Monday, May 05, 2014

Looking On The Wall at PCT

The Gallery at The Pocono Community Theater and Cultural Center (PCT) in East Stroudsburg, PA held an Artists’ Reception on Saturday May 3rd for their exhibitions featuring two area artists. The first exhibit is titled, “Looking” featuring the acrylic work of Chris Sparling in their Front Gallery near the center’s 1st screening room. The second exhibit is titled, “On The Wall” featuring the fired and smoked clay works of Joni Maya Oye-Benintende in the center’s Hall Gallery leading to their 2nd and 3rd theaters. The physical and the aesthetic composition embodied in the work of these two artists differs greatly but their work enhanced the center’s dĂ©cor through their contrasting creative approaches.

The work of Chris Sparling’s beautifully descriptive colors and images depicts scenes of structures and landscapes whose flowing contours entices those who choose to explore their intricacies to imagine themselves to be a part of the composition. The experience one feels from viewing each painting is one of a peaceful connectedness to the image that is presented. This connectedness allows the viewer to not only embrace the subtleties of the of the flowing brushstrokes that lead them upon a journey within the piece more intently but also allows the viewer to journey deep within themselves in order to discover where the swirls of their everyday existence may lead.

The sense of tension found within work of Joni Maya Oye-Benintende pulls us deeper within each piece as their diametrically opposing elements tugs at our perceptional awareness. We subconsciously sense there is something beyond what we see and strive to discover what that something is. This is especially true of the piece titled, “(A) lone 1” as the image peers from behind a Venetian Blind to presumingly look at us until we begin to look beyond the blind in order to identify the person’s features more precisely. The remainder of the work has a similar effect as we find ourselves moving our eyes around the three dimensional images in order to discover from one angle what we presume to be hidden in another. It is through this exercise we come to realize the same presumptions could be made about ourselves as one aspect of who we are may be hidden from our awareness as we focus upon another.

Chris Sparling has been enjoying the flexibility she found in painting with acrylics since 2007 when she discovered she could capture the ever changing elements of the landscapes more freely through the medium. Ms. Sparling is a self taught artists who has learned her craft while communing with Van Gogh, Monet, and other artists she encountered in the many museums she visited. Ms. Sparling has received many awards for her work and is a member of The Pocono Mountain Arts Council, The Pocono Arts Council, and the St. Augustine Art Association. You can learn more about Chris Sparling and her work by exploring her website at

Joni Maya Oye-Benintende’s work reflects a meditative solitude as she utilizes a variety of handbuilding methods and a minimum of glaze to create visual metaphors as a filter through which the viewer projects and tells their own story. Ms. Oye-Benintende currently serves as chair for the East Stroudsburg University of PA’s Art Department and is the Director of the University’s Madelon Power’s Gallery. Ms. Oye-Benintende has shown her work in numerous galleries and has received Grants from The PA Council on the Arts Partners in Art, The ESU Foundation Grant, and The ESU Faculty Development as well as The Japan Ministry of Education (Monbusho) Fellowship, Rotary Foundation Graduate Scholarship and The John T. Milliken Travel Fellowship. You can learn more about Joni Maya Oye-Benintende and her work by exploring her website at

The reception for the exhibitions presented at The Gallery at The Pocono Community Theater and Cultural Center in East Stroudsburg, PA proved to be a well attended one with work ranging from the soul touchingly beautiful to the profoundly thought provoking. The work of Chris Sparling and Joni Maya Oye-Benintende are sure to capture the imagination of the many who enter the venue while they are waiting to see a film. In fact, some may find themselves leaving the film of their choice before its conclusion to view the work once again. You’ll be able to find more photographs taken during the reception in The Pocono Community Theater (PCT) 2014 Gallery at

The Gallery at The Pocono Community Theater and Cultural Center in East Stroudsburg, PA will continue to display their exhibitions titled, “Looking” and “On the Wall” featuring the work of Chris Sparling and Joni Maya Oye-Benintende until June 29th. Their next exhibition will feature James Gwynne whose work will be shown throughout the entire center. An Artists’ Reception for the exhibit is tentatively scheduled for Saturday July 5th beginning at 1pm and the exhibit will continue to be on display until August 31st.

In addition to hosting art exhibits, The Pocono Community Theater and Cultural Center presents a variety of films both popularly current as well revivals of those films released in the past. They also host special events such as their Book Club which explore novels that have been adapted to the screen and are currently being shown in the theater. Please Explore The Pocono Community Theater Facebook Page at for more information.

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