Dolce Vita World Bistro is across the street from Syracuse Stage – at 907 E. Genesee Street, Syracuse, New York. The restaurant serves international cuisine, hosts musical and theatrical events in collaboration with Syracuse University and promotes local visual artists via monthly art exhibitions on the walls of its dining room.
Friday night I attended the opening reception for What’s Left, an art show combining the talents of Le Moyne College colleagues Erin Davies and Penny Santy. The title is derived from a Robin Williams quote –
What’s right is what’s left if you do everything else wrong.
The show features wood collage pieces by Erin and oil paintings by Penny.
Meredith Cuddihy on violin provided the musical entertainment. There was wine and cake, and other yummy fare, as well as friendship, camaraderie, and lots of fun! It is always very special to support my friends in all of their endeavors and of course, any excuse for a party is a good one, especially now – we are weathering a severe cold spell in Syracuse, New York and no one really wants to hunker down in their respective shelters to wait it out.
According to their web-site, Dolce Vita is open Monday – Thursday 4:00 pm – 9:00 pm, Wednesday – Friday 11:00 am – midnight, and Saturday 4:00 pm – 11:00 pm. They schedule private events on Sundays. If you are interested in scheduling one, making a reservation or checking out the wonderful art, call (315) 475-4700 for the deets.
By day, Penny Santy is a graphic artist. By night and weekends, she becomes a powerhouse superhero – an oil painting phenomenon who captures the essence and beauty of (as well as the struggle to find) the perfect relationship in a work of art.
I love having conversations about art with Penny. She was recently in Baltimore for the Diebenkorn and Matisse show and spoke passionately about the brush strokes and the artists’ implied intention resulting in their ultimate successful choices on canvas. It is this attention to things that Penny brings to her own work, a constant questioning of what instinctively works at any given time.
This is reflected in her literature.
My motivation for creating art is a search for what makes humans tick, and for finding emotion in the painted image. My work is derived from an exploration of human strengths, struggles, accomplishments or destruction. What is great about making art is that it goes much deeper than the outward appearance of things. I’m always searching through the process of painting for what is below the surface. The process allows me to discover, and I am excited by what I find. My paintings aren’t trying to present answers, but to ask questions.
Penny reworks paintings until they are to her satisfaction, whether it is the better choice of blue for a sky or the slightest value change in a complementary color scheme to tweak the flow of rhythm that is constantly in her vortex. Her presence as an artist is truly captivating.
I am really impressed with this new body of work, how it defines her vision, a place hovering between reality and abstract, which generates considerable movement with breathtaking perfection.
She sold several of these paintings at the opening last night at the Wilson Art Gallery in the Noreen Reale Falcone library at Le Moyne College (1419 Salt Springs Road, Syracuse, New York 13214). I observed patrons fighting over pieces (“okay, I’ll get that one and you can have that one” type stuff). It was really magnificent to witness her success. She is the real deal and I encourage anyone who wants to acquire her work to do so now before she skyrockets to the fame she deserves.
The show is titled Between Us. In addition to the butterfly series, Penny is sharing works she’d made for juried exhibitions including the winning entry from that Adirondack show and the Bowie-inspired one from the Tech Garden show last year. Her hen and sunflower paintings work as well here, as they reflect her proficient technical skills while fulfilling her criteria to share rhythm with respect to relationships between objects, nature and people.
The exhibition continues through February 24, 2017 and can be viewed during library hours. Call (315) 445-4153 for more information.
Make it a Penny Santy day today! Head over to see this show then take a drive out to Earlville, New York. You can meet Penny at the Earlville Opera House Art Gallery (18 East Main Street, Earlville, New York 13332) where she is exhibiting her series of bull paintings. There is an art reception from noon to 3:00 pm today!
Went to another art reception last night. It’s called Gallery 4040 – it’s at 4040 New Court Ave. in Syracuse, NY, not far from my house. The people who frequent these art shows remind me of the actors in the movie Shakespeare in Love for some reason. I guess because they are all friends of a certain age (my age) and all happy, quirky and incredibly interesting. Each takes their turn in the starring role, in this case Marna Bell. Her black and white photographs are purposefully blurry to illustrate what’s missing from her life. Her memory. She is such a sweet person and yet she cannot remember chunks of her childhood.
I find this fascinating. I sometimes can’t remember what I am doing once I walk over to my desk at work. Like a student has asked for an eraser and as I approach the desk I begin talking to another student and I’m all what-am-I-doing-here? But I can remember my first kiss and other pretty embarrassing things that happened a long time ago, some things I wish I could forget because they play in my mind in a loop, over and over until I wish I could shut them off.
Ultimately, it is very brave to expose oneself, as Marna does with her revelation, and I admire her so much for it. Her work looks to be film clips taken from movie stills in a way that suggests – yes, I know those people, but wait, what?
There are some large paintings of nudes on the next wall of the gallery. I am really too immature to be in the same room with nudey-nudes, because I am the type of person who will say something completely inappropriate (and after having a small cup of wine, I’m pretty sure I did). The colors in these paintings by Lacey McKinney are gorgeous and combined with size and compositions that either distort or void out the woman’s face, they make me question who the audience is supposed to be.
I guess I wonder if artists even think about the audience at all. Do I? I’m not much of a business woman, so no, not really. I think my paintings are more meant to be displayed in homes versus gallery and museum walls. But how many people do you know who actually buy artwork for the purpose of enhancing their decor? Whatever number came to your mind, it really should be a lot more!
Why do people buy art? I had a conversation with someone last night who suggested that the local art scene is being supported by its own. Artists are trading art or outright buying each other’s art. We value it. So there’s another question for you – how do we get civilians (non-artists) to value it too? I’ve tried going the educate them route but for some, this is a hard sell.
So, back to last night -Juan Perdiguero’s chimpanzee drawings were the most fascinating to me. They are in the back room of the gallery. Very realistic. Life-sized drawings on photo paper. Huge in-your-face monkeys. I can’t even articulate what I want to say in sentences because these pieces need to be experienced. You want to reach out and touch them, even as you remember how chimps terrify you. They need to be in museum collections. I’ve never seen anything like them – the technique, the commitment to the subject matter and overall experience being near them….
It was in this room that I met and chatted with Mary Giel. Her effervescence really lit up the place. She’s currently exhibiting in the annual juried show called Made in NY at the Schweinfurth Museum in Auburn, NY, having created a massive amount of tiny crocheted pieces that accumulate into floor and wall installations, which she creates in between rock climbing expeditions among other interesting travels. The enthusiasm of her spirit is really breathtaking and made me realize that I need to find my way back to the pure spunk of it all. The fun that is mark making.
So I’ve decided to begin a painting project – but not that kind. Two hundred and fifty dollars got me enough latex paint and supplies to redo five out of the six rooms in my house.
I feel so DIY right now. I just spackled up a hole in the kitchen wall and filled the crack in the bathroom wall with caulk as per the paint clerk’s suggestion. I’m going to start painting tomorrow. The last time I painted the interior here, there was no furniture or cats, so I’m preparing to have a giant headache over it all. So much for spring break.
But since the weather has been so craptastic, it seemed like as good a time as any to do it. Plus once I get an idea in my head, I really can’t let it go until I make it happen – it’s like having a giant monkey on my back.