SoAG & CSMA Exhibitions Reflection
…and some small notes

I had a great time at openings, meeting people and enjoying other fellow artists’ works. Both openings seem to be well visited and I want to share some of my personal selections of works, just to give kudos and additionally highlight them. I apologize for the quality of photos, but I just busted lens of my Canon camera, so the photos are done by plain smart phone.

December 2022 Juried Show at the State of the Art Gallery

I know that it sounds terrible to start with your own work but I really liked how the two of my works are well paired up and accompanied (and vice versa) with the work of Marjorie Hoffman “Lily”, a bas-relief in ceramic and stained glass. Marjorie is Ithaca-based artist who works mostly with mosaic tiles.

Richard Marchant is presented with two works and I was looking forward to seeing them in person. Oil painting titled “Boots” and drawing titled “Hedgerow Chewy” could be described as Americana art leaning towards hyperrealism, a true mastery in both painting and drawing. You can feel hours of tedious work and study behind it. For the Boots, digital photo doesn’t do it justice, since the colours are much more pastel in reality and contrast is on the verge of chiaroscuro but still lighter and subtle. Richard belongs to Cazenovia art community and you can check his work by taking Caz Art Trail.

Two oil paintings of Hope Zaccagni, “Cloverleaf” and “Fields”, won first prize award on this exhibition. Beautiful, geometrical, pastel landscapes inspired by complex and fluid lines of highway´s interchange junctions reveal abstract awe of contemporary landscape. Cloverleaf, for me, is the award-winning painting, because it feels developed, complete and finished in terms of language that artist wanted to develop. My only question is, why oil instead of acrylic?

Next two artists I will mention together, just because they use a similar medium – fabric.  They are Victoria Lee Connors with her “Horned Owl” from Birds of Prey series of mix fibre, fabric and needle felt paintings and Heidi Hooper with dryer lint paintings, “Tea Party” and “Mrs. Premise´s Tango Lesson”. I must admit that I rarely see fabric-based art on group exhibitions, or in general, so I could be more fascinated by this kind of work because of that. Anyway, I still find them fascinating and therefore here they are, Victoria´s Horned Owl has more this painting energy in it. You can almost feel surfaces done impasto by painting knives strokes, while Heidi is obviously a follower of the Pop Art tradition, although her artwork is not entirely “flat” in colour and the overall feeling is like looking at children-oriented illustration. Victoria is Finger Lakes-based artist.

About next artist and his work, I will talk from the point of intrigued observer. Looking at bust sculptures of Andrew N. Fitzsimmons, “Nomadic Oracle” and “Cernunnos: Summer”, felt like unexpectedly stumbling upon lost 3d models of character designs for the Nightbreed tribe members from Clive Barker´s Cabal. It was a pleasant surprise, love the works. Andrew is Tioga County-based artist.

Jamie Lowes´s paintings, “Niamh Òir Cothrom” and “Children of Llŷr”, reminded me instantly of the works of Yoshitaka Amano, both in his artistic approach (acrylic ink contour drawing) and the titles they carry.  They both resonated with my love for illustration, comics, manga, anime, folklore and fantasy.

It was really good to see that there are plenty of good paintings on display but it was surprising to see a selection of photo realistic drawings, something you usually see only on fine arts students’ exhibitions. These drawings are nice examples of personal craftmanship but they usually fall short in expressing a more profound character with the artistic expression. In the end, I must admit that I am happy to be part of this exhibition and…

If you haven’t been to the show but you are in Ithaca area, please do come, the exhibition is up until January 1, 2023. Gallery is open on Thursday through Sunday Noon–5pm.

Annual Open Exhibition at the Community School of Music and Arts

Like I stated in my previous blog and newsletter this exhibition is more relaxed and laid back. It features work of various size, techniques and artistry levels. I might be freer with comments on some works, but don´t forget, this is my selection of highlights of the works that I like or find interesting.

The show stealer is the work by the SoAG member, Alicia Sangiuliano “Timekeeper”. Visible from the street, this work dominates over the entire exhibition with its bright colours, subtle complementary contrast and topic. This painting is really strong when observed from a far. Unfortunately, from up close it is a different story. It feels like an unfinished student work. This also might be deliberately done by artist, who, in the overall experience of the painting in its state as it is now, might have felt satisfied, enough to stop. This leads us to the question when is the painting really finished? And that question kind of reflects upon the title itself.

Another SoAG member is also presented with two works, Daniel McPheeters, with his “Twilight Crow Flight” and “The Navigator´s Dilemma” – mixed media on panels. First of all, the artist is not from the Fine Arts, he comes as he says from a different field: “My formal training is in science and engineering, but I have been drawing, painting and sculpting for as long as I can remember.” In the process, he has developed very interesting technique, at the same time very decorative and fascinating. If I had got it right, it looks like artist uses oversampled digital collages as a base for his prints, creating something unique that could be described as Outsider art. Both, my wife and I, have found his work very interesting and appealing.

The next two are small works featuring nibbled nuts by Thaddeus Zygarowicz. What makes them interesting is the entire setup of small realistic painting of nuts on black surface within dark frame. You are almost tricked to see a nut in the black box. Nice.

I like when artist “sees” form in drifting piece wood and then exposes its warmth and beauty just like “Grace”, a small sculpture based on a found object by Donna Faivre-Roberts.  For me, it is like looking at natural form of something holly or mystical, as like in opposition of old wooden crucifix that forces a form onto wood.

“The Best Times” & “Bears with Squares” are two neo reverse applique banners made by Alice Gant. Again, I am fascinated by the use of fabric as a medium. They have this form of banner or poster illustration or maybe a children’s picture book, very vibrant and pleasant to look at. Alice Gant, like Donna Faivre-Roberts, belongs to the Quilt Divas group of fibre artists in the Finger Lakes region near Ithaca.

Last work that I will mention is by Lena Chaopricha “Love Ya!”, a mixed media on paper.  A heart shaped water coloured drawing that sends a clear message.

There are, again, plenty of good works on display, some of them I didn´t shown because of bad photos that wouldn´t do them justice. Exhibition is open until January 27, 2023. CSMA working hours are from Tuesday to Friday from 2:30 pm to 7:00 pm and on Saturday from 9:30 am to 2:00 pm so please try to visit it if you are in the neighborhood.

After openings I had Peroni birra and grappa with my friend Mario, from Guatemala, in a local Italian restaurant Pasta Vitto, that is, unfortunately, now permanently closed.

Coffee with Local Artists

A few days later I had a wonderful time visiting studio of Leslie Ihde, an artist and a therapist, where I also met Domenica Brockman and Charlotte Ghiorse. They were having a critique group, discussing their recent works and advising each other in further development. I was lucky and happy to take part. Leslie moved from pottery to painting recently and she is mostly interested in landscape art. Domenica is an established painter in the field of geometrical abstraction. She has diverse use of medium. Right now, she is working on series of paintings in encaustics on wood board, but in her previous works she used acrylic, fabrics, collage. Charlotte is best described as punk rock artists that follows Tim Burton´s school. As you can sense, it was an interesting meeting, worthy of some kind of art podcast.

Happy Holidays

I am preparing to leave for holidays break to one farm in Pennsylvania with my family. Something like going to my family´s country house in Gradačac. Books, comics, board games, a break from screens, internet, phones, video games, school chrombooks, digital buzzing whatnots. I would like to recommend two books for the winter – Starting Point: 1979-1996 and Turning Point: 1997-2008, the collections of essays, interviews and lectures of Hayao Miyazaki.

If you are in Christmas spirit of giving and sharing, please, visit Re-Imagining Migration website and help them by donating. I have personally experienced a struggle coping with my temporal migration to the States. I still feel cultural shock that makes me feel deeply alienated, even 5 months later. By donating you will be helping teachers to develop skills to recognize needs and struggles of immigrant-origin youth in schools.

And for my final words, have a great winter break and if you need some music for your ears, please play Happy Holidays by Billy Idol, his best album.

Peace, Love,

Udon & Sake

Peace, love, udon & sake


Marjorie Hoffman

Richard Marchant

“Hedgerow Chewy”
Richard Marchant

Hope Zaccagni

Hope Zaccagni

“Horned Owl”
Victoria Lee Connors

“Mrs. Premise´s Tango Lesson”
and “Tea Party”

 Heidi Hooper

“Nomadic Oracle”
Andrew N. Fitzsimmons

“Cernunnos: Summer”
Andrew N. Fitzsimmons

 “Niamh Òir Cothrom”
Jamie Lowes

“Children of Llŷr”
Jamie Lowes

Alicia Sangiuliano

“Twilight Crow Flight”
Daniel McPheeters

 “The Navigator´s Dilemma”
Daniel McPheeters

Nibbled Nuts Series
Thaddeus Zygarowicz

“The Best Times”
Alice Gant

 “Bears with Squares”
Alice Gant

“Love Ya!”
Lena Chaopricha

Mario,  Peroni birragrappa

Charlotte Ghiorse, Leslie Ihde & Domenica Brockman
In Leslie´s Studio

 Re-Imagining Migration