MOVED TO STILLNESS
This art doesn’t scream, vibrate, rant or explode. In fact, it doesn’t make a sound. It is that thing which should occupy the part of our minds held captive by Facebook or Twitter or cable news clatter. It is the divine encounter with the extraordinary that most of us lack in our daily lives. From the miniscule to the universal, from insects to sacred geometries, artists Zane York, Alice Q. Hargrave, and Vito Stramaglia bring paint and photography to a visual crescendo worthy of thoughtful, silent engagement.
Zane York. “With my paintings I strive for balance; bringing elements of mortality, transience, fragility, and vulnerability in tune with beauty, design and humor. The process is very important to me and melding observation, technique and imagination is a challenging and rewarding pursuit. Although classically trained in figurative art, my paintings deal with issues of humanity through other biological surrogates. Throughout the last decade my work has largely centered on animals and insects. The paintings have evolved, and the current work centers on insects morphing into floral forms. The result is purposefully referential to the long history of floral still life painting with primary focus on the Dutch tradition (Jan Brueghel, de Heem, van der Ast, and Ruysch), but also combines my interest in the masters of the strange and unorthodox (Bosch, Peter Brueghel, Grünewald, Caravaggio and Archimboldo). I work to reinterpret the floral theme using non-traditional means; most obviously with insects as flowers, but also through canvas shape, lighting, evocation of movement, transparency, impermanence in forms, and ultimately taking liberty with reality through realistic painting. In many different ways, the paintings transform the traditional floral still life into something slightly bizarre and unexpected, encouraging a reexamination of life and death, the fluidity of what we know, and how we define beauty.” York has an MFA in painting fromthe New York Academy of Art, and awards that include: Prince of Wales Scholarship; Posey Foundation Scholarship; N.Y.A.A. Scholarship; Milton J. Gardener Memorial Scholarship; U.W.O. Student/Faculty Research Grant. York, an Iowa native, currently lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Alice Q. Hargrave. “Paradise Wavering is an ongoing project that stems from a deep personal need to connect with the natural world and profound concerns about climate change and its wide-reaching consequences. The work is about impermanence as it pertains to the environment, the human experience and the photographic medium itself. Paradise is in flux, tenuous, and our environment is changing at a pace we can barely fathom. The vulnerability of our planet’s biodiversity, the fragility, and shrinking of natural habitats and this desire to express the sublimity and wonder of the organic world informs the work…The photographs lead through mangroves, tropical biospheres, forests, or midwestern prairies close to my home, placing the viewer into sumptuous experiences of flora and fauna. The images reference and are inspired by the heroic landscapes of 19th century photography, and painting. Like this earlier work I seek the sublime and beauty of the wild, however more often, I turn these expansive spaces into more intimate, sensory and immersive representations. The work is about photography, an art form designed to forestall loss. It is about looking, slowing down, noticing, and feeling compassion for the subtleties of observation.... This quote from George Sand was on my first artist statement and is still relevant to my artistic practice today. “The consciousness of self as animal, vegetable, and mineral and the delight we feel plunging down into that consciousness is by no means degrading-- It is good to know the fundamental life at our roots."Hargrave has her MFA from the University of Illinois, Chicago, and her BA from Tulane University. Her work is included in the Museum of Contemporary Photography, the Ruttenberg Collection, Hyatt Corp., Nuveen Corp., among many other public and private collections. Hargrave is a Chicago artist.
Vito Stramaglia. “I think that the work that comes out of my hands is the result of something bigger than me and amazes me when I look at it. I'm just a performer. I hope these works convey to the world what they transmit to me: the beauty of life, where nothing can be explained, and everything is in balance”; this may explain Stramaglia’s subtle insertion of sacred geometry into his work. When I paint, the only certainty is that I am not using the mind, but the heart. Then the rationality disappears and gives way to introspection, and then the soul chooses the subjects and the manner of representing them.” Stramaglia employs thickly applied, impasto painting, with a liberal integration of dramatic black. His representation of the everyday is elevated to the extraordinary through boldly elegant technique. He uses “the very dark to bring out the light. I learned this from the great Old Masters of the past. My characters are undefined because I think that form is just an invention of rationality and, instead, we are all connected to each other.” Stramaglia comes from a family of Italian artists, but he was not always convinced it was his calling. “In fact, when I was a child, I refused the art. For many years, I was a professional boxer, but suddenly, the painting was shouting too loudly, and I had to give it a hearing. I left boxing and now I'm a full-time painter and I have no regrets. I do not worry about success, because I'm not afraid to fail, I never expect anything.” Stramaglia earned degrees from Academy of Fine Arts, Bari, and Florence Academy of Art. He has participated in exhibitions throughout Italy, as well as Germany, Austria, England and the US. Stramaglia’s work can be found in many exclusive public and private collections. He currently resides in Apulia, Italy.
Moved to Stillness opens May 4th and runs through June 30th, 2018. Opening reception is Friday, May 4th, 6-9pm, with an artists’ talk at 7pm. Bites and beverages always served. Gallery19 is located at 4839 N. Damen Ave. 773-420-8071.