Ellarslie Open 37/38 Virtual Exhibition

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Meet, Work, Play - Bennett Gewirtz
Meet, Work, Play - Bennett Gewirtz
Acrylic on Canvas40" x 30"$2500Artist's Statement:In the past my work was influenced by the time I spent in a part-time job in local Home Depots. As I walked around the store I saw colors, shapes, patterns, lighting and objects that came together to create what I called a “paintable moment.” I photographed these images and then used them as a tool to re-create these everyday retail objects as bold expressions of color and composition. My intent was not to portray an exact interpretation, but to create a sense of delight in having the viewer see the object(s) and the abstraction. In my art, I want to express something positive, artistically serious, and perhaps a little whimsical. Qualities that speak of me and to me. Sharing that with others is a privilege I aspire to, in the hope that people will see a little part of the ordinary world differently. But the pandemic challenged me to use my sense of imagery and style to highlight the unique circumstances of these times. Staying home forced me to look around my immediate surrounding for inspiration. “Work, Meet, Play” speaks for itself. It conveys a very relatable situation of these pandemic times. It was at a Zoom meeting that inspiration struck. The boxes supplied the graphic element I like. I tried to populate each box with a different person in a unique setting. The backgrounds in each square was very important in my selection process. They add the sense of energy that is a contrast to the stillness of the figure in the foreground. With the foreground figure I tried to convey the sense of how our lives has become quieter and more personally isolated. It seems what is happening in the world is now in front of us on a screen and not all around us.
Elegy for Black Lives Lost - Alice Sims-Gunzenhauser
Elegy for Black Lives Lost - Alice Sims-Gunzenhauser
Graphite, monoprints, oil pastel, acrylic paint22" x 24.5"$1000Artist's Statement:Made in response to the murders of George Floyd et al. I combined old work with newer pieces to make a memorial. The print that was cut up for the tulips was horizontal; I turned the right-side image to vertical to signify survival and continuance. Irregular contour reflects the scope of emotion.For a long time, my work focused on or relied on the use of line. Everyone makes lines. Handwriting is lines. There is space on either side of a line. If you draw an object with a contour line, what you’re doing is approximating the curves and inflections that describe the boundary between the object and the air around it. One of the reasons I’ve made so many images of flowers is that those boundaries are infinitely rich. I remain fascinated by another kind of boundary, too: the one between representation and calligraphic, gestural, directional marks that describe only the motion of my arm, the energy of the piece at that moment. As my work has loosened and headed more toward abstraction, line has metamorphosed into a more general focus on mark making. Intermittently, and more frequently over the last 5 years, I have striven to express concerns about the world we live in, public events and policy. This is hard for me; I’m not a figurative artist so I have to look for less direct imagery with which to comment on events that affect people. I see much of my work as inherently narrative even though it contains no verbal language—but it’s hard to know whether viewers will see that. In other works, I’ve loosened the boundary between verbal and visual imagery by incorporating text (and this has not been limited to work that I associate with external events). Recently, I have been working with old drawings and prints, everything from finished pieces to scraps: putting them together in layers or through juxtaposition, tearing or cutting to find new areas of focus, creating stillness and movement of various sorts. In those works, it is also the boundaries of time and of my own personal history that blur and intertwine, whatever the primary content of the piece may be.
Red Stars and Roses - Basia AndruskoHonorable Mention, Sculpture
Red Stars and Roses - Basia AndruskoHonorable Mention, Sculpture
Pysanka (Ukrainian Egg Art), Rhea Eggshell4" x 6" x 4"$265Artist's Statement:Pysanka writing is a vibrant folk art form with roots in the Ukrainian community going back 2,000 years. Pysanky are created by “writing” designs on a real eggshell with wax. The egg is then dipped in dye. The wax serves to “resist” the dye, protecting the color of the shell. This layering of wax and dyes is repeated until the design is completed, and then the wax is melted off, revealing the colorful design. I really enjoy recreating traditional designs, and modifying them in different variations and color schemes. I find inspiration for creating original non- traditional designs from elements all around me, and I enjoy teaching workshops to introduce others to this wonderful folk art. My Ukrainian / Lemko family immigrated to America when I was 7 years old. I began writing Pysanky as a young child, as part of our traditional Ukrainian Easter celebrations. We would write (decorate) eggs that were then blessed with other food in the Easter Basket. I enjoyed the cultural tradition, and the meditative process that creating Pysanky provided for me. In recent years, I found a renewed interest in the tradition / art, and began writing Pysanky year-round. I’ve learned new techniques and non-traditional approaches to the art (such as making jewelry and mosaics from the decorated eggshells). For me, writing Pysanky is much more than just a form of art or self-expression. It is my privilege and my responsibility to continue and share this ancient folk art. The best satisfaction is seeing the joy in the eyes of the people with whom I share my Pysanky, and knowing that I am passing on a tradition to future generations.
Stillness (from the Places in Silence Project) - Asya Dodina and Slava PolischukStephen Bruce Award for Achievement in Unique Media
Stillness (from the Places in Silence Project) - Asya Dodina and Slava PolischukStephen Bruce Award for Achievement in Unique Media
Acrylic/mixed media40" x 29.5"$1900Artists' Statement:The cataclysmic situation caused by the Covid-19 has created a new reality for a person. Society faces disastrous effects of unprecedent pandemic: losses of the human lives, loneliness, luck of personal interaction, anxiety, feeling hopeless, closures of businesses. Visiting our favorite places, we were struck by the scarce silence of the streets, abandoned buildings, gardens. We saw the familiar places from entirely different perspective - they were silent. Spacious grounds, the ocean coast, paths in the sand were without the usual addition - a man. Our ongoing project “Places of Silence” reflects our personal experience in this new reality. Another aspect of the project is depicting the sublime beauty of the nature surrounding us. We feel that looking at landscape bring a balance and hope and lead to the self-reflection, understanding oneself and one's responsibility to nature and other people. The project consists of ten large scale mixed media paintings on canvases and more then eighty works on paper. We have chosen paper as the integral material for the series. The origin of paper is directly related to nature. Its texture and brittleness reflect the amazing vitality and fragility of the nature. We applied black acrylic paint on the traditional oriental rice paper creating the palette of different hues and then attached small pieces of paper to the canvas the same way as if we would be using paint. Dense layers, lumps of liquid mass soaked in water, monochrome colors, an endless gradation from black to white allow us to create rich Earth like surface for our landscape works.
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