Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Origins of Earthly Voices

In conjunction with the Pocono Arts Council's upcoming juried art exhibition titled, “The Earth Speaks,” the recently established Origins Gallery held an Artists' Reception on Saturday March 28th for their exhibition titled, “A Voice For The Earth.” The gallery is located on the Main Street of Stroudsburg, PA and the work featured was those created by local artists. The reception also featured a simple yet delightful cuisine of extraordinary delights that were prepared and served by Fran O'Hagan, soul touching music performed by Michael G. Williams and Baba Keino Anderson Gavinpiper along with Derrick (Decatur ST.) Jenkins, and an excitement filled Art Raffle which offered those who attended the event an opportunity win a piece donated by a local artist. In addition to all this, the photographic work of David Plank was on display in a space adjacent to the main gallery for all who were fortunate enough to venture to it and experience his incredible non digital images.

I arrived to the event early and was treated to the excitement the gallery's director, Jody Singer, and Assistant Director, Ashley C. Fontones, shared as they lovingly prepared the gallery in anticipation of a wonderful evening filled with meaningful art and conversation. Many friends of the gallery came to help in the preparations. These individuals included Jeffrey Solt of Puff's Magic Shoppe www.facebook.com/puffsmagicshoppe?fref=ts, Bradley Bartholomew, Kevin Cormier of Flowing Energy Tai-Chi www.facebook.com/pages/Flowing-Energy-Tai-Chi/216868115041521, and Carlton Farnbaugh. I also helped by placing some fliers on the gallery's bulletin board and stapling exhibition's two price lists together. The later task I performed was completed with erroneous results. This took talent. I then had re stable them all over again to correct the mistake.

As the hour to begin the reception approached, the musicians and several of the artists who were part of the exhibit began trickling in. They were soon followed by more artists and art lovers until the gallery was eventually filled to near capacity. Conversations flowed throughout the room as the joy of experiencing the wide variety of interpretations of the ecological theme of the exhibit flavored the enchanting tone of the words and thoughts that were shared. It was during this time did Jody Singer and Ashley C. Fontones stand before the gathering to share their welcoming remarks which were filled with an appreciative love for those who were present as they then shared news of upcoming events and offerings of the gallery. It was after these sharings concluded did the conversations members of the gathering were engaged in resumed in a more energized manner due to the revelations given by Mr. Singer and Ms. Fontones.

This energized flow in the conversation was enhanced as Michael G. Williams on Flute and Saxophone, Baba Keino Anderson Gavinpiper on Percussion and Vocals, and Derrick (Decatur ST.) Jenkins on Bass took the modestly sized stage and began to gently play a number of jazz pieces that simultaneously brought relaxation and excitement to the souls and bodily forms of those whose minds were touched by the deftly performed syncopated stylings of the trio. The musicians were joined by members of the gathering throughout the evening to share in the delights of music making. They included Tom and Carolyn Burbage along with Vid Ryan of The Juggernaut String Band www.facebook.com/JuggernautStringBand?fref=ts whose manipulation of the tambourines and maracas they were given added to the song they accompanied a delightful texture. The musicians were also joined by Ms. Joy Taney (also of The Juggernaut String Band) who shared a duet with Baba Keino Anderson Gavinpiper whose soulful depths brought the house down.

The tasty morsels created by Fran O'Hagan along with the wine that was served helped to nourish the gathering as they sought to devour the incredible work that hung upon the walls before them. Each of the pieces on display were as unique as the artist who rendered it. Yet, an overall quality permeated the exhibit as its environmental theme was met and transcended by much of the work that was presented. Viewing the work proved to be a delightfully mesmerizing experience as it inspired all who were touched by the images and colors to contemplate the natural world and their part in it more deeply.

It was while those who attended the reception were being enhanced by the work upon the gallery's wall did the much awaited and anticipated Art Raffle begin. Each purchaser of the raffle tickets that were available for acquisition throughout the evening held them tightly between their fingers as they eagerly waited for the digits to be called in hopes the numbers that would be announced matched those they possessed. The tension grew to a fevered pitch as the name of each number were verbalized until the climatic release of the final digit was called. This was followed an arousing scream of satisfaction as the winning ticket holder leaped across the room to claim his or her prize. This continued until the final number of the final ticket was read leading to numerous congratulatory sentiments being shared without an inappropriate amount of envy.

It was some time after this did the evening conclude and those who were enlivened by all they encountered bade their established and newly made friends fare well. It was an awarding and wonderful evening spent in conversation, music, and the arts. The exhibition continues to be on display until April 26th and I encourage anyone who has not seen it, to come to the gallery to do so. Those who have seen it during the reception need no encouragement from me to come back and rediscover the wonders of each piece. I plan to do so as I also feel there will be something new to experience during a second viewing of a number of the pieces.

The “A Voice For The Earth” exhibit is being presented at The Origins Gallery in conjunction with The Pocono Arts Council's www.facebook.com/poconoartscouncil?fref=ts upcoming juried art exhibition titled, “The Earth Speaks” which is a part of a National exhibit for the environment and will feature the work of local artists. The exhibit will hold an Artists' Reception on at Saturday April 18th in The ArtSpace Gallery of The Pocono Arts Cultural Center in Stroudsburg, PA. You can view photographs taken during the Origins Gallery's event at The “A Voice For The Earth” Artists' Reception at Origins 03-28-15 Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153719517063761.1073741834.91146283760&type=1. You can also view images of the art work and other exhibitions taking place throughout the area in Our Creative Arts 2015 Archive at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.819876711417115.1073741834.250942068310585&type=1 as well as photos taken of the event's musicians and other performances given in various locations at our Performing Arts 2015 Archive at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.789279141163124.1073741841.207838092640568&type=1. In addition to this, you'll be able to view photographs taken at other venues throughout the area in Our Pocono Arts District 2015 Archive at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153087858925421.1073741965.636000420&type=3.

The Origins Gallery is located on the lower level of The Gamers Edge Comics and Games Store www.facebook.com/TheGamersEdgeStroudsburg?fref=ts which can be found at 580 Main St. in Stroudsburg, PA. The Origins Gallery is a contemporary arts gallery within the newly formed Pocono Art District having one of the highest and fastest sales records in the Stroudsburg area, provides a space to those who teach the arts to those who would like to learn from them, and continues to do everything with the local community in mind. You can learn more about The Origins Gallery by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/OriginsGalleryStroudsburg or their website at www.originsgallery.tk.

The next event to be presented at The Origins Gallery will be an evening with Comedians Dan Hoppel, Zack Hammond, and Matt Serniak on Wednesday April 1st beginning at 7pm to commemorate April Fools' Day. Their next exhibition will be the “Cover to Cover” competition/exhibition presented by The Forwardian Arts Society to determine what images will appear on the front and back cover of the upcoming 10th issue of their literary and arts magazine titled, “Forwardian.” The Artists' Reception is scheduled for Friday May 1st beginning at 6pm. More information about The Forwardian Arts Society, its literary and arts magazine, and the competition can be gained by exploring their website at www.forwardianarts.org. I hope to see you then.

Photography by Paparazzi Paul

Sunday, March 01, 2015

The Boundless Art of Youth

The PoconoArts Community Cultural Center in Stroudsburg, PA held an Artists’ Reception on Friday February 27th for their 22nd Annual Juried Student Art Show in its main Artspace Gallery as part of the Pocono Arts Council's Youth in Art month long celebration. The exhibit showcases the works of students who are enrolled in the school systems scattered around the Monroe County, PA area. These schools include The East Stroudsburg High School (Southern Campus), The Pleasant Valley High School, The Pocono Mountain High School (East and West Campus'), and The Stroudsburg High School. The exhibition also included a space for Art Educators Nancy Bohm, George Boudman, Denise Thomas, Julia Thomas, Mark Ciocca, and Kris Miele-Beatty to display their considerable talents while the work of the late Hank Aldrich was shown throughout the center's Studio Gallery.

The imaginative beauty created by artists who have not yet been touched by the experiences that defines “matured” artists through their discernment of what works technically was found throughout the gallery. This refreshing approach not only epitomized the exuberance of youthful explorations but revived the memories of many who were able to recall how they lived their lives when they knew things before they learned about them. While this learning experience often enhances our perceptions of the essence of what we know, it also has a tendency create boundaries which limits our imaginative explorations because we become too familiar and complacent with our creative landscapes to entertain the notion that new vistas are waiting to be discovered. The work created by the students of local school systems circumvented these boundaries by simply not knowing where they are and therefore was able to manifest the fullness of their imagination through the images and sculpture they create to great effect.

The quality and the inspired effect the work shown in the exhibit had on the many who attended the reception was evident not only in each piece but in the countenance and conversation of the artists' family members and friends along with the impartial art lovers who were present. Yet, as astonishing the overall work was, there were certain pieces that stood out and embodied exceptional characteristics that often redefined the medium the artist endeavored to share their talents through. The jurors, whose daunting task it was to determine whom among the the incredibly gifted artists should be awarded prizes in each designated category, were Associate Professor Join Oye-Benintende who serves as Chairperson of The East Stroudsburg University of PA Art and Design Department as well as the Director of the campus' Madelon Powers Gallery and Suzanne Wefelman who has taught art in numerous public and private schools systems for over 30 years and currently instructs art affection-ados on how to release their creative nature though the arts. The award ceremonies began as PoconoArts Coordinator, Laura Goss, and PoconoArts President Jeff Kash stood before the gathering with Ms. Goss sharing her welcoming remarks prior to presenting the winners with their gifts.

In the category featuring Two Dimensional work, the award for third place went to Jordan Allen, the second place award went to Mohan Shen, and the first place went award to Seth Todora while Angel Topito and Jordan Kloiber received the Honorable Mentioned Accolades. In the category featuring Fine Crafts (Functional), the award for third place went to Jenise McDonald, the second place award went to Narissa Hajratalli, and the first place award went to Brianna Kish. In the category featuring Third Dimension Works (Sculpture/Non-Functional), the award for third place went to Ryan Cotte, the second place award went to Amber Smahaj, and the first place award went to Shannon Simpson. In the category featuring Photographic works, the award for third place went to Emilie Seda, the second place award went to Michael Martinetti, and the first place went to Reannon Zangakis. The Best of Show Award was presented to Kristan Lai for her work titled, “The New Highrise.” The Award Sponsors were The Monroe County Bar Association, The Pocono Chapter, PA Guild of Craftsmen, and The Pocono Arts Council.

Along with the work of the students whose display of talent are preeminent throughout the main gallery, The PoconoArts Community Cultural Center also shares the work of the members of the participating schools' faculty upon the wall bordering the back of the gallery. The creative expertize and profound proficiency of each artists is demonstrated in his/her astounding work along with the intrinsic beauty that struck a chord in each viewer's soul. In addition to the work presented in The Pocono Arts Council’s 22nd Annual Juried Student Art Show throughout the center's main gallery, a number of pieces were on display honoring the memory of an artist who brought a great deal of meaning to the life of the community through his work and endeavors to help others realize the creativity within themselves. The work created by Aldof “Hank” Aldrich were placed throughout the center's Studio Gallery allowing memories to flow from the piece to piece as those who knew him fondly reflected upon their encounters with his loving presence.

The Artists’ Reception for The Pocono Arts Council’s 22
nd Annual Juried Student Art Show at The PoconoArts Community Cultural Center in Stroudsburg, PA inspired a thoughtful joy among the attendees. This consisted of the joy among the students who shared their first experience of seeing their work hung in a gallery setting with their contemporaries along with the joy experienced by those who explored their memories as well as the boundless exuberant nature of the work. The exhibit will continue to be on display in the center's Artspace Gallery until March 7th. The next event in The Pocono Arts Council's Youth in Art Celebration will be their 28th Annual Youth in Music Excellence Awards which will take place at The St. John’s Lutheran Church in Stroudsburg, PA on Saturday March 7th. The PoconoArts Community Cultural Center's next exhibition will be their Monroe County Bar Association Quilt Exhibition. The Artists' Reception is scheduled for Friday March 13th with the exhibit continuing to be on display until March 27th. You’ll find more photographs taken during The PoconoArts Council's 22nd Annual Student Exhibition Artists' Reception in www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153638920568761.1073741833.91146283760&type=1. You'll also find our archive of photographs taken at various galleries in The Pocono Art District throughout 2015 at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153087858925421.1073741965.636000420&type=3 as well as events featuring the Creative Arts throughout Monroe County, PA and beyond at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.819876711417115.1073741834.250942068310585&type=1.

The PoconoArts Community Cultural Center is part of The PoconoArts Council which is an organization designed to build the communities in which it serves artistically and culturally by providing leadership, service, and education. It does so by offering avenues for artists to display their work through the center and other galleries, educational opportunities for those who would like to explore and/or enhance their creative natures, and encouragement to those who seek to express and/or support the arts. You’ll be able to learn more about The PoconoArts Council, The PoconoArts Community Cultural Center, and all they offer the creative community at

Photography by Paparazzi Paul

Monday, February 23, 2015

It's an Art Jam Birthday Woo Woo

As the all too frequent sight of snow flakes accumulating to make their presence known on Saturday February 21st, The Sherman Theater's Living Room in Stroudsburg, PA hosted a Birthday ART JAM in order to celebrate the birth of Joy Taney, Carolyn Burbage, Vid Ryan, Stephan Tsapatoris, and Melissa Benzinger. The celebration included music performed by a variety of musicians and singers who joyfully shared their skills in the Jam Session that lasted throughout the afternoon. There were also opportunities for those who would explore their creative skills in the visual arts through the many sketchbooks on hand during the event. And, there was plenty of pizza, chicken wings, and (of course) Birthday cake to enjoy while listening to the music and partaking of the conversation shared with those who braved the wintry conditions to attend the gathering.

As I entered the warmth of the room, members of The Juggernaut String Band www.facebook.com/JuggernautStringBand were in the process of tuning their various instruments that ranged from violins to banjos while exploring the possibilities of musical genres they would play. These members included Peter Taney, Joy Taney, Carolyn Burbage, and Stephan Tsapatoris. They were soon joined by the duet known as Woodrow www.facebook.com/wearewoodrow which consists of Theresa Ratcliff and Brian Brancamp. After some final preparations were made, music filled the room with a mesmerizing quality that induced all those who were enchanted by its texture to move their forms along with the rhythm that bade them to dance marvelously.

After a period of blissful enjoyment found in the listening and being effected by the tunes, a series of singers and musicians joined in to share their musical gifts. These began with the vocal renderings of Molly Brunkard who sang a piece from a Broadway musical with a powerful interpretation that was only topped by her awe inspiring voice. The musicians were later joined by Vid Ryan who lent his musical skills to the compositions that were being played. Vid is a member of The Juggernaut String Band but he mostly spent the afternoon serving as the event's photographer of which he captured some astounding images and performed other functions that made the afternoon an even more enjoyable one to those who came to it.

It was after Vid's joining to play a few songs with his band mates was the birthday cake prepared with candles set afire. A break ensued as the traditional “Happy Birthday” song was sung by the company to the celebrants. The candles were then extinguished by the honorees and the cake's slices were shared among the gathering. It was during this respite from the entertaining music were sentiments shared relating to the appreciation of friendships that were made possible by the birth of the individuals who we celebrating the occurrence. Along with the gentle and joyous words that were expressed, whose who partook of opportunities to explore their creative attributes in the visual arts shared their renderings with their friends.

The afternoon soon drew to a close after guitarist Patrick Cummings and singer Mary Mulligan shared their considerable talents with the gathering. A beauty filled the hearts of those who listened which was reflected in the thoughtful farewells that were shared between those leaving the venue at the event's conclusion. It was a great afternoon and proved to be well worth the braving of the weather conditions to the considerable number of friends who partook of it. You'll be able to view photographs taken during the event in The Birthday ART JAM of Saturday February 21st Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153625299243761.1073741832.91146283760&type=1. You'll also be able to view photos taken at other events taking place at the venue in The Sherman Theater's Living Room 2015 Archive at www.facebook.com/forwardian.dude/media_set?set=a.10153108259710421.1073741966.636000420&type=1&notif_t=like as well as events featuring performances in The Performing Arts 2015 Archive at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.789279141163124.1073741841.207838092640568&type=1.

In Addition to special events like The Birthday ART JAM, The Sherman Theater's Living Room in Stroudsburg, PA holds a weekly Open Mic Nite Series www.facebook.com/OpenMicAtTheLivingRoom every Sunday Evening beginning at 7pm with sign ins beginning at 6:30pm. Musicians, poets, writers, and anyone who would like to share something with a receptive audience are welcomed to do so. The venue also houses an Art Gallery featuring the work of local artists. Their current exhibit features the work of Al Shivers and Patrick Cummings and will be on display until February 28th. The next exhibit will be designed to bring awareness to animal and human rights featuring the work of local artists, The Artists' Reception will be Saturday March 7th and the exhibit will be on display until March 31st. Please contact the gallery’s Directors and Curators, Keyaira and Drew Ozkenel, at 570-421-2808 for more information.

The Sherman Theater's Living Room is located on Main Street in Stroudsburg, PA next to The Sherman Theater who owns the building. The Living Room is a non-profit artspace and community hub featuring live music, exhibitions, and other events in an intimate setting at affordable prices. Please Explore The Living Room Facebook Page at
www.facebook.com/pages/The-Living-Room for more information on The Living Room, all they have to offer, and how to be a part of it all.

Photography by Paparazzi Paul.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

When Triskaidekaphobics Get Lucky

On Friday February 13th, a day that has brought a feeling of foreboding upon the superstitious since a financially irresponsible King Philip IV arrested, tortured, and killed The Knights Templar on Friday October 13th, 1307 because he owed them money along with the dreadful fear that another film featuring machetes and hockey masks will be made, The SOHO in the BURG in Stroudsburg, PA held an Artists’ Reception for their “Melange a Trios” (A Medley of Three) exhibition. The exhibition features the work of Jill Swersie, Andrei Protsouk, and Penny Ross who have each gained a humongous degree of respect throughout the local artistic community for their extraordinary talents. However, placing the work of these three artists side by side in the one local gallery that can do so in a complimentary fashion, magnifies the meaningful beauty of the each artist's work as their aesthetic essences combine to create a transcendence not only among the pieces presented but within those who were among the large gathering of art lovers who attended the reception fortunate enough to experience.

As one entered the grand hall of the gallery, the soul catching hues of Jill Swersie's images fills one's heart with recollections and recognitions that goes beyond the normal sense of memory. The images ranged from those depicting people in in various positions and stances to those capturing the inner beauty of the still life representations she captured on her canvas. Many of the depictions of people showed them engaging in ordinary enough activities and circumstances but the artist's eye and skill in discovering a mood to exemplify the subject she paints brings a deeper aspect to the lives seen by the viewer. In her still life work, Ms. Swersie's skill in revealing the soul of her subjects is even more apparent. When viewing these objects, an apple becomes more than an apple and a tree becomes more than a tree because we become more than what we are.

Jill Swersie has painted professionally for over three decades and has shown her work in galleries throughout New York City, New Jersey, and Northeast PA as well as sharing her love for painting with students she has instructed throughout the years. She was recently honored by the Borough Council and the Mayor of Stroudsburg, PA for her participation as a muralist in Project Street Art which involved placing murals at various locations throughout Stroudsburg and East Stroudsburg, PA to beautify the region. You can learn more about Jill Swersie by exploring her website at www.jillswersie.com.

As one roams around the gallery sharing gentle and substantive conversation with fellow art lovers, one comes across the work of Andrei Protsouk whose powerful images are defined by the striking lines found throughout his uniquely stylized depictions of the subjects he captures on his canvas. The dark shadowy hues that dominates much of his work contrasts with a master's deftness with the tints of gold and other colors that populate the painting. Their combination brings forth an overwhelming strength to each piece which often permeates the viewer filling him or her with a sense of invigoration enabling one to embark upon great adventures. However, it was Mr. Protsouk's sketched images on display that caught a great deal of attention among the gathering of art lovers who attended the reception. Even though the style he employed in these pieces were a departure from those many have become familiar with, the strength and power of the images were communicated on the same extraordinary level. Yet, the simplicity of dark lines drawn upon a white background added a dimension to the image that brought a deeper and more profound sense of reality to them. This proved to be a welcomed extension of Mr. Protsouk's considerable talents.

Andrei Protsouk was born in Donet’sk, Ukraine and has shown his skills as an artist at an early age. After finishing high school Mr. Protsouk was accepted into the Lugansk State School of Fine Art and then later into The Ilya Repin Leningrad Institute for Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in St. Petersburg, Russia which later became known as The Russian Academy of Arts to gain his Master's Degree. As the borders of the Soviet Union became more open during the 1990s, Mr. Protsouk immigrated to the U. S. and established himself in the Bixler Gallery in Stroudsburg, PA. He currently lives in Stroudsburg PA where he has his own studio and gallery. He has shown his work throughout the world in galleries located in Spain, Germany, England, Holland, Russia, New Zealand, Ukraine, and France as well as in the united States. You can learn more about Andrei Protsouk by exploring his Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/AndreiProtsoukArt.

As one further explored the gallery, one came across the work of Penny Ross whose impressionistic watercolors flowed like a Spring breeze throughout the venue creating a warming oasis in the cold meteorological climate that has become all too common recently to many who live in the Northeastern United States. The gentle hues depicted in scenes and floral landscapes led the viewer into their peaceful worlds where one can simply and idly relax from the ordinary cares found in the attention demanding modalities too prevalently found in a modern life. Ms. Ross' soothing brush strokes touches not only the canvas with their calmness but the heart as well.

Penny Ross began making pictures as a child. Ms. Ross received a scholarship to attend the Cincinnati Summer Art Academy’s Adult classes in watercolor and oil painting at the age of 14 where she discovered the joy of painting outdoors. She later enrolled into The University of Cincinnati where she received Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Bachelor of Science in Education degrees in the four years she attended. Her work has since appeared in a number of Juried Exhibition from which she had been honored with numerous awards. You can learn more about Penny Ross by exploring her Website at www.pennyrosspainter.com.

In addition to the work created by the featured artists, the creative endeavors of local artists were on display throughout the gallery in a group exhibit titled, “Degrees of Abstraction.” The images varied in style and artistic approaches but their uniqueness wove a tapestry of wonder throughout the venue whose thread were later sown into the imagination of each person who explored their intricacies. The over all quality of the work is outstanding and entreats those who view them to delve deeper into their attributes to discover the unseen patterns they contain.

Along with the inspiring art The SOHO in the BURG is known for, the gallery is also famous for the culinary delights it presents during its Artists’ Receptions which are created by Chef G (aka Guarino Cortese). A delicious array of dishes were prepared and served by the chef and his staff bringing pleasure to every palate which enhanced the viewing of the art as well as the conversation it inspired. You can learn more about Chef G and his catering services by contacting him at

The overall show proved to be as pleasing to the senses as it was meaningful to the soul that connected to the work. This was not a difficult connection to make as the skill of the artists and the beauty found within each frame easily moved among the gathering bringing the profound gifts they contained to the hearts who eagerly opened them. The reception and the gallery that presented it was a wonderfully loving gift on an exceptionally Lucky Day. You'll find photographs taken during the Artists' Reception held at The SOHO in the BURG Gallery in Stroudsburg, PA on Friday February 13th in The February 13th 2015 Reception in The SOHO in the BURG Gallery Album at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153598971958761.1073741831.91146283760&type=1. You'll also find photographs taken in various locations throughout The Stroudsburg Art District in Stroudsburg Art District 2015 Archive at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153087858925421.1073741965.636000420&type=3 and those in a wider variety of venues in The Creative Arts 2015 Archive at www.facebook.com/pages/The-Forwardian-Creative-Arts-Society/250942068310585

The SOHO in the BURG Gallery is located on the corner of 6
th and Main Street in Stroudsburg, PA which was the location of the J. J. Newberry’s store. The gallery opened its doors to the public in April of 2012 and is owned by Andrea Robbins Rimberg who has become well known for her exuberant energies and creativity as many of her pieces are on display in prestigious galleries throughout the United States. The “Melange a Trios” exhibit will continue to be on display until March 30th. The next exhibition titled, “Springing in The Rain” will feature the work of Joe Mooney and Emilio Arostegui along with local artists in a cinema themed group exhibit. The Artists Reception is scheduled for Saturday April 4th and will be on display until the end of May.

In addition to the art exhibitions held at The SOHO in the BURG Gallery, the venue will host The Pocono Mountains Restaurant Week's final event on Monday March 23rd titled, “The Wine Down” beginning at 6pm. The gallery will also host The Forwardian Film Festival on May 2nd and 3rd featuring the cinematic endeavors of local filmmakers and actors. The Deadline for submissions of films to be considered for inclusion in the event is April 10th. Please contact The Forwardian Arts Society at forwardian@hotmail.com for more information. In the meantime. you can learn more about The SOHO in the BURG Gallery, their future exhibits, and all the gallery has to offer the creative community by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/sohointheburg.

Photography by Paparazzi Paul.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Uni-versified And Tertiary Dimensions in Art

On a chilly and brisk winter's day, East Stroudsburg University (ESU) of Pennsylvania held an Artists' Reception in their Madelon Powers Gallery which is located within the campus' Fine and Performing Arts Center for their exhibition titled, “5 in 3D: Five Artists Using 3D Printing” on Thursday February 5th. The exhibit features the works of Doug Bucci, Darlene Farris-LaBar, Bathsheba Grossman, Kacie Hultgren, and Sophie Kahn who utilized the digital technology of the modern age to explore both its scientific boundaries as well as those found in the human imagination. The modest sized venue was filled to near capacity as art lovers, friends, and students of some of the artists featured gathered to experience the intricacies of the work while sharing in the victuals the conversation the warm atmosphere of the exhibit inspired. The reception was followed by an Artist Talk given by Doug Bucci and Darlene Farris-LaBar in the building's Cecilia S. Cohen Recital Hall.

As I first entered the gallery, an intriguing sense of mystery touched my perceptions as my eye was met by the fragmented depictions of the human form created by Sophie Kahn. Her three dimensional work consisted of heads and torsos captured in molds and broken so the results of her work resembled a puzzle which invites the viewer to utilize their imaginations to create and place the missing pieces into their respective slots. However, the work can be simply admired by those who lack the inclination of puzzle solving for their abilities to communicate the undefined qualities of the human experience as explored through the fragmented and piecemeal appearance of Ms. Kahn's interpretations. In either case, the work allows one to flow through the spaces of each piece so one could endeavor to complete the spaces of not only the sculpture but of those populating their self awareness as well. Ms. Kahn's work has been exhibited in Japan, Europe, and in the US and she had done residencies in New York City, NY and Melbourne, Australia. You can learn more about Sophie Kahn and her work by visiting her website at www.sophiekahn.net.

As my eyes wandered around the room, I was drawn to the work of Doug Bucci whose jewelry and other bodily adornments enticed my attentions. The most prominent of these were the necklaces that were on display within a curio cabinet. The coral like properties of the items coiled themselves around the inner thoughts of the viewer until the experience of becoming entwined with their intricate beauty enhances the perceptions of the individual. As learned later in the Artists' Talk he gave, these necklaces were inspired by human biology and this insight allows one to view them as not only resembling aquatic coral but also resembling the double helix found in the Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) of all living things. Although this comparison may be unique to my perceptions, it nonetheless inspired me to turn my thoughts toward the unifying similarities of all beings which furthered my admiration of the work. Mr. Bucci is a designer and educator in the field of jewelry utilizing the digital processes to explore and display biological systems while examining the effects disease has on the body. You can learn more about Mr. Bucci and his work by exploring his website at www.dougbucci.com.

It was after exploring Mr. Bucci's work did I feel a desire to move around the gallery so I could experience more of what the exihibit had to offer. My first stop was at the cabinet that housed the figurines created by Bathsheba Grossman. Their mathematically intrinsic designs moved one deeper into their interwoven properties until the tapestries of both the piece and the viewer intertwined to become one through their emergence. Ms. Grossman lives in Santa Cruz, CA and has been featured in art galleries around the world as well as having her work appear adorning several television series such as “Numb3rs” and “Heroes.” You can learn more about Bathsheba Grossman and her work by exploring her website at www.bathsheba.com.

Immediately next to the work of Bathsheba Grossman were pieces created by Kacie Hultgren. The miniscule furnishings she creates brought a smile to my lips as I was moved to explore the minut details each chair and lamp possessed. This exploration led me to an inner world where the manifestations of fantasies and dreams are made as possible as they are for a child whose been given a doll house where her imagination can occupy. Ms. Hultgren (aka PrettySmallThings) is a multidisciplinary designer who has created sets for live theatrical performances. She will be leading a 3D Printing and Design Workshop which will be open to ages 10 through adult at ESU on Sunday March 1st.. You can learn more about Kacie Hultgren, her work, and the workshop by contacting her at prettysmallthings@gmail.com.

It was after viewing the work of Ms. Hultgren did I ventured to the back of the gallery to view the pieces created by Darlene Farris-LaBar which are collectively titled, “The Interior World of Plants.” Each framed work detailed the essence of the flower that was represented in vibrant colors. The pieces captured the eye along with a sense of wonder as each viewer delved deeply into the recesses of the life giving and reproductive properties attributed to the plant depicted. As we peer into these recesses, we come to realize their vulnerability and the reflective properties of the glass each piece is contained in allows us to see our own images and therefore we capture a transparent glimpse of the vulnerabilities within ourselves. Ms. Farris-LaBar has shown her work world wide serving a diverse community that provides education and awareness about a changing culture and vulnerable environment. She presently shares her skill and creative insights with her students who attend her object design, sculpture, and graphic design classes at ESU. You can learn more Darlene Farris-LaBar and her work by exploring her website at www.darlenefarris.com.

After some time spent wandering through the Madelon Powers Gallery and partaking all the work had to offer, an announcement was made that the Artists' Talk was about to begin in the Fine and Performing Arts Center's Cecilia S. Cohen Recital Hall. I then walked up the stairs and across the hall to enter the facility in order to find myself a seat. Ms. Farris-LaBar shared an appreciative welcome with the modest gathering and introduced Doug Bucci who spoke first.

The title of his talk was, “Thinking Organically in the Digital Age” in which he shared how many works of art were created from the individual artist's desire to explore and make sense of an infirmity he or she suffered from. Mr. Bucci further explained that his work is an exploration on how to transcend the human experience which include disease and physical infirmities in order to create a deeper understanding of them through an artistic approach utilizing the tools available in the present technological age. His talk also revealed the unique mechanics he utilizes in the construction of his pieces which helps in his endeavors to bring out something meaningful with the hope that others will find something meaningful embodied in them as well.

As Mr. Bucci concluded his remarks, Ms. Farris-LaBar took her place to share her words with the gathering. She revealed that her work explores issues relating to the environment and she constantly seeks ways to convey these issues through the depictions of nature found in her work. She also spoke on the effect art can have on people as they are drawn by its waters and become immersed by the solidarity found in the boarderless qualities of the liquid. This submersion allows the differences we have with the world, nature, and one another to dissolve and we begin to live a life full of the compassion and communal love we are meant to thrive in.

Unfortunately, I was unable to stay for the remainder of Ms. Farris-LaBar's talk. But, I could surmise the direction which her sharings were taking those who listened with their hearts as they brought a wonderful afternoon with the arts to an even more wonderful conclusion. You'll find more photographs taken during the Artists' Reception for the 5 in 3D: 3D Printing in Art and Design exhibition held on Thursday February 5th in The 5 in 3D Reception at ESU Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153578321603761.1073741830.91146283760&type=1. You'll find photographs taken during this and other events occuring at East Stroudsburg University of PA throughout 2015 in the ESU 2015 Archive at www.facebook.com/forwardian.dude/media_set?set=a.10153069510345421.1073741964.636000420&type=1&notif_t=like as well as those event relating to art related events in The Creative Arts 2015 Archive at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.819876711417115.1073741834.250942068310585&type=1.

The ESU exhibition titled, “5 in 3D: Five Artists Using 3D Printing” featuring the works of Doug Bucci, Darlene Farris-LaBar, Bathsheba Grossman, Kacie Hultgren, and Sophie Kahn will continue to be on display at The Madelon Powers Gallery which is located in The Fine and Performing Arts Building on the ESU Campus until March 6th. During my conversations I shared with a number of experienced and discerning artists, I encountered a degree of disappointment with the exhibit which included thoughts of the work being the “same ol same ol” and lacked a certain degree of maturity. Being a novice in the arts and not knowing the intricacies of creating work similar to that which was shown, I would have to concede the views of those I spoke to may contain some degree of validity. Yet, I still recommend seeing the exhibit to anyone who would venture up to ESU's Fine and Performing Arts Building in order to explore the work and form their own assessments. Please feel free to post them as a comment to this article.

The next exhibition scheduled to take place on the campus of East Stroudsburg University will be their Art Association All University Student Juried Art Exhibition with an Artists' Reception to be held on Thursday March 26th beginning at 4pm. The exhibit will continue to be on display in The Madelon Powers Gallery until April 16th. Please explore The Madelon Powers Gallery Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/EsuArtGallery for more information.

Photography by Paparazzi Paul