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SHERRI BELASSEN uses shapes and colors in a contemporary manner to create her unique artwork. Her work often portrays animals and figures in earth tones resonant with her Arizona home. She was born and raised in Indianapolis and attended the University of Missouri on a full track and field scholarship while majoring in fine arts. Her dreams of making the Olympics were derailed by a sports injury. She then channeled her energies fully into art, graduating form Indiana University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She credits her inspiration in design and composition to trips she took as a child with her father in his two-seater airplane. The patterns and colors of the landscape informed her later aesthetic, which is built around defined blocks of color. “In life and art, I try to stay true to myself and listen to my own voice.”
I paint everyday. I do studies. I paint walls. My studio is canvas, wood, tools and paint. It is my laboratory. It is a place for me to paint fresh and allow my inspiration to flow. I bring ideas here. Ideas for my paintings evolve from the experiences I have, colors that inspire me, and the objects that surround me everyday. I take these and put them together as a still life. The still life setting is my outlet. As a still life painter, I abstract elements in each painting allowing other qualities to take on a stronger role. I combine these abstracted forms with realistic and expressionistic views of objects, shapes and color. Part of my inspiration is pushing the boundaries of what can be done from a two-dimensional perspective. I need objects to exist figuratively to the extent that they define the space of a setting. I am fascinated with this space and the way that it can hold objects together or pull them apart. It is with color and texture I shape the focus of a painting and frame the essence of a still life setting with the feeling of a place.
My art develops from an abstract vocabulary inspired by the properties of water, fields, and their boundaries. I work to create a natural rhythm as a means to reflect spontaneous effects and the underlying forces as witnessed by the human spirit. In my work, the analysis takes place on the surface of the painting. Layers are continuously reformulated by adding and removing material. My surfaces are candidly penetrated revealing consequences, which become embedded to varying degrees in the final form. I find this process akin to natural forces upon the physical world. For me, making art is a journey to understand the natural world through the observance of movement, form, and color. It’s my approach to visual discovery.
John Schuyler was born in Long Island, NY in 1965. After early success as a business entrepreneur, Schuyler looked toward Europe for inspiration. He found it in the Old World art technique of fresco and in the colors, smells, and textures of the Tuscan countryside. Schuyler began experimenting with fresco techniques when he returned to the United State. As he explored the possibilities of fresco, Schuyler became absorbed in the coarseness created by different applications of the plaster to his canvas. Thus, he is able to produce very rich and dynamic textures. Looking at any of his pieces, you are given to a sudden urge to run a hand over the surface of his paintings. As Schuyler's captivation with texture progressed, the content and form of his paintings became simpler. Color, studies replaced traditional forms of content in his pieces, and the balance and contrast of color became the second focal point of Schuyler's paintings. He infuses pigment into wet plaster so that color becomes part of the texture, rather than being applied to it. Schuyler strenuously scrapes acrylic paint and pigmented plaster from the surface of the linen in a style known as scraffito. This technique produces very deep and luminescent colors that heighten the effect of Schuyler's composition. Warm, earthy tones dominate his most recent work, the Paesaggio series, a reflection of his memories of a Tuscan summer. Schuyler's unconventional approach to fresco culminates in paintings that leave a powerful impression on the viewer. His rough texture alludes to a passionate physicality while its simplicity in form reflects a cool logic, a balance inherent in all his pieces.