, sometimes seeming as if they were poured onto the canvas, at other times showing the power of the creative hand in the brushstrokes with which they are applied. When combined with her shimmering colors, the resulting surfaces pulse with life, reflecting the artist’s positive intent. “With my paintings,” says Garon, “I hope to create more positive energy and joy.”
The abstract work of California-based artist Andrew Glass balances color and pattern with a desire to “invent history.” Many of his pieces are created by sawing apart and rearranging painted panels. The final product synthesizes organic and inorganic shapes with measured lines of pigment, composing a unique history to be excavated by the viewer. Inspired by grammatologist Jacques Derrida, Glass breaks apart the language of his paintings, reducing the works to the lowest denominator to explore their meaning. In his process he uses several power tools, deconstructing not just his paintings but art history itself.
Andrew Glass draws his inspiration from both natural and man-made elements: from the jagged rocks of the desert landscape to the geometry of a city street. Glass was born in Michigan and now lives and works in Malibu, California.
Distilled from the soul of nature, Irina Gorbman's abstract works infuse their space with a meditative and deeply healing sensation, as the quiet peace and unseen essence of the natural world is made visible in the luminous color and rippling motion of her marks. An appreciation for beauty fills Gorbman's art with an aesthetic of harmonious vitality, as her organically atmospheric paintings come alive with an energetic tranquility. The artist creates her original works in oil paints on canvas within a large square format, allowing her compositions a balanced space to develop their full impact. Gorbman's art is also reproduced in various mediums and methods for use in interior design.
Originally trained as a mechanical engineer in Russia, Irina Gorbman discovered her passion for fine art when circumstances aligned and she became an art dealer in the United States working with high-ranking Russian artists. She later helped to establish an art school in the Seattle area and now lives in Dover, Massachusetts where she runs a boutique gallery, studio, and art salon from her home.
Hallveig Hansdottir paints as a reaction to the awesome climate of her native Faroe Islands. Multiple compositions reveal her use of drastically different color palettes, completing a portrait of the North Atlantic saturated with thick horizons and patterned skies. The weight of Hansdottir’s paint, encouraged by the blunt edge of a putty knife, portrays a society vulnerable to nature. Meanwhile, her fragile highlights reinforce the brief details caught by the human eye. Trusting the texture of oil and acrylic paints, Hansdottir presents a relentless yet beautiful expression of the Faroe Islands.
For strangers to the Faroese environment, Hansdottir’s brilliant colors provide the thrilling sense of untouched nature. The expansive perspectives of Hansdottir’s paintings invite the viewer to join her in the dramatic atmosphere. She works within the Nordic landscape, searching for instances of picturesque beauty. Forms of civilization appear throughout her paintings as if conjured from the ephemeral weather of the Faroe Islands. Embracing the fantastic light of her homeland, Hansdottir’s canvases render a life overwhelmed by the ambient environment.
Biddy Hodgkinson’s mixed media abstracts bring together physical reality and symbolic ideas. Hodgkinson is inspired by what she calls modern Britain’s “lack of a culture of death.” Through her work, she seeks to illuminate the stages of decay in life, particularly plants and molds. She applies acids and other destructive industrial substances to organic matter and observes each change with laser focus, bringing the viewer in so closely that it is impossible to look away. The work is a study of time and change, but also an unambiguous statement on the beauty that can be found in death. Hodgkinson’s pieces are richly textured by nature, displaying numerous layers of unpredictable colors that sometimes clash and sometimes build to a harmony. Though the artist has a plan and a purpose for each work, the canvases never feel orchestrated or false, but are made natural by her gentle touch.
Biddy Hodgkinson was born in rural Lincolnshire, England and studied art in London before moving back north. She is the current Artist in Residence at Lincoln Cathedral and the program’s first abstract artist.
The paintings of Ingegärd Hyllander are intricately, intriguingly layered. Despite the fact that her customary palette only includes four colors — blue, yellow, red and white — there is a stunning complexity and variance in the work that she produces. Inspired by the sea and the forests that surround the tiny Swedish town she lives in, Hyllander’s paintings seem to bend and twist, taking the viewer on a journey of discovery. The truly remarkable aspect of this is that most of the artist’s works are completely abstract. Somehow each piece engenders the sensation of going ‘through the looking glass,’ as if there is a completely different world on the other side that one can’t quite make out. The sense of quietude, nature, and playing with the visible versus the invisible, is a hallmark of Hyllander’s unique style.
A self-taught artist, Ingegärd Hyllander was a pharmacist for many years before turning to her childhood passion of art. She says that she hopes her work will spark her viewers’ imaginations and inspire feelings of happiness and joy.
Japanese artist Kenji Inoue produces stunning works that combine a surrealistic vision with a decidedly figurative bent. His compositions are ambitious and otherworldly, seamlessly blending elements of color, line, and form in new ways to create fantastical landscapes replete with emotive expression. Colors are at once bold and vibrant and yet simultaneously soft and beckoning, inviting the viewer to experience the gamut of the human emotional plane. Yet underneath it all, a strong sense of harmony and balance dominates the work.
As an artist, Inoue chooses not to analyze or explain his art but rather leaves the interpretation and understanding of each work to his audience. To him, within every piece lies a crucial movement just waiting to be discovered. As Inoue explains, “My art has no meaning, no answer... [It is] something that can only be felt, not explained.” Indeed, left unexamined, the layers of meaning found within each piece become personal to the viewer, opening up new windows and visions into the self.
Artist Elena Kozhevnikova describes the theme of her work as, “canvas, paint and… cosmos.” Deeply inspired by the area around her hometown of Rostov-on-Don, Kozhevnikova's paintings are about freedom and rebellion: the freedom of wide open spaces and celebrating cultural differences with an open mind. From the bold reds and yellows balanced by her graphic use of black and white, to the cog-like layers of circles and lines drawn onto the surface of her canvas, it is clear that Kozhevnikova is inextricably influenced by her native culture of the Russian Caucasus. According to family legend, Kozhevnikova is a descendant of Genghis Khan.
When she paints, Kozhevnikova says her subconscious takes over. “The deepest corners of my soul open and burst out onto the canvas, making me experience the feelings and emotions that were caged deep inside.” She hopes that by enabling her subconscious to reveal itself through her art in this way, her work will touch the souls of her viewers.
As she explores the relationships between human nature and the natural world, and the delicate balances between peace and destruction, Korean artist JungHee Lee-Marles reveals a personal journey in paint. Dualities emerge within abstraction as Lee-Marles divides contrasting layers of texture and calm in a poignant expression of the experiences of her life. She builds her works in acrylic and mixed media collage with a mark that moves between loose and dripping paint and an ethereally airy use of color and space. Chaos and tranquility come together in the vivid physicality of the medium, as the artist exposes the inner emotional essence of her subjects in the dynamic movement of her pigments. Occasionally she incorporates elements of text and skillful realism in her abstract paintings, powerfully infusing her art with a glimpse of reality.
Born in Korea and benefitting from an international education, JungHee Lee-Marles now lives and works in Ottawa, Canada where she is actively involved with numerous arts organizations. Her art has received global exposure and recognition through solo and group exhibitions, awards, grants, and publications.
Neil Leinwohl’s luscious acrylic and oil stick on canvas paintings conjure up a personal mythology of sorts. Leinwohl paints about memory, its winding corridors, buried folds and illuminated pathways toward existential learning. Working intuitively, he often uses stencils, photographs and clip art as a figurative basis for his work. Laid out in grids in some compositions and more abstracted and freeform in others, the paintings are rich with textural depth and multiple symbolic resonances. Calling his work an “autobiography of the subconscious,” Leinwohl adopts coded imagery to tell the truth of his past in cryptic, non-narrative parts of a larger matrix. Patches of bright patterning and repetition of key imagery enhance the whole. Actively engaged with his process, open to experimentation and mistakes, his works proceed fluidly, like nature, and seize you at unexpected moments.
Born in Brooklyn, New York artist Neil Leinwohl currently lives and works in Rockville Centre, NY. He studied at the School Of Visual Arts in New York City before enlisting to serve as a photographer in Vietnam.
The worlds of rock music, comic strips, and graphic art come together in Brice Poircuitte’s bold, provocative paintings. “It is important to me that each painting exudes emotion,” he says, and in his work strong, vibrant colors and unexpected, surreal arrangements of people and objects combine to create a psychedelic world that delivers a powerful emotional punch. In many of Poircuitte’s acrylic paintings (which often incorporate ballpoint pens and other media) intense colors emerge from black backgrounds, giving them a brooding darkness that channels and focuses their energy. Cartoonish figures are contained in an atmosphere that turns their whimsical nature into something far more intense and challenging.
A musician himself, the artist has designed album covers and visuals for performers, including the legendary alternative rock band Fishbone. Despite his success in this area, the artist feels that the larger format he now works in allows him to give the emotional content of his images a freer and fuller expression. Just like the music that inspires it, Poircuitte’s work crosses boundaries and defies traditional genres, taking many influences and reassembling them into a dynamic new vision.
The stunning mixed media work by Reymond Romero is multi-dimensional and fascinatingly kinetic. The artist builds each of his works out of overlapping and interlocking threads, creating rippling patterns of color and space that often appear to be moving. The geometric rhythms of each piece shift subtly and with a real weight, like tree branches rippling with the wind. Romero's multi-faceted works literally feature many faces, inviting the viewer to walk around and observe them from all angles. The colors that he chooses for what he calls his "linear chromatic sequences" are electric when combined: they throw highlights and cast shadows in an energizing way. Much of the work's perceived three-dimensionality is the result of optical illusion: the embedded patterns and extreme highs and lows make for artwork that holds the gaze with newer and newer complexities.
Romero was born in Mérida, Venezuela and currently lives in Caracas. He has exhibited all around the world, showing in over 80 exhibitions since 2002 across Asia, the United States, and South America.
Judy D. Shane
Judy D. Shane's multi-layered photography explores the making of the visual: why and how we see what we see. Her photographic composites of individually sculpted paint strokes are captured with a macro lens, allowing every groove and pearlescent gleam on the surface of the paint to be revealed. Her photography is as crisp and efficient as her paint is luxurious and tactile. She lays the paint in varying sizes and thicknesses, seeking a three-dimensional realism and compositional order on which to impose her queries of color, light, and emotion.
In photographing paint this way, Shane transforms what should be merely the building block of a picture into a fully realized image in its own right. She shows her audience the details that are never seen with the naked eye, and asks us to think beyond the conventional separation of photography and the traditional art of painting.
Shane lives and keeps a studio in Vancouver, Canada. Her work is informed by her fifteen years as a respected visual effects compositor for film and television.
The geometric abstract paintings of Czech artist Petra Skopalova can best be described as fresh and dynamic, adjectives one might not immediately associate with the genre. Channeling her lifelong love of descriptive geometry and drawing, Skopalova forms the complex, riveting patterns in her head before drawing them directly onto the canvas, without the assistance of computers or preparatory sketches. Once the skeleton is established, Skopalova goes back and paints in the colors, which add a powerful emotionality to her work. Skopalova describes her paintings as her own personal diary, with her head creating the geometry and her heart guiding her choice of color. In her precise patterns are the building blocks of our world: points of light, the movement of wind, the organic curves of plants, and the slate and glass of urban architecture.
An entirely self-taught painter, Skopalova worked as an investment banker before she decided to take up her brush and become an artist. She says she wants her paintings to provide a sense of relief, timelessness, and inner joy to her viewers.