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

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

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

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 You'll also find photographs taken in various locations throughout The Stroudsburg Art District in Stroudsburg Art District 2015 Archive at and those in a wider variety of venues in The Creative Arts 2015 Archive at

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 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

Photography by Paparazzi Paul.

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