Join Arts for ACT Gallery, located at 2265 First Street in downtown Fort Myers on Friday, May 1, from 6 to 10 pm for the opening reception and art walk for our May featured artists: Steve Pennisi in the main gallery “Both Sides of the Paint”. Showing off the main gallery: Linocuts, Woodcuts, and Collographs Print Artist, Megan Davis, and Abstract Artist, Kevin Cote.
In the Main Gallery – Steve Pennisi
Born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, resided in coastal Maine for 30 years, Steve Pennisi now lives in Southwest Florida.
University of Michigan, 1975-1979
University of Michigan, School of Art 1977-1979
Founded Pennisi & Company (Advertising & Design)
Currently, Steve is working as full time artist.
Artist Statement: My practice grew out of my desire to "own something" as an artist. In my earlier work, which included realism, abstract and abstract expressionism, I was frustrated knowing where the painting would end up. The rest of the process was just a matter of moving to the inevitable conclusion. I wanted to find a way to stay open and be continually surprised and engaged. I discovered my technique one day when the corner of dry paint on my waxed paper disposable palette peeled up. When I peeled it off I was amazed at what I found on the hidden side of the paint. It revealed underlying gestural patterns previously hidden from the artist. It had a life and spontaneity that I had never seen before…something that felt human but freed of any doubt or hesitation. I found that I could paint on this clear cellophane typically used for gift wrapping, and when I glued it to the canvas the film would peel off, essentially creating printing plates. Having been a commercial printer for many years made this approach second nature. I could lay a piece of clear film on the wet paint and capture that image too. This ability to use "both sides of the paint" gave me a freedom and expanded palette that continues to excite me with possibilities everyday. The paint vacillates between pure physical paint - Jackson Pollock like splashes and splatters - to pure photographic Ansel Adams-like halftone effects that can only happen chemically, to create these paintings. All the effects are created by how I pour and pull the paint. I use a myriad of tools such as squeegees, metal strips, cans of air, water and alcohol to affect the hidden side of the paint. Initially I have limited myself to Black and White initially as I learn to control the elements and possibilities. The plastic nature enables a certain distancing from the preserved, disembodied mark, allowing me to contemplate and build the painting without losing any of the initial energy. Much of the process is just looking..like finding animals in the clouds and Jesus in the toast, but ultimately taps into my unconscious narratives. I stop when the result reaches a complexity that I could not have planned in advance but somehow communicates something important to me. Having lived by the ocean in Maine for 30 years, the ocean theme runs through many of my works. The painting is a collaboration with the material properties of the acrylic paints, my tools and unconscious. It requires me to be an editor in order to control each piece even if I could not predict the effect of each piece of paint beforehand. Prior to discovering this technique, I always knew where a piece would end up. Now I must trust, push and cajole to end up with more of a poetic approximation.
Video on my technique: Painting with “both sides of the paint” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1iTgGNh92pA
In the White Gallery – Abstract Works by Kevin Côté
Kevin is originally from Buffalo, New York and is currently a student at Florida Southwestern State College studying Architectural Drafting. Color and Technique come together to create windows into the inner workings of Kevin Cote’s beliefs and feelings on art, which has been an experiment from the beginning and over the last year is starting to take shape into something he feel happy with and wants to share. Kevin works show control of perspective and the viewer finds these works beautiful, complex and aesthetically and physiologically pleasing.
Off the Main Gallery – Megan Davis
Megan Davis is a native to Naples, Florida. She has both an art and a psychology degree, and would like to eventually become an art therapist. Davis, now 25, is currently teaching art and pursuing her Professional Educator's Certificate. Artist statement: My body of work consists of various types of prints and paintings. As an individual schooled both in art and psychology, I find the two practices walk hand in hand, especially in surrealism. How an individual's brain perceives art is based on a series of processes in which the image is torn down to its basic components, such as color and angles, for recognition of its individual parts in a bottom-up approach, and a series processes that try to match the overall experience to a previous experience in a top-down approach. This means that when someone looks at a piece of art, they see not only what the artist has created, but brought their own life experiences to flavor their perception of the art. I create art with this concept in mind, trying to leave each piece with an ambiguous sense, and allowing for further exploration by the viewer to draw their own conclusion. I consider the viewers' interpretation of the art as equally correct as my intentions in the work.
I create both prints and paintings. My prints consist of linocuts, woodcuts, and collographs, all printed with Akua ink. Some of the pieces are printed on a press, allowing for a crisp, clean look, while others, the woodcuts in particular, are printed by hand, allowing for the natural textures of the paper and woodgrain to play a bigger part in the piece. My painting are done with acrylic, and while I love the excitement of brush strokes and flowing color, you'll notice this body of work is primarily made up of prints due to my love of the zen-like marrying of technical work and spontaneity printmaking.
These exhibits continue through June 1, 2015.