Category Archives: Featured Artists

Artists Who Use The Power of Black

Black is one of the boldest, most powerful colors. As Matisse stated, “Black is a force: I depend on black to simplify the construction. “On this day of “Black Friday”,  we selected from our online gallery some extraordinary artists who use the power of black as one of their predominant features. Here,  you’ll find a beautiful display of those artists’ work from the Manhattan Arts International Artist Showcase Gallery.

Click on image to see larger view. Visit the artists’ pages on this website to see more of their art, learn more about them, and visit their websites.

Barbara Rachko

Barbara Rachko
Barbara Rachko, Poker Face, pastel-on-sandpaper painting, 38” x 58” image, 50” x 70” framed.

Inspired by Mexican and Guatemalan cultural objects Barbara Rachko creates dramatic pastel-on-sandpaper painting.
Visit her page.

Richard Smith

Richard Smith, Be The Butterfly, photomontage, 30.4” x 22.8”.
Richard Smith, Be The Butterfly, photomontage, 30.4” x 22.8”.

Richard Smith creates spellbinding photomontages which he has named “Handcrafted Surrealism”.
Visit his page.

Arthur Jacob

Arthur Jacob, Dehlia II, creative photography.
Arthur Jacob, Dehlia II, creative photography.

Using “Creative Photography” Arthur Jacob’s florals come to life against black backgrounds.
Visit his page.

Cynthia Lund Torroll

Cynthia Lund Torroll
Cynthia Lund Torroll , The Witness, pencil drawing on paper, 22″ x 22″.

Cynthia Lund Torroll creates creates mesmerizing, enigmatic and celebratory pencil drawings.
Visit her page.

Matti Sirvio

Matti Sirvio, I Will Go Up, oil on canvas, 39" x 47".
Matti Sirvio, I Will Go Up, oil on canvas, 39″ x 47″.

Matti Sirvio creates bold paintings with dynamic  expansion, depth and contrast.
Visit his page

Peter Treiber

Peter Treiber, Ethereal Luminescence, photograph
Peter Treiber, Ethereal Luminescence, photograph

Peter Treiber creates a vibrant symphony of color and movement in his “Ethereal Luminescence” fine art photographs.
Visit his page.

Outstanding Canadian Artists Claim Their Own Creative Terrain

Since 1983 Manhattan Arts International has had the pleasure of implementing curated art programs to promote artistic excellence by artists from around the world. In this article I feature outstanding Canadian Artists from our membership — Elaine Hunter, Gaya, Chantal Leblanc, Joanne St-Cyr and Frantisek Strouhal. Although they come from the same country  they each claim their own creative terrain.

Click on the artists’ names to visit their pages and learn more about them.

Elaine Hunter

Elaine Hunter, Welcome Beach Day, photograph, 24" x 36".
Elaine Hunter, Welcome Beach Day, photograph, 24″ x 36″.

Elaine Hunter is a contemporary photographer who was  born in the UK and currently lives in Half moon Bay, BC, Canada. Accurately describing her art as “Chimerical” she produces images with a sense of mystery and drama.

Hunter has exhibited worldwide and was chosen as one of the TOP 40 by LACDA June 2015. She has won best in Show at both Contemporary Art Gallery Online and Colors of Humanity Art Gallery. She will be exhibiting in Berlin in October 2016 at the Julia M Cameron Awards.

Among her many awards include those from Manhattan Arts International, most recently an Award of Excellence in The Healing Power of ART. She has been featured in Professional Artist magazine and in the Artsy Shark Featured Artists series.

She states, “I love the journey from the camera lens to the computer where I create the finished pieces of art. I begin with reality and create the mystery. My desire is to take the viewer on a wildly fanciful terrestrial paradise. My  intention to make those who view my art wonder if the visions that I created were actually there when the photograph was taken. I hope to bring the viewer peace and happiness.”

Chantal Leblanc

Chantal Leblanc, The Angel Within, mixed media, 48” x 36”.
Chantal Leblanc, The Angel Within, mixed media, 48” x 36”.

Born and raised in Quebec, Canada, Chantal is an abstract painter working out of her studio in Montreal.  Her painting ” The Angel Within” was selected for The Healing Power of ART, exhibition presented by Manhattan Arts International and she won an Award of Excellence. The Artist’s Magazine gave her an Honorable Mention Award in its July 2016 issue.

She exhibited at the Women in Art 2016 curated show at Ward-Nasse Gallery in New York, NY and the Montreal Visual Arts Centre. Her art will be in a group exhibition in the Roma Galleria La Pigna at the Vatican.

Her art can be found in private collections in Canada and the U.S. and has been placed in the Montreal’s Ste-Justine Children’s Hospital.

Influenced by Expressionism, Chantal’s creative approach begins as a subtractive and intuitive process as she allows bursts of vibrating colors to emerge which resonate and expand in depth. She writes, “By applying very thin layers of glazes and washes, I allow movement to emerge. In this dance, I seek pulsation, shift and vibration in physical elements…”

Gaya

Gaya
Gaya, When Magnets Bloom, acrylic on canvas, 24″ x 24″.

Gaya is an abstract artist from Toronto, Canada. Her aesthetic approach and painting techniques combine many of the best painterly elements from Impressionism  as well as the spontaneity and experimentation of Abstract Expressionism.

Gaya’s paintings have been in exhibitions around the world. She has received many awards including those from the Biancoscuro Art Contest and Art Parma 2016, and Special Recognition Awards from Light Space & Time Gallery. She also received Publisher Choice Awards from Art & Beyond Magazine.

The artist was among the winners in art competitions presented by the Contemporary Art Gallery Online and a nominee of Palm Art Award 2014, an online art program based in Germany.

About her art she writes,  “With the power of colour, I try to capture the beauty of landscapes, light refractions, mysterious fluctuations of water, texture of flowers, and deviational patterns of a moving form. To define the underlying aesthetic concept of my artwork, it is an abstraction which represents an amalgamation of various streams in the contemporary art.”

Joanne St-Cyr

Joanne St-Cyr
Joanne St-Cyr, Ré-création (Re-Creation), oil on canvas, 18” x 24”, from the NATURA series.

Joanne St-Cyr was born in Montreal and now lives in Quebec City.  She creates awe-inspiring allegorical paintings, having mastered achieved the technical prowess of the Renaissance Masters.

She has participated in many group exhibitions including the Blue Door Gallery, Yonkers, NY; the New Canadian branch of AOI (Art Of Imagination) in Toronto and Ottawa in Ontario, Canada; Le Grand Palais, Paris, France; and Musée Marius-Barbeau in Quebec, Canada; among others.

Her many awards include Third Prize at Musée Laurier in Quebec, Canada, and two “Outstanding Acrylics” awards through the Boldbrush online competitions. Her art work has been published in Le Magazin’art, a prestigious French Art magazine.

Her  “NATURA” series has to do with the constant duality between man and nature. She writes, “Man’s extraordinary efforts to try and control nature, our stubbornness to manipulate, re-organize and mistreat her… she will not go down without a fight!”

Frantisek Strouhal

Frantisek Strouhal
Frantisek Strouhal, Aurora, oil printing and lithography inks on paper, 24” x 20”.

Frantisek Strouhal was born in Moravia from a family of painters and artists. He currently lives in western Canada. As a creator of exquisite mixed media artwork, which he has titled “Art Embracing Awareness”, he is internationally admired for his flawless use of traditional 19th century techniques combined with his unique contemporary yet timeless artistic vision.

Strouhal has had numerous solo exhibitions in British Columbia and many group exhibitions in the United States and Canada. He is a recipient of the Gold Medal at the Rotary Centre of the Arts in Kelowna, B.C. and was selected for the Manhattan Arts International curated art exhibition “The Healing Power of ART”. He also received Awards of Merit at both American Juried Art Salon’s International Fine Art Show and Decorative Arts International Show.

About his art he writes, “My imagery is meant to serve as an oasis of tranquility, permanence and strength and to capture and highlight what is fundamental to our being and society. One of its essential aspects explores thoughts and inspirations of an existential nature and investigates the interaction and harmony between the spiritual and the physical world.”

Kari Bienert Transforms Space in Color Field Paintings

Kari Bienert is an Australian painter who excels in the use of color configurations and the art of transforming geometric and curvilinear forms.  She explores the unlimited potentiality of chromatic and tonal scales, visual planes and volume within a two-dimensional framework. Viewing her dynamic and exuberant works of art is an exciting kinetic experience.

Kari Bienert
Kari Bienert

About Kari Bienert

Kari Bienert grew up in the Adelaide Hills, South Australia and received her Bachelor of Visual Arts degree from the University of South Australia. During the past 15 years she has traveled and painted extensively in the U.S. and Europe including France, England, Italy and Greece. She has recently returned to Australia after four years in Malaysia.

Her many one-person and group exhibitions include those at Worth Gallery and BMG Gallery, in Adelaide; and Flinders Street Gallery, in Sydney. Her artwork is in numerous private and public collections internationally including Artbank and Macquarte University. We welcome her as a Featured Artist on the Manhattan Arts International curated invitational online gallery, New York, NY.

Kari Bienert, Mylands, oil on linen, 26-1/2” x 75-1/2”.
Kari Bienert, Mylands, oil on linen, 26-1/2” x 75-1/2”.

Her Passion For Colors and Patterns

As a Color Field painter Bienert pursues color relationships with fervor.  Her color palette is innovative and complex. She mixes more than 25 different oil paints to create every color in her painting.

Due to the large scale of her paintings, her pictorial scheme appears to extend beyond our peripheral vision. As colorful patterns advance and recede, undulate and coalesce, they emulate the manner in which the universe operates in the energetic realms of both the microcosm and macrocosm.

Bienert’s use of both organic shapes and pixelated forms serve as references to living organisms as well as the world of technology. These patterns cohabitate in harmony, often superimposed upon the other, to create a reverie of unpredictable movement and transparent effects.

Kari Bienert, Adagio Story, oil on canvas, 47-1/4” x 47-1/4”.
Kari Bienert, Adagio Story, oil on canvas, 47-1/4” x 47-1/4”.

The Influence of Music, Precision and Instinct

Bienert emphasizes that music plays an important role in her source of inspiration.  As we can see in “Adagio Story”, like a perfectly composed symphony her creative process integrates a balance of innate precision and spontaneity.

The artist relies on quick decisions as well as instinct to bring a fresh diversity to her compositions. The brush becomes more than a tool… She refers to it an extension of her body that is guided by the beat of her heart, as well as the quiet melody that exists in her mind.

Kari Bienert, The Story, oil on linen, 35-1/2” x 78-3/4”.
Kari Bienert, The Story, oil on linen, 35-1/2” x 78-3/4”.

Her Unique Innovative Style

Bienert brings an extensive mastery of color theory, innate sense of rhythm, and compositional elements to each painting.  As an abstract painter she is an optical illusionist whose art defies spacial limitations. Her art is visual poetry bursting forth with relentless energetic expression.

Indeed, Bienert has developed her own visual vocabulary and inimitable style. With utmost proficiency she invites us to view the world as a magical, fluid and invigorating panorama.  Through her paintings we experience our universe with a new expansive and compelling perspective.

Kari Bienert
Kari Bienert, Colour Babies (Garden for the Children, oil on canvas, 78.7″ x 35.4″. Featured as the banner image.

Visit Kari Bienert’s website at www.karibienert.com

Join Kari Bienert in Social Media
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/karibienertartist
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/karibienert

Jane Caminos ~ Featured Artist Award-Winner

Featured Artist Article by Renée Phillips

Jane Caminos has long been highly recognized as a proficient realist painter known for having “the spirit of the raconteur”. Her bold command of color, design and composition in several mediums captures our immediate attention and keeps us enthralled. That feat is  easy for the prolific artist who has many huge messages to communicate.

Caminos
Jane Caminos, Grenade, oil and colored pencil, 24″ x 30″

Winner of First Place Featured Artist Award in The Healing Power of ART Exhibition

An artist activist, Caminos is driven by a purpose to raise awareness about the vitally important issues that are in dire need of social change. Because of her extraordinary talent and purpose she was selected to win the Featured Artist Award in “The Healing Power of ART 2016” juried competition. From the several hundred entries we received Caminos’ art was the most compelling. It is an honor to share her powerful art and story with our Manhattan Arts International audience.

When Caminos submitted her entries to the juried exhibition she wrote, “I am stronger than the fear and pain I experience as a disabled  cancer survivor. I am a narrative painter of women across all cultures whose lives contain more fear and pain than my own. By telling their stories, I become empowered to increase awareness of suffering in those who are unaware; I am free of fear in living.”

Her Source of Motivation

Jane Caminos, One of Three, oil and colored pencil, 24" x 30".
Jane Caminos, One of Three, oil and colored pencil, 24″ x 30″.

Several years ago, after watching a PBS documentary about the brutality and lack of freedom endured by women around the world, Caminos was motivated to use her art as a voice of protest. She states, “I believe it’s the responsibility of artists to use their talent as a means of changing the world for the better.” That event sparked the inception of her major ongoing series, “On Women Bound”.

This major collection of work exposes the violence perpetrated against girls and women throughout the world focusing on such issues as acid maiming, breast ironing, female genital mutilation, wartime rape, rape in the United States military and in colleges, sex trafficking, and more.

Jane Caminos, Up on the Roofie, oil and colored pencil, 24" x 30".
Jane Caminos, Up on the Roofie, oil and colored pencil, 24″ x 30″.

The artist who champions womens’ rights proclaims, “It would be an easy matter to choose horrific scenes that shock and disgust, but with respect for these suffering women, I’ve decided to choose a more mannered approach. Although many of the paintings carry a narrative that can be uncomfortable to deal with, the message must express the demand that these gender specific crimes can no longer be ignored.”

Many Career Accomplishments

Manhattan Arts International is not the first venue where Caminos’ art has been featured. The artist and her art have appeared in many publications including the front page of the Boston Globe Sunday Edition, Tribeca Trib,
 At the Edge Magazine,  and the Kessler Foundation calendar, among others. Her art has been published in several exhibition catalogues.

Jane Caminos, “Saint Malala”, mixed media, 29" x 29".
Jane Caminos, “Saint Malala”, mixed media, 29″ x 29″.

Her extensive career, has included many solo and juried group exhibitions that have taken place at Arc Gallery, Chicago; Phoenix Gallery, New York, NY; Gallery U, Westfield, NJ; and Overlook Medical Center, Summit, NJ; among others. She has also had several exhibitions with the National Women’s Caucus for Art, a leading women’s arts organization. Her artwork was selected for the important “Social Justice” juried exhibition presented by Cornett-Gutfreund Unite Women, Inc, in Santa Maria, CA,

Caminos has also created another highly recognized body of work that depicts women from other generations. Her subjects are often pulled from family albums. In her inimitable style, these paintings do not merely reproduce the photographs. They narrate the stories of the subjects with the inclusion of an assortment of “props” from animals and fruits to a variety of foods, such as fried eggs or pasta, perhaps shrimp floating in the air, set in lush, decorative landscapes.

Jane Caminos, Empower Me, oil, acrylic gouache, colored pencil, 36” x 28”.
Jane Caminos, Empower Me, oil, acrylic gouache, colored pencil, 36” x 28”.

Education and Professional Background

Jane Caminos received her BFA from Rhode Island School of Design and worked in the book publishing trade in Boston and New York for many years before she established an independent design and illustration studio. The narrative themes that have made her so popular can be traced to vast experience as an illustrator.

We hope by sharing Caminos’ art and intentions with you that her art can continue to serve as a catalyst for bringing about positive change. She deserves and receives our highest esteem and support.

Visit Jane Caminos’ website at www.janecaminos.com

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Bren Sibilsky Creates Poetic Sculpture and Drawings

She is A Creative Visionary and Seeker of Truth

By Renée Phillips

Bren Sibilsky working on her sculpture Aphrodite
Bren Sibilsky working on her sculpture Aphrodite

For artist Bren Sibilsky there is no subject that is beyond her extraordinary capabilities. She is equally proficient in creating animated poetic sculpture of full standing figures, equestrian statues, portraits, and small scale reliefs.

The international full-time artist has attracted many collectors from North America and Europe. She demonstrates artistic prowess beyond her years and has consistently won multiple awards in a range of mediums throughout her accomplished career. She is also the founder and an instructor at the Algoma Atelier of Sculpture and Art, in Wisconsin.

Artwork is copyright protected by the artist. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without the artist’s permission.

Click on images for larger views.

Bren Sibilsky
Bren Sibilsky, Esoteric Promises, Clay for Bronze, 10.5″ x 19″

“I Work With the Alchemy of Sculpture”

As a self-proclaimed “seeker of truth and of our place in the universe” Sibilsky, a creative visionary, cracks open the veneer of myth, mystery and legend with inimitable bravura. She unveils a palpable reality that transcends the physical properties of her forms and materials. As the artist states, “As I work with the alchemy of sculpture, I am forever amazed by the magic of nature.”

She explores the meaning of our existence and the life cycles of change and evolution. This is particularly apparent in “Esoteric Promises”. This sculpture won the First Place Cash Award in the Manhattan Arts International “The Healing Power of ART 2016” juried exhibition.

Bren Sibilsky
Bren Sibilsky, Fishers of Men, clay, 28” x 12” x 11”.

Her sculpture “Fishers of Men” was featured  in “The Healing Power of ART” 2015 exhibition and won a First Place Award from Manhattan Arts International.

Through her skillful hands that are guided by acute sensitivity she illuminates her subjects’ intrinsic beauty, grandeur and magnificence.

Sibilsky pushes classical subjects to daring emotive heights. She is capable of portraying a range of expressions. It is abundantly clear that she creates animated poetry in form, whatever medium she chooses.

Her emotive story-telling process through sculpture  is shared through contrast, balance and harmony – complete with motion and stillness, smooth and tactile surfaces, open space and detail, and softness with strength.

Bren Sibilsky sculpture
Bren Sibilsky, Young Friesian Stallion, bronze on granite, 15″ x 8″ x 5″

She Expresses The Power of Grace, Will and Triumph

The exuberant and awe-inspiring bronze sculpture “Young Friesian Stallion” conveys an ever-victorious power of grace, will and triumph. The artist, who owns horses, imbues each horse she sculpts with the love and devotion she has for her own animals. It is no surprise that she is the most sought after sculptor for fellow horse owners and has created many commissioned works of art.

In her style of classical representation with baroque undertones Sibilsky has created an ongoing series of timeless mythological figures.

Bren Sibilsky, Sculptor
Bren Sibilsky, Aphrodite, clay for bronze, 67″ x 24″ x 20″

Sibilsky’s award-winning and beloved “Aphrodite” turns her torso and stretches her arms above her head in a graceful ballet posture while a translucent veil delicately wraps her body and swirls around her legs. This idealized figure symbolizes love, balance, beauty, and femininity while it reverberates with an undulating crescendo of power and exaltation.

“Aphrodite” was selected for the “Love” exhibition sponsored by the prestigious National Sculpture Society.

Bren Sibilsky
Bren Sibilsky, Messenger’s Flight of the Soul, charcoal and conte, 18” x 15”.

Her charcoal drawing “Messenger’s Flight of the Soul” won an Artist Showcase Award in “The Healing Power of ART 2015 ” online exhibition.

Her artwork is  a profound metaphor for what might be one’s emergence from the shrouds of cloaked superficiality to the flowering of wisdom, discovery and self-actualization.

Many Commissioned Portraits in Demand

Bren Sibilsky sculpture
Portrait of Francis Hardy by Bren Sibilsky

Sibilsky’s portraits are imbued with a compelling likeness due to her keen observation of detail. More importantly they inform us of a visible form of the spiritual self and depth of humanism. Simply stated, she not only conveys her subjects’ characteristics she exposes their inner persona as well.

In viewing “Francis Hardy” we witness a kind of metaphysical essence in this portrait that pays homage to a beloved artist. As we come face to face with his animated countenance and dignified stature we can almost see him breathing. This work of art exemplifies Sibilsky’s virtuosic mastery of modeling in clay.

“Father” Wins An Award of Excellence

Bren Sibilsky
Father, charcoal and conte pencil, 14″ x 12″, received an Award of Excellence.

A graduate of the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design with honors Sibilsky is also an expert in drawing and painting.

“Father”, a sensitive drawing that captures her father in a private and poignant moment in time, recently won an Award of Excellence in the Manhattan Arts International “Celebrate The Healing Power of Art” juried exhibition. This work of art in charcoal and conte pencil was selected by Lilly Wei, art critic for Art in America magazine, who served as the co-juror with me for this highly competitive international competition.

Bren Sibilsky
Daedalus (two views), terracotta and patina, 22” x 13” x 12”. This is a magnificent example of Sibilsky’s expression of myth and expert story-telling capabilities.

Sibilsky’s Additional Career Achievements

Among her many honors and awards include those from Manhattan Arts International, International ARC Salon™ and the National Sculpture Society, New York, N.Y.

Sibilsky’s many one-person and group exhibitions include those at: the Miller Art Museum; Koehline Museum; Fairfield Museum; Cedarburg Cultural Center; Plymouth Art Center; The Francis Hardy Gallery; and Arc Gallery; among others.

She has been interviewed on WBDK radio and featured in many publications including the Resorter Reporter, Peninsula Pulse, and Professional Artist magazine.

As viewers of her art we experience a sense of wonder and anticipation with each new encounter. We witness the unfolding of new mysteries and truths as she awakens our potential for transformation and transcendence. That is what we expect from masterful works of art and Bren Sibilsky most certainly delivers.

Visit Bren Sibilsky’s website at www.brensculpture.com/

Photographers Share Their Visions

Teri Leigh Teed, Dana Klein, and Martha Coaty

So much has transpired in the world of photography since around 1800, when Thomas Wedgwood made the first known attempt to capture the image in a camera obscura by means of a light-sensitive substance. The following members of Manhattan Arts International have chosen photography as their medium. Here, we share their creative visions and sources of inspiration.

Banner image: Photograph by Teri Leigh Teed.
Click on image for larger view.
Click on artists’ name to visit their pages.

Teri Leigh Teed

Teri Leigh Teed, Edge of the Forest, Treetops, photograph
Teri Leigh Teed, Edge of the Forest, Treetops, photograph

Teri Leigh Teed  “cajoles the camera to paint the subtle and lyrical qualities of Nature’s canvas.” She captures tranquil landscapes, woods, and water scenes that take us to mystical worlds.

The artist, who lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina,  writes, “When walking through a forest, the Light and the Spirit of the Place leads me to the right moment in time and the right subject for the photograph. I believe that the healing energies of a place are channeled into the photograph, the stories, poetry and songs, and reach out to the viewer and audience and inspire them to open their hearts and minds for the union with the Divine.”

Sharing her stories and artwork with the world is part of her life mission. “My sincere hope is that these personal gifts will help you find your own inner peace, and perhaps bring a remembrance of who you are.”

Dana Klein

Dana Klein, Hope, Photography, 16” x 24”.
Dana Klein, Hope, Photography, 16” x 24”.

Photographer Dana Klein captures beauty and creates storytelling images with uplifting messages.

“I focus on capturing life and creating magical images using natural light. I specialize in stylized whimsical shoots tailored to the unique vision of my clients.” Her photographic sessions begin with a rough sketch of her and her client’s vision, and  ends “with my customized detailed editing technique that makes each and every image a work of art.”

She has a special mission as a photographer. “I have combined my love for art and passion for photography to create storytelling images with uplifting messages of hope, strength and resilience. My work features breast cancer survivors and the important message they want to embrace and share with others.”

Martha Coaty

Martha Coaty, Revival, photograph 16" x 24".
Martha Coaty, Revival, photograph 16″ x 24″.

Martha Coaty has been a photographer for over 30 years, specializing in fine art photography of Door County Wisconsin as well as outdoor photography of Northern Wisconsin.

“Images that are meaningful to me are those that exude an emotion of affection, survival, sadness or joy. I love the happy appeal of color and the broodiness of black and white.”

None of her images are staged. She explains, “Simplicity narrows my approach when finding geometric shapes and color on the landscape. I use stillness to represent the peacefulness of my subjects. I feel connected to my images in a spiritual sense of how I got there, or why I was there to record what I saw. ”

Visit our Art and Artists’ page for more art, artists and featured artists articles.

What Inspires An Artist?

Have you ever looked at an artists’ work of art and wondered what inspired them? What personal impulses guide them to choose the style, medium, subject matter, and forms they use to express themselves? What do they strive to convey to viewers?

The banner image is a painting by Kimberly Forness Wilson.
Click on artists’ images for larger views.
Click on artists’ names to visit their pages.

Carolyn Cohen

Carolyn Cohen
Carolyn Cohen, The Lost (Boy), hand embroidered batik, 20” x 14”.

Carolyn Cohen’s work consists of batiks that have then been hand painted and hand embroidered. The processes are layered together in the same way that the colors are layered, making it difficult to see where one stops and the next begins.

The artist has a powerful purpose for creating the art she does. “The subject matter of my work is the brutalization of women, children and LGBTQ individuals throughout the world. They provide faces to those who are faceless, nameless and powerless. and comment upon the blind eye that is turned to those who are suffering.”

The beauty that the process bring to the images creates a tension with the savagery of the subject matter; in admiring the works, the viewer becomes almost complicit in the abuse.

Carolyn Cohen won an Artist Showcase Award in the Manhattan Arts International Hot Topics – Bold Expressions exhibition.

Casey Shannon

Casey Shannon
Casey Shannon, Peace, Sumi ink and Japanese Watercolor on Mulberry Paper, 18″ x 14″.

Sumi-e is a 2,000 year-old art form of Japanese brush painting, spiritually rooted in Zen Buddhism. Although Shannon follows the traditional sumi-e principles and philosophies she pushes beyond the traditional limitations of this specialized ancient method.

As a devoted student of Western painting and of Eastern ink painting Shannon  creates her own unique contemporary style that merges East with West. The artist has the ability to express the essence and poetry of her subjects that originate from a pure and joyful heart. Her  magical images leap off the paper and become cherished, timeless treasures.

“Sumi-e expresses the character and soul of the artist. It is a meditative process that I consider spiritually personal. Understanding this concept is the center of my art. I strive to ‘become one’ with the object in the painting. I continue to increase my understanding of the secret of beauty, grace and elegance with each painting.”

Diane Husson

Diane Husson
Diane Husson, Ancient Wisteria Bench, welded steel frame with fiber reinforced concrete, 75″ x 45″ x 16″.

To create her nature-inspired sculptural art Diane Husson uses the rare process of concrete “faux bois” (“false wood” in French). It involves the adept layering of concrete over a steel armature.

After 10 years as a painter and illustrator she took a  tile-making workshop which inspired her to  study figurative sculpture at the Florence Academy of Art in Italy.

“As a sculptor, I am constantly drawn to the haunting quality of that crossroads where nature whispers about the spiritual world,” she explains.

Husson intends for her sculptural forms to “emerge as artifacts from an ancient civilization where the boundaries between nature and the spirit world were paper thin, and some secret wisdom is waiting patiently to be rediscovered.”

Sue Miller

Sue Miller, Havana in Transition, oil, 20" x 32".
Sue Miller, Havana in Transition, oil, 20″ x 32″.

Miller’s main focus is urban landscapes and she excels at recreating the unique color and characteristics and cultural aspects of the locale she visits. She states, “Inspired by places I have visited, I aim to capture the effects of light on colors and forms as I have witnessed all over the globe. ”

She takes time mixing colors to achieve the ideal hue and tone, and explains, “For me, painting provides a total break from reality, by immersing my energies, thoughts, and complete focus into the time and place of the work’s subject.”

“Painting has helped me to indulge in a deeper mindfulness while visiting new locations around the world. This has allowed me to better absorb and appreciate the full experience of what I have seen, heard, and felt—to more fully perceive and understand each unique and inspiring place.”

Esther Sternberg

Esther Sternberg, "Ocean 2015", oil on canvas, 30" x 40".
Esther Sternberg, Ocean 2015, oil on canvas, 30″ x 40″.

New York artist Esther Sternberg creates expressive and colorful paintings of landscapes, water scenes, florals and portraits. Born in Russia, she has lived in Poland and Israel. Her diverse cultural background has influenced her unique, bold style as a contemporary Impressionist.

Sternberg takes photographs that interest her, and then she loads up her brush and palette knife with oil paint on canvas to bring a rich impasto effect that begs to be touched.

She explains, “I love the pureness of pigment, the richness of oil paint, and its soft texture when I mold it on the canvas.” She strives to bring an interplay of intense movement to her art work, arranged in dancelike forms, and to convey the emotion and moods of her subjects.

Kimberly Forness Wilson

Kimberly Forness Wilson
Kimberly Forness Wilson, Animagination, watercolor and gouache, 24″ x 20″

Kimberly Forness Wilson is a multi-talented artist, singer/songwriter and inventor. Her whimsical and dreamlike abstract paintings radiate a symphony of color, movement and fluidity.

Inspiration for her art originates from nature, music and dreams in addition to her cultural influences that include Scandinavian, Native American, Hawaiian and Asian.

She states, “There is frequently an inner musical accompaniment so I move between art, lyric and song. It is an ecstatic experience and I hope it translates to the viewer.”

A strong motivation behind her art is her belief in the healing power it provides.  Her personal transformation evolved over the years when the arts appeared to be “the only powerful tool for her personal change and healing.”  She shares the healing power of the creative process in her art and healing workshops.

 

Innovative Artists Who Enjoy Challenges

Pushing The Creative Boundaries

Innovative artists who embrace the challenge of using difficult materials or fusing mediums are often pioneers in new creative realms.  Here are some of the  members of Manhattan Arts International who fit that description.

Click on images for larger views.
Click on artists’ names to visit their pages to learn more about them.

Gunilla Löfgren– Reversed Alchemical Processes

Gunilla Lofgren
Gunilla Löfgren, Energy Green, mixed media, 12″ x 12″.

Gunilla Löfgren’s imaginative use of materials positions her among leading contemporary artists.  The artist from Sweden  applies reversed alchemical processes and incorporates such diverse materials as Salix, textiles, sculpture, thread, metal leaf, and earth.

She has been known to use wasp nests, metal leaf, and mirrors in her artwork. One such mixed media painting recently won an Award of Excellence in Manhattan Arts International’s “HERStory” exhibition.

Nancy Staub Laughlin – Pastels and Photography

Nancy Staub Laughlin
Nancy Staub Laughlin, Sprinkling of Glow and Flurries, pastel on paper, photographs 25 x 32.

Nancy Staub Laughlin, who has been reviewed in The New York Times, has created a new concept of the “still life” working with pastels on paper and photography.

The artist from New Jersey applies many layers of juxtaposing elements, such as photographs of a landscape in different seasons and detailed photographs of glowing or glittering moments.  After photographing her “stills”, she incorporates the photograph into the pastels to complete the final drawings.

Frantisek Strouhal – Lithography and Paint

Frantisek Strouhal
Frantisek Strouhal, Aurora, oil printing and lithography inks on paper, 24” x 20”.

Canadian artist Frantisek Strouhal creates “Art Embracing Awareness” in mixed media that captures figures in dreamlike metaphysical realms. His choices of brushes, papers, textures and lithographic inks determine the quality of his images. It takes him many hours to build up a depth of ink, layer by layer, to create the desired image.

He explains, “The processes I use are slow but intense; the result is an image that asks for that time back from the viewer. “

Artists Honor Their Mothers

As we read how these artists honor their mothers we might realize for many artists every day should be “Mother’s Day”.

Celebrate all the “Mothers” in your life — whether they’re related or not. All the women who have nurtured you, have given you unconditional love and support, and encouraged you to follow your dreams and passions and pursuit of being an artist.

All artists featured here are members of Manhattan Arts International.

Banner: Left: Gustav Klimt, detail from The Three Ages of Woman Mother and Child. Right: Mary Cassatt, Mother and Child (The Oval Mirror).

Click on Artists’ Names to visit their pages.
Click on images to view enlargements.

Martha Coaty

Martha Coaty
Martha Coaty, Industrial Chartreuse, photograph, 16″ x 20″.

“My mom is my biggest fan. ‘Martha’s my artist’,  she says. She showed everyone the giraffe painting I came home with in eighth grade and the key chain I made for her is still on her key ring. Her dining room was my gallery for practice art shows. Without my mom’s three words, I might have drifted away from being an artist. Now, my biggest joy is having her at art openings and seeing the sparkle in her eyes.”

Linda S. Watson

Linda S. Watson, Beneath the Surface (from the "Water Series"), acrylic on canvas, 13” x 13”.
Linda S. Watson, Beneath the Surface (from the “Water Series”), acrylic on canvas, 13” x 13”.

“My mother always made sure I had plenty of art supplies. Crayons, pencils, drawing paper and coloring books were readily available to me at any time. I never had rules regarding my art, such as ‘you can color when you are done cleaning your room’. I could create anywhere throughout the house even in the middle of the living room or all over the kitchen table”.

Ann Dunbar

Ann Dunbar, Spring Blossom Walk, mixed media and embroidery on paper, 18″x18″
Ann Dunbar, Spring Blossom Walk, mixed media and embroidery on paper, 18″x18″

“If it was not for my mum, I would not have been an artist. She encouraged my drawing. When I received my first paint box I painted a horse, as I knew she loved them. When I saw the pleasure on her face when she peered at that horse and the love and dedication she offered so that I will succeed in my studies, I felt my destiny was clear.”

Mary Lou Dauray

Mary Lou Dauray
Mary Lou Dauray, “Iceberg Wasteland”, cropped detail of the triptych, oil on linen.

“I remember how my mother painstakingly put together many small 8″ x 8″ dioramas representing daily life. By watching her and being fascinated (by her process) she taught me patience and care while creating artwork.”

Lisa Freidus

Lisa Freidus
Lisa Freidus, Just Imagine, 3-D mixed media collage, 38″ x 32″ x 3″.

“Mother’s Day was every day with my mother. A woman of many talents she had a beautiful voice, great style, and an amazing eye for design. I inherited her ability to sing and I also developed a design sense which I incorporate into my artwork. When creating my whimsical paintings I hear music, which I use to spread joy within my compositions. It’s a wonderful connection I have with my mother.”

Interview With Artist Mary Lou Dauray

Special Recognition Second Place Cash Award Winner in “HERStory 2016”

Featured Artist Interview conducted by Renée Phillips

Mary Lou Dauray is an award-winning environmental artist, writer, activist and blogger who lives in Sausalito, California. The artist recently won a Special Achievement Second Place Cash Award and Featured Artist Interview from Manhattan Arts International in its “HERStory 2016” juried exhibition. She received this award for her ongoing series of art and articles that help to raise awareness about climate destruction, pollution, and global warming.

Her art work varies from realistic to semi-abstract with sizes as small as 6” x 8” to as large as 54” x 54″.

Mary Lou Dauray creating a painting from her Coal Burning series.
Mary Lou Dauray creating a painting from her Coal Burning series.

As an artist who is highly proficient in many mediums, Dauray communicates powerful messages while also creating paintings of extraordinary beauty. Her mastery of composition and color dominates any subject and series she chooses to explore.

Mary Lou Dauray’s art work is in numerous collections around the globe including the Sophie Davis Medical School, City College of New York, and many private collections. Her many exhibitions  include those at the Virginia Art Museum,  University of Southern California Institute for Genetic Medicine Art Gallery in Los Angeles, CA, and Runnymede Corporate Headquarters, VA.

In this interview she shares information about her “Nuclear Series”, “Ocean Series” and “Coal Series”.

All rights reserved. Do not copy any images without the artist’s permission. Click on images for larger views.

Mary Lou Dauray
Mary Lou Dauray, “Iceberg Wasteland”, cropped portion of the triptych, oil on linen.

Mary Lou, one of the first paintings I saw of yours is “Iceberg Wasteland”, from your “Ocean Series”. Would you share some information about the painting and the Iceberg series?

MLD:  “Iceberg Wasteland” is a large triptych painting that I created for a two-person exhibition “Aging People/Aging Planet”, presented at the University of Southern California Institute for Genetic Medicine Art Gallery in Los Angeles, California.  It is one of the paintings from my series of Iceberg paintings that were shown at the Olympics in London under the auspices of “Art of the Olympians” to tie in with an environmental panel discussing the impact of climate change.

This series is devoted to raise awareness about the disappearing huge ice fields, giant glaciers and sea ice due to massive pollution residue from the burning of fossil fuels.

This painting also received an Award of Excellence from Manhattan Arts International’s “Celebrate The Healing Power of ART” juried competition and exhibition in 2013 that was juried by Jill Conner, NY art critic/curator; Barbara Markoff, art consultant/gallery owner; and Renee Phillips, director, Manhattan Arts International.

Mary Lou Dauray, Burning Coal, Train, oil, 40" x 30.
Mary Lou Dauray, Burning Coal, Train, oil, 40″ x 30.

What was the catalyst that brought about your “Coal Series”?

MLD: I decided to pursue this direction after a visit to Czestochowa, Poland. While on a train there I viewed a carbon black lake surrounded by rings of dead black trees. I knew without a doubt that this situation was caused by pollution from the burning of coal and I became sick to my stomach. The more I learn about coal the more I know that I need to use my art to bring attention to this serious pollution situation.

Coal plants are the nation’s top source of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and the primary cause of global warming.  Burning coal is also a leading cause of smog, acid rain, and toxic air pollution.

Mary Lou Dauray, Black Bird, acrylic, 24" x 24".
Mary Lou Dauray, Black Bird, acrylic, 24″ x 24″.

What led to your current  “Nuclear Series?

MLD: In the Japanese Fukushima Prefecture you cannot help but glance around and see at least 54,000 very organized stacks holding more than 9 million neatly packed plastic storage bags. These enormous black sealed bags are filled with radioactive soil and all kinds of sizzling waste collected since the Fukushima Daiishi triple nuclear meltdown on March 11, 2011.

The painting (shown above)  “Black Bird” depicts only one of 30 million plastic storage bags stuffed with radioactive waste in the Fukushima area in Japan. These bags are part of a seemingly futile effort to clean up contaminated soil in the area. In the bottom right corner of my painting you can see a little black bird. It refers to what appears to be an gradual decline of the bird population as a direct result of the triple nuclear power plant meltdown. There is now a dead zone in the area.

“Black Bird” is currently being shown in the “HERStory 2016” exhibition, and won the Special Recognition Second Place Cash Award.

Mary Lou Dauray, “Erupting Geyser”, oil on canvas, 30” x 24″.
Mary Lou Dauray, “Erupting Geyser”, oil on canvas, 30” x 24″.

Please tell us what inspired another powerful and expressive painting of yours titled  “Erupting Geyser”

MLD: On one of my trips to Iceland I was in awe of the rough, raw beauty and at the same time felt an underlying nervousness that Mother Nature could destroy it at any moment. The air was pristine and the creative industries there are among the biggest in the country. The sky and light were memorable and the steaming geysers gave evidence of the immense amount of thermal power under the land.

What keeps you motivated to tackle such difficult topics?
As an artist I am creating works that bring a very different approach and view than what is found in the scientific and academic worlds. I know that art has the power to challenge me and also to change the world to make it a better place.

Visit Mary Lou Dauray’s page in the Artist Showcase Gallery: www.manhattanarts.com/Mary-Lou-Dauray-paintings

Listen to an interview with Mary Lou Dauray in Mrs. Green’s World http://www.mrsgreensworld.com/2016/02/11/art-speaks-nuclear-energy/

Visit Mary Lou Dauray’s website www.maryloudauray.com/

Artists Take Us On A Fantasy Day Journey

How Would You Spend A Day With A Famous Artist From The Past?

Martha Coaty, Keith Morant,  Bren Sibilsky, and Cynthia Lund Torroll  take us on a fantastic journey through time and space as they describe their fantasy day with their favorite artists.

All artists are members of the Manhattan Arts International Artist Showcase Gallery.

Banner image is a painting by Keith Morant.
Click on artists’ names to visit their pages.

Martha Coaty

Martha Coaty
Martha Coaty, Industrial Chartreuse, photograph, 16″ x 20″.

When Georgia O’Keeffe boarded the train for Taos to find new subjects, I pretend I was on the car with her.  We talked about her technique of acquiring smooth surfaces in her paintings.  Georgia told me there is photographic influence on her paintings, specifically cropping which is evident in her flowers.

I’m from Wisconsin too, I told her.  She described the rural influence on her paintings and most specifically how she longed to find vast subjects in the open west. Between the photographic influence and painting from her current environment, I sensed her spirit and felt kindred.

O’Keeffe assured me that fear is real and reacting to what I see or sense with self-trust and tangible effort is the artist’s only solution to quell the nerves.

Keith Morant

keith morant
Keith Morant, Speranza, mixed media on canvas, 36″ x 28″.

It is June, 1978 and I am in Madrid with Joan Miro. He is 85 years old and we are viewing a collection of his works prior to his first Spanish retrospective exhibition. He smiles at me and says: “This show is a good summing up of my life. I’m moved at coming among my children, even the most rebellious of them like this.”

We stop before his “Still Life with Rabbit” (1920) and I ask him about the strangely coloured bird. He smiles wistfully and says: “That rooster was torture. There was absolutely no way to keep him quiet. Finally, he just fell into place and there he is.”

“Just like you.” I commented.

He grins and whispers: “Tal es el progreso del arte.” (Such is the progress of art.)

Bren Sibilsky

Bren Sibilsky
Bren Sibilsky, Fishers of Men, clay, 28” x 12” x 11”.

Anne Hyatt Huntington and I would start the day having breakfast at a N.Y. cafe before heading off to her studio with Brenda Putnam, who shares the studio with her. The three of us would borrow a N.Y. city carriage horse to sculpt. Anne would fill me in on all the things a good equine sculptor should know about sculpting dynamic animals in motion. Anne would also give me tips on how a woman can open doors to creating powerful monumental sculpture.

We three would be fierce, sculpting well into the evening while conversing about life, art and future possibilities.

The day would end with wine, laughter and a promise of doing this again in the future.

Cynthia Lund Torroll

Cynthia Lund Torroll
Cynthia Lund Torroll, Ascent, pencil on paper, 20″ x 7″.

1939 –I spend an evening with Frida Kahlo when she is in France. She’s not in the best of health, so we opt to stay in her apartment, which has been lent by a close friend of Marcel Duchamp. I have tea. She has tequila. She shows me sketches for a new painting and tells me about the work that will be in “Mexique”, the exhibition that Marcel helped arrange for her at Galerie Renou et Colle.

She demands to see my sketchbook. So excited, she leaps up, knocking down the tea table. We both laugh.

She insists that I show it to her friends the next night at dinner. (Kandinsky, Picasso and many in Andre Breton’s Surrealistic circle, including Max Ernst and Joan Miró.)

Artists Share Their Colorful Inspiration

Artists know that color affects your behavior, moods, and thoughts.  They know that certain colors have the ability to lift your spirits, soothe your frazzled nerves,  motivate and empower you to take action, and even bring healing energy to ailing patients. In this article two very different artists share their colorful inspiration.

Interesting Facts about Color
Indeed color is a powerful force of energy. As Wassily Kandinsky proclaimed, “Color provokes a psychic vibration. Color hides a power still unknown but real, which acts on every part of the human body.”

Florence Nightingale observed, “Variety of form and brilliancy of color in the object presented to patients are an actual means of recovery.”

Bring The Power of Color Into Your Life

While you enjoy viewing the artists work, and read their statements please also visit their pages and websites. Bring their art into your life!

Kari Bienert

Kari Bienert
Kari Bienert, Colour Babies (Garden for the Children, oil on canvas, 78.7″ x 35.4″.

Kari Bienert is an Australian painter who excels in the use of color configurations and the art of transforming geometric and curvilinear forms.  As a Color Field painter Bienert pursues color relationships with fervor.  Her color palette is innovative and complex. She mixes more than 25 different oil paints to create every color in her painting.

Arthur Jacob

Arthur Jacob, Dehlia II, creative photography.
Arthur Jacob, Dehlia II, creative photography.

Arthur Jacob is a creative fine art photographer who has been described as an artist who tests the limits of photography, deconstructing reality in swirling patterns and  glowing colors that render the known world mysteriously new. The artist who lives in Cape Coral, Florida states, “I ask you to accompany me in a journey of discovery that explores shapes, colors and movement.”

Visit his page.

Jill Pankey

JillPankey, Strut Your Inner Muse, oil on canvas, 48” x 60”.
Jill Pankey, Strut Your Inner Muse, oil on canvas, 48” x 60”.

The intention of this work is to focus on the female form in a variety of settings, interactions and body types (endomorph, ectomorph, and mesomorph). I am exploring an underlying provocative theme of the aging female with a focus on color, sometimes pattern, and movement. Her compositions encompass, as she explains, “an interaction with the figure in a variety of settings where the figure has no age.”

Visit her page.

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Want to see more Art?
 Visit Manhattan Arts International Art and Artists Page.

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Interview With Artist Susanne Buckler

First Place Special Recognition Award-Winner in “HERStory 2016”

Featured Artist Article

“It is important that this project empowers and unites all women.”
~ Susanne Buckler (about her Vagina Dialogs series)

Susanne Buckler
Susanne Buckler

Susanne Buckler is an award-winning photographer, video artist, “Process Artist” and mixed media artist who lives and works in New York, NY. Her several in-depth series which she refers to as “Still Life Stories”, provide profound insight into the human condition.

She won the First Place Special Recognition Cash Award in Manhattan Arts International “HERStory 2016” because of her artistic excellence and breath and depth of her art. She submitted images  from her “Vagina Dialogs”, her most recent project.

The artist is also a member of the Manhattan Arts International Artist Showcase Gallery. Visit her page here.

Banner image: Susanne Buckler, I Just Go For It/ T’s Favorite Part. Deconstructed portraits derived from a video series in response to the recurring question; which are the favorite parts of your body? Digitally printed on paper or fabric.

All rights reserved. Do not copy any images without the artist’s permission. Click on images for larger views.

Susanne Buckler, Vagina Dialogs/ Love is More Important Than Sex/Triptych, Inkject on silk and paper, 17” x 22". Larger sizes available.
Susanne Buckler, Vagina Dialogs/ Love is More Important Than Sex/Triptych, Inkject on silk and paper, 17” x 22″. Larger sizes available.

All of her digital images are printed on Canson Paper and Translucent Silk in various sizes.  Her art is in personal collections around the world. She has been featured in many publications such as Photo District News, The Wonderful World of Photography, Photo Design Magazine, Ad Directions and others. In American Photographer magazine writer David Kalish stated, “Susanne Buckler records beauty with her intuitive eyes and her moving imagination.”

The artist earned a BFA from The Maryland Institute, College of Art and also attended Syracuse University. She taught at The School of Visual Arts, New York, NY.

The following interview contains excerpts from her comprehensive website used with her permission.

Susanne Buckler
Susanne Buckler, Quote, photograph, from the “Vagina Dialogs”.

Would you please describe your process for the series “Vagina Dialogs”?

SB: I begin by videoing and photographing women of all ages and ethnicities, dressed in their own simple black garments, that reveal only their hands, face and feet. I ask them a series of questions some being,”When did you first notice your body”? “Is it important for you to feel beautiful?” “If you could speak to your vagina what would you say?” and “Which are your favored parts of your body?” I then begin to feature those parts in a series of deconstructed portraits.

What do you hope to achieve with this series?

SB: It is important that this project empowers and unites all women. They seek to reveal the inner persona residing on the inside while the video interviews reflect a more predetermined criterion of questions, which reveal their personal responses as the interior person begins to emerge on the outside. This project offers women a common ground to go beyond not just the physical, but to their core, emotionally, through their own bodies.

Susanne Buckler
Susanne Buckler, Surprised Survival/Ablutions, each piece available individually. Signed limited editions, archival inkjet prints on paper and canvas. Available in sizes 17” x 22” and 48” x 60”.

What is the catalyst behind your “Surprised Survival” series?

SB: I have documented my highly personal struggle with a life-threatening illness. I have been in a continuous battle with a body that I feel has relentlessly betrayed me. The work is my reaction to a hard process and difficult situation. For this series I developed a specialized technique using digital photographs and changing ink on paper.

What do you hope to achieve in this series?

SB:  I view the artistic process as a liberating, creative journey of pure human expression. They are my memento mori. They are also my desire and hope for what can exist in the face of the ever-present looming uncertainty. It is my aspiration that these personal images can be a shared healing for myself and for others.

Susanne Buckler
Disposables/Flight. Signed limited editions, archival inkjet print on paper, 17” x 22”.

What inspired your “Disposables” series?

SB: Disposables, focuses on objects that are considered waste in our culture (plastic containers or toilet paper). In these compositions, I create intimate visual relationships with these un-treasured objects, emphasizing their luminosity, opacity, tactile qualities and their sheer beauty.

I can see shapes, forms and colors worth documenting in the juxtaposition of common everyday things that we only use once or twice and then discard. Chinese food containers, plastic bags as well as straws are all seen through different eyes. By photographing these things all jumbled together, I have given them new life, meaning and purpose.

Susanne Buckler, Botanical 1, photograph.
Susanne Buckler, Botanical 1, photograph.

Do you have any other series?

SB: My ongoing “Botanical” series captures some flowers in a discrete moment in time. Then they are gone. They are as compelling and as fragile as the human body and Chinese Food Containers. The process of capturing them work to extend their lives and beauty.

What are some of your current/upcoming exhibitions?

SB: “Same But Different”, NYC4PA, NYC, NY (online exhibition and in a printed catalog); Neoteric Abstract IV, Limner Gallery, Hudson, NY; “Boston Biennial 4”, Boston, MA; and of course HERStory 2016, Manhattan Arts International.

Visit Susanne Buckler’s website www.susannebuckler.com

Interview with Artist Barbara Rachko

Internationally Recognized Pastel Painter, Author and Blogger

Featured Artist Interview

“In showing what is possible artists cannot help but create a better society. Ours is essential work.” ~ Barbara Rachko

Barbara Rachko is an artist, author and blogger. She creates unique pastel-on-sandpaper paintings that are inspired by Mexican and Guatemalan cultural objects. Barbara is also an award-winning member of the Manhattan Arts International Artist Showcase Gallery. You can visit her page here.

Barbara Rachko
Barbara Rachko in her New York studio.

The internationally recognized full-time artist currently divides her time between residences in New York, NY and Alexandria, Virginia. She is represented by six galleries throughout the United States, has exhibits around the world, and continues to win accolades, awards and grants.

Rachko’s attraction to diverse cultural treasures has taken her on many travels to southern Mexico and Guatemala. There, she visits the local local mask shops, markets, and bazaars “searching for the figures that will later populate my pastel paintings and photographs.”

Barbara Rachko
Barbara Rachko, Motley, pastel-on-sandpaper painting, 38” x 58” image, 50” x 70” framed.

When she returns from her trips she reads as much as she can find about the objects, a preoccupation that imbues her art with a profound authenticity.

To create her unique and compelling compositions Rachko removes all of the non-essential background details are replaces them with an intense saturation of dark black pastel. As a result the figures become the dominant focal points — animated and personified.

Barbara Rachko’s Colored Dust Blog

Barbara Rachko's blog
Barbara Rachko’s blog

Rachko maintains an active blog on which she shares her perspective on pastel painting, photography, and the creative inspiration she finds in ancient Mesoamerican civilizations, mythology, and travel to remote places.

With her permission we share a few excerpts from her blog posts.

All rights reserved. Do not copy any images without the artist’s permission. Click on images for larger views.

What are some of your work habits?
BR: “I enjoy the physicality of art-making and prefer to stand at my easel so I can back up to see how a painting looks from a distance. I like being on my feet all day and getting some exercise.

In order to accomplish anything, artists need to be disciplined. I work five days a week, taking Wednesdays and Sundays off, and spend seven hours or more in the studio. Daylight is necessary so I work more hours in summer, fewer in winter. I deliberately don’t have a clock on the wall – art-making is independent of timetables – but I tend to work in roughly two-hour blocks before taking a break.

Studio hours are sacrosanct and exclusively for creative work. I keep my computer and mobile devices out of the studio. Art business activities – answering email, keeping up with social media, sending jpegs, writing blog posts, doing interviews, etc. – are mostly accomplished at home in the evenings and on days off.

“Provocateur,” soft pastel on sandpaper, 26″ x 20″
Barbara Rachko, “Provocateur,” soft pastel on sandpaper, 26″ x 20″

How important are the titles of your pastel paintings?

I’d say they are important. Titles serve mainly as “a way in” for viewers, giving some clues about my thought processes while I am making a painting. Usually titles emerge only after I have been working on a painting for weeks or months. For me they are very much like mementos after a very interesting journey.

Besides your art materials is there something you couldn’t live without in your studio?

BR: I would not want to work without music. Turning on the radio or the cd player is part of my daily ritual before heading over to the easel. (Next I apply barrier cream to my hands to prevent pastel being absorbed into my skin, put on a surgical mask, etc.). I generally listen to WFUV, WBGO, or to my cd collection while I’m working.

Listening and thinking about song lyrics is integral to my art-making process.

“She Embraced It and Grew Stronger,” soft pastel on sandpaper, 58″ x 38,” 2003
“She Embraced It and Grew Stronger,” soft pastel on sandpaper, 58″ x 38,” 2003

Is there a pastel painting that you are most proud of?

BR: Without a doubt I am most proud of “She Embraced It and Grew Stronger.”

After Bryan (her husband) was killed on 9/11, making art again seemed an impossibility. When he was alive I would spend weeks setting up and lighting the tableau I wanted to paint. Then Bryan would shoot two negatives using his Toyo-Omega 4 x 5 view camera. I would select one and order a 20″ x 24″ reference photo to be printed by a local photography lab.

“She Embraced It…” is the first large pastel painting that I created without using a photograph taken by Bryan. This painting proved that I had learned to use his 4 x 5 view camera to shoot the reference photographs that were (and still are) integral to my process. My life’s work could continue!

Certainly the title is autobiographical. ‘She’ in “She Embraced It and Grew Stronger” is me and ‘It’ means continuing on without Bryan and living life for both of us.

Barbara Rachko
Barbara Rachko, Epiphany, soft pastel on sandpaper 38″ x 58″.

What do you think is an artist’s chief responsibility?

BR: All serious artists have the responsibility of developing our unique and special gifts to the best of our abilities and sharing our creative output with an appreciative audience. In other words we do good work and then we educate, and often create, the audience for it. This is the demanding, all-important task that gets me out of bed every day.

In showing what is possible artists cannot help but create a better society. Ours is essential work.

Visit Barbara Rachko’s website at www.barbararachko.com
Visit Barbara Rachko’s blog at barbararachkoscoloreddust.com/

Abstract Art by Women Artists

Abstraction offers artists an unlimited and versatile supply of artistic tools and the  women artists featured in this article use full range of the possibilities. They are members of the Manhattan Arts International Artist Showcase Gallery. They share their statements about abstract art and what their art means to them.

Unlike representational art, abstraction allows the artists to translate a range of experiences, ideas and emotions without having to replicate the same physical characteristics of any subject.

The artistic process offers the artists freedom of expression; however, it requires knowledge of the basic components of color, composition, form and movement, and more. Once it is presented to viewers, it is open for personal interpretation.

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Herstory Exhibition of women artistsLearn about Manhattan Arts International’s Call For Women Artists.

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Please click on artists’ names to view their pages.

Cindy Walton

Cindy Walton
Cindy Walton, Letters to the Land, oil and cold wax on panel, 30″ x 30″.

Cindy Walton has developed highly personalized techniques in oil and cold wax that translate and transform nature and iconography. As a result, her paintings are transformative interpretations rather than literal renderings.

Her paintings have been exhibited in galleries across the United States, including the Asheville Art Museum, various colleges and universities.

Lilly Wei, art critic for Art in America, and independenct curator, selected her art from her “Bridge of Dreams” series, for the Manhattan Arts International “Celebrate The Healing Power of Art” exhibition in 2014.  The paintings from that series  “are a conversation with God during the final days of a friend’s life. The visual conversation seen throughout these works as well as others became a renewal of my soul and a celebration of my walk through life.”

About her art she states, “I am enthralled with layering of oil and cold wax medium. I have over the years developed highly personal perceptions and highly personalized techniques. I seek to project authentic intimate interpretations of the world which I encounter.””

Trixie Pitts

Trixie Pitts
Trixie Pitts, Outback, 2016, oil, 48″ x 48″.

New York, award-winning artist Trixie Pitts creates large lyrical paintings in the style of abstract expressionism. She often combines the use of graphite with her oil painting to achieve definition and composition. Her paintings may suggest references to the natural world but they unleash a freedom of color, movement and spontaneity.

Like many abstract artists the innate power of intuition and automatism play major roles in her process. As she explains, she waits for the emerging painting to tell her where to go. “To me being an artist means striving for the state of not knowing. That’s where the magic happens!”

Pitts refers to Larry Poons, the acclaimed abstract painter, who served as her mentor at the Art Students League. “Larry said once something about how you should feel like you don’t know what you are doing, it means you are doing something new. That makes a lot of sense to me and I really try to follow that when I paint.”

Nancy Reyner

Nancy Reyner, Hidden, acrylic on panel, 26" x 34".
Nancy Reyner, Hidden, acrylic on panel, 26″ x 34″.

Nancy Reyner creates luminous, otherworldly paintings that merge the literal and the metaphorical, hovering somewhere between pure abstraction and realistic landscape.  The artist , who resides in Santa Fe, NM, uses nature as a guiding principle to create new worlds of exceptional depth and beauty.

Nancy Reyner is also the author of several books, DVDs, and  presents sold-out workshops around the U.S., to share her unique techniques with others who want to emulate her bold, adventurous style.

Reyner states, “Earth, fire and water—elements of nature—are featured imagery in my work which form ‘energy fields’. Transparent layers of acrylic in unique ripple effects, highlighted by old Master glazing techniques, create otherworldly romantic landscapes that appear to dissolve into mist. Paint, combined with metal leaf and other reflective materials such as glass beads, results in a glowing seductive surface that begs the viewer to come closer and explore the intricacies of the painting.”

Gaya

Gaya
Gaya, Timeless, acrylic on canvas, 24″ x 24″.

Gaya is an abstract artist from Toronto, Canada, who creates tactile paintings that capture the intrinsic poetic beauty of nature. Her aesthetic approach and painting techniques combine many of the best painterly elements from Impressionism as well as the spontaneity and experimentation of Abstract Expressionism.

She explains, “To define the underlying aesthetic concept of my artwork, it is an abstraction which represents an amalgamation of various streams in the contemporary art.”

Like Kandinsky, the artist also attributes music as a powerful source of inspiration, and states, it “induces my profound emotions, plays on the strings of imagination and culminates in a refined creativity of artwork.”

In explaining her preference for abstraction she states, “Creation through abstract art is the sublime freedom to express oneself. To be an artist means to me to gain that ultimate and sought-after freedom.”

Visit the Artist Showcase Gallery.

Unique Abstract Artists

Abstract artists use the visual language of shape, form, color and line to create compositions that depart from depicting straight forward reality. Their art forms may exist either partially or completely removed from any visual references to the natural world.

With imagination, freedom of expression, and a desire to unleash spontaneity through their chosen medium, the artist who creates abstract art may often enter the realm of transcendental, contemplative, visionary and timeless themes. And, they take us along on their journey with an invitation to discover our own interpretations.

There has been a lot of discussion, debate and contradictory opinions about abstract art over decades.

  • What goes on in abstract art is the proclaiming of aesthetic principles… It is in our own time that we have become aware of pure aesthetic considerations. Art never can be imitation.
    ~ Hans Hofmann
  • We are all hungry and thirsty for concrete images. Abstract art will have been good for one thing: to restore its exact virginity to figurative art.~ Salvador Dali
  • There is no abstract art. You must always start with something. Afterward you can remove all traces of reality. ~ Pablo Picasso

Click artists’ names to visit their pages.

Here are two very different Manhattan Arts International members who have chosen abstraction as their style of choice.  Each artist possesses his/her own individual artistic vocabulary.

Keith Morant

Keith Morant, Gardening, mixed media on canvas, 55" x 55".
Keith Morant, Gardening, mixed media on canvas, 55″ x 55″.

Keith Morant is an internationally acclaimed artist from New Zealand who creates expressive oil and mixed media abstract paintings. His award-winning art is characterized by a myriad of unique curvilinear forms and symbols, contrasting colors, and vitality. Using his own signature style he stimulates our senses and challenges our mental processes.

He has always pursued his inimitable path of individual expression. He states, “My art is always a journey of discovery into the essence of being. It is an effort to externalise the truth of my own existence on as many levels as possible and communicate a greater awareness of the quality of life. It is an attempt to generate enquiry into the greater spheres of understanding which lie beyond conventionalised intellection.”

“When I begin a painting I know that, apart from a strong urge to create and a highly developed instinctual direction with tools and materials, there can be no specific design or plan for the picture as a finished product.”

Chantal Leblanc

Chantal Leblanc, The Angel Within, mixed media, 48” x 36”.
Chantal Leblanc, The Angel Within, mixed media, 48” x 36”.

An artist from Montreal Canada, Chantal Leblanc creates light-filled abstract paintings that are  also powerful and life-affirming.  Using abstraction with spontaneity,  Her painting “The Angel Within” was selected to win an Award of Excellence in Manhattan Arts International’s “The Healing Power of ART” exhibition.

Leblanc’s creative approach begins as a subtractive and intuitive process as she allows bursts of vibrating colors to emerge which resonate and expand in depth. She then adds very thin layers of glazes and washes to bring movement to the compositions.

She achieves an ethereal atmosphere through the juxtaposition of soft strokes of muted colors with energetic vibrant hues. Nature’s dynamic energy is captured along with the tension between opposites.

Women Arts Organizations and Galleries

Advancing The Status of Women Artists

Organizations that serve to advance the status of women artists are valuable resources for all of humanity. In honor of Manhattan Arts International “HERStory 2016” online exhibition and Women’s HERStory Month, it is my pleasure to pay homage to some of the many important arts organizations that provide many services to women artists.

This article has been expanded and moved to http://renee-phillips.com/organizations-that-advance-the-status-of-women-artists/

 

Art of Faces and Figures Teach Us About Ourselves

Extraordinary Women Artists Express Their Artistic Visions

Featured Artists Article by Renée Phillips

I doubt that we will ever lose our curiosity about human nature and forms. When viewing art of faces and figures we gain profound insight about ourselves and our place in the universe.

Metropolitan Museum

For example, I’ve been completely transformed while gazing up at the magnificent sculptures of figures by Rodin and Guidi at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The powerful beauty expressed in each detail of the form transmits an undeniable force of energy and exaltation.

Like the great artists through history who have shared their visions of themselves and their perceptions of the world the following artists reveal so much about humanity through faces and figures. In honor of Women’s History Month I chose a few of the many extraordinary women artists from the Manhattan Arts International Artist Showcase Gallery. Please use the links to visit their pages and write your comments below.

Header image: Bea Doone-Merena, Vanessa Robar – Selfie, oil on canvas, 22” x 30”.

All rights reserved. Do not copy any images without the artists’ permission. Click on images for larger views.

Susanne Buckler

Susanne Buckler
Susanne Buckler, Quote, photograph

Susanne Buckler uses photography, video and mixed media to creates series of art devoted to the human condition. In her “Surprised Survival” series she documented her personal struggle with a life-threatening illness and transformed her challenges into powerful healing works of art. Her newest series is titled “Vagina Dialogues”. She views the artistic process as a liberating, creative journey of pure human expression.   Visit Susanne Buckler’s page.

Bren Sibilsky

Bren Sibilsky, Sculptor
Bren Sibilsky, Aphrodite, clay for bronze, 67″ x 24″ x 20″

Bren Sibilsky is a self-proclaimed “seeker of truth and of our place in the universe.” In her style of classical representation with baroque undertones she has created an ongoing series of timeless mythological figures. Through sculpture she unveils a reality that transcends the physical properties of her forms and materials. She illuminates her subjects’ intrinsic idealized beauty, grandeur and magnificence.  Visit Bren Sibilsky’s page.

Barbara Rachko

Barbara Rachko
Barbara Rachko, Epiphany, pastel-on-sandpaper painting, 38” x 58” image, 50” x 70” framed.

Barbara Rachko is internationally recognized for her unique pastel-on-sandpaper paintings that are inspired by Mexican and Guatemalan cultural objects. In her series titled “Black Paintings” we see an array of exotic and primitive masks, carved wooden animals, papier mâché figures, and toys. She travels in search of figures that will later populate her pastel paintings and photographs.   Visit Barbara Rachko’s page.

Rose Adare

Rose Adare
Rose Adare

Rose Adare is a Classical Realist painter whose luminous paintings and powerful exhibitions provide a voice to important social concerns. Her compelling “Restraint & Revolution” series of portrait paintings communicate “the astounding diversity of life, and the arduous journey to free expression.” They pay homage to the many diverse and colorful subcultures of the 21st century. Visit Rose Adare’s page.

 Joanne St-Cyr

Joanne St-Cyr
Joanne St-Cyr, Soeurs d’armes (Sisters in Arms), acrylic on board, 24” x 30”.

Joanne St-Cyr’s awe-inspiring allegorical paintings originate from her philosophy and life experiences. They communicate powerful and timeless truths about humanity. She applies the techniques of the Renaissance Masters and uses symbolism to represent various subjects in the guise of metaphorical references, a visionary state of mind, or an abstract concept. Visit Joanne St-Cyr’s page.

Bea Donne-Merena

Bea Doone-Merena
Bea Doone-Merena, Vanessa Robar – Selfie, oil on canvas, 22” x 30”.

Bea Doone-Merena brings her innate sensitivity and fondness for her subjects to her portrait paintings and imbues them with a powerful life force. She has mastered the Renaissance oil painting techniques and combines them with an exuberant and bold contemporary style that reflects aspects of our current society.   Visit Bea Doone-Merena’s page.

Jill Pankey

Jill Pankey, Mis Hermanas, oil on canvas, 48” x 60”.
Jill Pankey, Mis Hermanas, oil on canvas, 48” x 60”.

Multi-award winning artist Jill Pankey explores body image in her paintings, often with a humorous flair, to accent observations or ideas about women. A masterful use of color, pattern, and movement bring a strong voice to her concepts. Her compositions encompass, as she explains, “an interaction with the figure in a variety of settings where the figure has no age.” Visit Jill Pankey’s page.

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