Bozenna and Lukasz Bogucki Handbags "Ophelia" in Silver
Bozenna and Lukasz Bogucki make stainless steel mesh handbags. They design their bags with two categories in mind: evening purses and handbags. While the handbags may be designed more for the everyday, there's nothing pedestrian about them. Elegance rules for this couple. The designs featured on each bag are exciting: unique and colorful. Certain designs show up on multiple bag styles, such as the "spheres" design which features twisting spirals floating against a multi-colored background, and is available in the Giaconda, Lakme, and Traviata handbags.
The stainless steel mesh is an unifying factor in the Boguckis' works, giving all the bags a cool, cosmopolitan look. The Boguckis have been working with stainless steel for many years. It is not a popular material for bags, so the duo had to devise their own techniques. Perhaps because of all the hard work they put into designing and creating, they find they are still enchanted by stainless steel. They utilize several different grades of stainless steel mesh. The most rigid grade is used mostly for support, whereas the thinner grades can resemble silk in both look and feel.
The Boguckis are huge fans of opera, and their bags are named after characters from famous operas: Aida, Carmen, Juliet, Brunhilde, and more. Each different bag style sees a different take on shape and texture.
The two first met as students at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, Poland. They both have varied backgrounds in the arts. Bozenna paints and draws, and always found herself intrigued by fabrics, which she used to collect to make large-scale tapestries. Lukasz designed lamps for many years. Both have backgrounds in interior design. They reconnected in the 90s, were married in 1996, and moved to Los Angeles, where they still work and live. Stainless steel came to their attention while using the material to design lamps.
The Boguckis are new to the Armonk Outdoor Art Show this year, and we look forward to welcoming them.
John Hartung describes his work as "Art that Smiles" and there is an unmistakable joy that permeates from his photography.
Hartung loves the natural world and animals. He even loves rubber animals--rubber duckies to be specific. He has a whimsical series of Rubber Duckies photographs that feature those smiling yellow ducks posed amongst themselves as well as with live animals, including an orangutang. Through setting and props, Hartung is able to give different personalities to the ducks.
Within his animals series, it seems there's no animal Hartung wouldn't enjoy photographing. There are hippos, elephants, cats, dogs, tigers, giraffes, frogs, horses, wolves, alligators, manatee, turtles, and more. While Hartung photographs animals both individually and in groups, he seems particularly drawn to capturing group dynamics, whether that's a quiet family moment or a ruckus in the water. Again, he has great skill in capturing personality. It seems Hartung has a special place in his heart for elephants, who show up often. In these photographs, Hartung captures their peaceful and playful nature, as well as the beautiful texture of their skin. He has another series on birds--owls, ducks, ostriches, and more--which shows just as good an eye for their personalities, textures, and colors.
With his landscapes, Hartung is especially interested in documenting the way the human made interacts with the natural world, such as in "Pillars of Strength" where he shows the repeating pillars of a pier standing strong in swirling blue water in Juno Beach, Florida.
Hartung makes both "straight" photographs and photograph combinations using Adobe Photoshop. Hartung hails from Florida, but his art brings him to many different places. He says his favorite place to photograph animals is in the wild.
Wesley Neal Rasko is an intriguing glass artist that works in two forms: sculptures and paintings. Sculpture is his main form of expression. Rasko's work is very modern, with several of his sculptures even looking like mini sky scrapers. With any given work, you can tell Rasko is having a lot of fun. He plays with contrasts: opacity and transparency, smoothness and roughness. His use of color is joyous. In one work he may be working with a simple shape like a perfect circle or square, while the next work is a thin rectangle that twists itself at the top or is completely undulating throughout. They're all jauntily geometric. Stripes and lines are a major unifying factor of his work.
The glass paintings have similar looks as Rasko's sculptures. With these works, Rasko uses flatness to play with his themes and motifs. One work, "Sunlit" has a very light yellow striped background which is then cut across by three slanting black lines, with two bright yellow lines boldly cutting across the black lines (yellow seems to be a color Rasko enjoys using occasionally for dramatic bursts).
Rasko is another new artist to the Armonk Outdoor Art Show, and he joins us from Toronto. He is an avid traveller and cites traveling and exploring new cities as a major inspiration on his work. His joy at the new can be felt in each sculpture or painting, as you can see him challenging himself with new constructions, such as the three floating bubbles within "Ghost."
All About Armonk Artists' Features are written by Amanda Boyle.
Ellen Hopkins Fountain Watercolor "Night Drive, Cobalt"
Ellen Hopkins Fountain's watercolors are an exercise in subtlety. Fountain uses color and line to create mood in her landscapes and abstract paintings. She portrays many different landscapes, in different seasons. "Dark Pine Path" shows a dark forest from slightly above, a scene out of a sinister fairy tale. "Argent Pond II" is much lighter--white, yellow, light green--and shows trees reflected in a lake. Fountain is from Hastings-on-Hudson, and sometimes a familiar location will pop up, such as "The Pier at Yonkers", one of her Talls series. The Talls and Longs series are distinctively shaped paintings, both landscapes and abstract paintings.
Stylistically, Fountain often favors a looser brushstroke, resulting in lush trees and undulating clouds. But she also sharpens the focus with success, such as bare tree branches that twist across the sky in "Newmarket Meadow."
Fountain's abstract paintings are also full of personality. The colors get a little brighter in the abstract paintings. Some of the abstractions are strictly geometric, where others are landscape-esque. Several resemble a city skyline viewed from a distance, such as "Final Curtain", where small dashes of yellow and orange look like city lights amongst dark swaths of green and blue.
This is Fountain's first year at the Armonk Outdoor Art Show. She grew up in New Hampshire, where she first came to appreciate a beautiful landscape. After studying painting and drawing at Carnegie Mellon, Fountain worked as a scenic artist in television, film, and theater for almost twenty years. She enjoyed the way she was working on a variety of different projects every day. When she left the industry, she joined a now defunct group called Westchester Watercolor Workshop. Watercolor was an attractive medium because of its range of possibility.
Chrissanth Gross's drawings delight with their expressive nature. Her nudes, mostly done in charcoal, shake with energy. The lines seem to move in carefree strokes, but there is also clearly a lot of consideration to each mark. Gross says that something she likes about working with charcoal is its "ephemeral and impressionable nature." Each subject is filled out with shading, so that even when their face isn't shown, they brim with personality. These nudes are set (mostly) against plain white backgrounds. They sprawl, they sit, they take up room, the blank backgrounds making each body starkly present.
Gross also draws and paints portraits, in ink or oil. Each face is rendered in kindness. While her nude drawings are perhaps more fervent, they are no less enveloped in kindness. Gross says that with each person she meets, any number of unique details about them--even something as quick as a gesture--catches her attention and makes her itch to draw them.
Gross's father was an illustrator and her mother was a model; she has always loved seeing the process of recreating a person's individuality on canvas. She studied art in high school as well as at Queens College and the University of Michigan. She has worked as an artist for over twenty different years in many different capacities, including storyboard artist, sculptor's assistant, and children's book illustrator. She speaks fondly of sculpture as an art form that taught her to think with her hands.
Gross is a local artist, joining us from Millwood, NY, and you can see familiar locales in her landscapes, such as the Rockefeller trails or Croton Point Park.
At a first quick glance, you don't realize that Debra Graham's work is drawn. It has the appearance of something woven. Graham creates this interesting appearances through highly detailed repetitions. She confines herself to a color palette of blues, grays, and blacks. Shifting between these colors within a drawing creates a subtle mood. Her works are rectangular in overall shape, and are made up of tiny repeating squares. Sometimes more geometrics pop up in her work, such as a cluster of circles in "Circles Tapestry." Being made up of all these little cells gives the circles a texture as if they are a creature out of the ocean. Graham says that when she is creating, she is curious about "how the whole may or may not be greater than the sum of its parts."
Graham's work has a quality to it similar to a lullaby; it's almost hypnotizing. Her works utilize shapes to create the impression of movement. Because of her color palettes the works do seem in sync with the natural world, specifically the oceans and the sky. "Muted Tapestry" could be the sky right before a storm. This is a human impulse, to try and see our world within the abstract, but it returns to Graham's thoughts on the whole and the parts, is any given drawing small squares combined together pleasingly or do they create something that captures our imagination to find our own meaning? Can both ways of being exist at the same time?
Graham is a local artist from New Rochelle. She received a BFA from Syracuse University in 1977. She has actually spent most of her artistic career within photography but has, in the past few years, been compelled to try out drawing, collaging, and painting. She has certainly found success in drawing. In 2015 she was a new artist at the Armonk Outdoor Art Show and won first prize in drawing. We look forward to having her back again this year.
David Oleski's still life paintings take their groundings from the Dutch masters, as he portrays fruit, flowers, cups, and skulls, but stylistically he bursts forward in his own direction.
Oleski's paintings live in lighter palettes: white, light blue, and light yellow backgrounds. This light coloring makes you think of beach life. The really spectacular thing about Oleski's paintings is his brushstrokes. The hand of the painter is visible with bold strokes creating a lush scene. Fruits are often portrayed two or more at a time, and through coloring and the texture, each object has its own personality. In a painting of two pears, the back pair is darker with reds, pinks, purples. The front pear shares some light purple on its edge, but shines with a swirl of orange, gold, and light yellow. For a gaggle of green apples, each apple has its own thumbprints of greens, yellows, and peach, as if they were calico cats with their individual markings.
For some paintings, Oleski goes abstract, taking his funky backgrounds to the forefront. Dashes of color skip and sore across the canvas.
Amongst all this glee, skulls may seem an unusual companion subject. Skulls have long been a frequent subject in still life paintings, serving as Memento Mori. In the creation of his work, Oleski is certainly aware of the quickness of time: he only paints from observation and using natural light, so has to race against fruits rotting and flowers wilting. But the mood of his paintings is a celebration of life, despite, or because of, its brevity.
Oleski was born in Boston and is a graduate of Maryland Institute College of Art, and now lives in West Chester, Pennsylvania.
Jane Sklar's work shows a cacophony of colors and images. Her digital work is rooted in the real world, but she pushes the boundaries of any given image, with sometimes surreal or abstract outcomes.
Sklar enjoys capturing various settings--cities and beaches are often portrayed in her work. People are frequent subjects. There's a solitary man playing a trumpet in "Miami Nights." There are groups sitting together in beach chairs in "August", staring towards the water or examining the cover of a book. Sklar is fond of blurring, making everything a little softer but no less present. It seems when she blurs a face she is drawing attention to that person's spirit, instead of dulling it.
When Sklar plays around with color, she doesn't hold back. She enjoys working with muted neons, and overall can use color in unexpected ways. Stylistically, her use of color adds another layer of imagery, complimenting and contrasting with the original photograph. There's a thick turquoise stripe cut vertically over the standing crowd of "Art Lovers": is that the work of art they're admiring? Or is it an abstraction, showing the aura of this group of people?
Sklar credits her mentor, Max Cartagena, with helping her perfect her technique. She starts with photography and then alters the photographs with a range of photo editing and graphics programs. Sklar grew up in New York City and now lives in New Jersey. This is her first year at the Armonk Outdoor Art Show, which she found because of her interest in shows in the tristate area. We look forward to having her.
Jorge Caligiuri Mixed Media REDEFINED SURFACE #XIV
Jorge Caligiuri's makes abstract mixed media in series. There's his Topographic Series, which is highly texturized and often features a series of raised organic shapes, sitting together in columns or floating across the canvas. The colors in this series are very natural: browns, light greens, deep reds, muted yellows. Then there's the Redefined Series, where the works have a speedier energy as Caligiuri works with lines. Or the Animation Series, where raised dots and squares appear again, but this time looking like sparkling LED lights. The Inside Series has a more homey feel, where the work seems to borrow from, as the title suggests, the inside of a home. Wood panelling shows up prominently in this series.
While the works in the different series have different feels, there is a unified nature to Caligiuri's work--and it is hard to imagine it ever blending in with a home, even if a work borrows from that environment. The unifying force is partially one of subject, as Caligiuri works heavily with geometrics and repetition throughout his series. But it is also the style. While one work may have an earthier feel to it, and another have a brighter feel, it is all unmistakeably human.
Caligiuri grew up in Argentina, and now lives in Philadelphia. Caligiuri is one of many exciting new artists to the 2016 Armonk Outdoor Art Show. He says he enjoys using "ordinary elements" in his goal to represent the meeting of nature and human. He largely uses plaster and paint--he carves each one of the raised shapes from plaster. His hope is to use simplicity to draw the viewer into the movement of each work. It is certainly a soothing experience, viewing one of his works.