Allyn Gallup Contemporary Art Presents “Some Wonderful Abstractions”

August 15 – October 5, 2013
Allyn Gallup Contemporary Art

A group show featuring paintings and works on paper by gallery artists, a survey of paintings by Bianca Pratorius and sculpture by Mary-Ann Prack

August 15 – October 5, 2013
Some Wonderful Abstractions
Allyn Gallup Contemporary Art
Sarasota, FL

Allyn Gallup Contemporary Art gallery presents “Some Wonderful Abstractions,” August 15-October 5, 2013, featuring paintings and works on paper by Luisa Basnuevo, Michael Kessler, Juri Morioka, Gustavo Ramos Rivera, Yolanda Sanchez, Richard Schemm, Mike Solomon and Valerie Stuart. The exhibit also features a survey of paintings by Bianca Pratorius with selections from three bodies of work created over 15 years and sculpture by Mary-Ann Prack.

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Street view, Allyn Gallup Contemporary Art

Luisa Basnuevo ( Miami ) was born in Cuba and came to the United States via Spain. She received a B.F.A from Florida International University and a M.F.A. from Yale University School of Art in 1991. Her paintings have been exhibited in museums and galleries in the United States and abroad, including the Southeastern Center of Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and the Musée de Luxembourg in Paris. Her work is included in public and corporate collections throughout Florida, including those of the Miami Art Museum, the Ringling Museum, and the Polk Museum of Art in Lakeland. She is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endownment for the Arts/Southeastern Arts Federation, the South Florida Consortium, and the Division of Cultural Affairs, Florida Department of State.

Michael Kessler ( Santa Fe ) makes nature-based paintings that merge geometric elements with biomorphism. Influenced by the paintings of Brice Marden and Elizabeth Murray, as well as by the music of Phillip Glass and Steve Reich, his works are characterized by large fields of diaphanous color that are activated by organic linear structures that have been visually and physically woven into a grid structure which consists of thick slabs of paint. Kessler’s work is shown and collected around the country.

Juri Morioka ( New York )was born in Tokyo and came to the United States as a high school exchange student. She earned a BFA in painting at Parsons School of Design in 1990 and has been working in Manhattan ever since. About her work, she says, “I always approach the canvas directly, without any preceding sketches or studies. I paint in the manner of Zen, moving my brushes along with my mind’s rhythm, relying solely on instinct and intuition. Outside of conscious thought, I search for harmony and form in the play of color and shapes, and a composition gradually emerges. Then, feeling my way with my brush, I enter the painting and wander through its spaces and along its paths with a deep sense of belonging. I welcome the viewer to join me on the same journey, with the same sense of belonging, sharing in the belief that everything has a life of its own.”

Gustavo Ramos Rivera ( San Fransisco ) is an abstract painter whose work is celebrated for its intense emotional content and its unique, personal symbology. Rivera’s paintings combine the palette and iconography of the indigenous cultural heritage of his native Mexico with classic techniques of post war American abstraction. In his paintings, Rivera constructs layers of intense translucent color fields upon which he lays simple hieroglyphic markings of rich impasto which seem at once archaic and contemporary. They articulate a poetic narrative but also express the artist’s pure delight in working the medium of oil paint. In addition to his painting Rivera is also a master printmaker who works in monotypes, intaglio and lithography. He has also produced unique and limited edition artist books illustrated with original art. Rivera is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships and in 2006 the San Jose Museum of Art presented a retrospective exhibition of the artist’s work that traveled to additional venues in Mexico and California.

Yolanda Sánchez ( Miami ) was born in Havana, Cuba, and emigrated to the United States in 1960. She obtained a Ph.D. in clinical psychology in 1979, and has practiced and taught psychology at the graduate level for over 30 years. Prompted by a personal crisis in her mid-30s, Sánchez decided to give voice to her creativity and returned to school, obtaining a BFA and, subsequently, an MFA from Yale University in painting. She is a Fulbright scholar, completing her fellowship as a painter in Spain. Sánchez conducts “research” in the natural landscape—largely influenced by color, texture and light—and paints in her studio. Her work is never a direct translation of what she sees, but rather is an expression of a felt experience, a memory of or desire for the experience. The paintings are also informed by a variety of sources, including the physical world, literature, and particularly, poetry, dance, calligraphy and Asian art. She works with oils on both paper and canvas.

Yolanda Sanchez, Something in the Air, 2012 oil on canvas, 70″ x 60″

A native of Michigan who studied at Cranbrook, Richard Schemm ( Traverse City Mi ) lives today in a log home outside Traverse City. An early interest in cabinetmaking developed his interest in beautiful wood finishes and eventually in making beautiful paintings. His work has been praised for its attention to detail and keen use of color. Schemm has exhibited widely over the past 30 years including at New York’s Allan Stone Gallery.

Mike Solomon ( East Hampton ) makes sculpture and paintings that combine the conceptual with the abstract. In an essay about his work, art critic Helen Harrison wrote, “His art embodies fundamental qualities that he perceives in nature, for which he creates aesthetic analogies. Without imitating those qualities he captures their essence, pins it down and offers it as a gift to those who take the time to receive it.”

Michael Solomon, Memoria de Seville, 2012, watercolor on papers infused with epoxy, mounted on panel, 36" x 36"
Mike Solomon, A Frank O’Hara Summer, 2012, watercolor on papers infused with epoxy, mounted on panel, 24″ x 24″

Through the use of color, brush strokes and fresco applications Valerie Stuart ( Sun Valley ) creates haunting atmospheric imagery from natural sources such as landscapes, seascapes, skyscapes, flowers and plants. She plays with color and form to create a dream-like experience that invites the viewers to bring their personal interpretations into the piece. Stuart’s work attempts to create a relationship or shared experience between the viewer and her work by developing color field landscapes that evoke memories or fantasies.

Bianca Pratorius ( Miami ) was born in Cologne, Germany, in 1969. She completed a three-year program at the Holzfachschule Koeln focusing on furniture building and design. She subsequently moved to Miami and now lives and works in the Miami area. Her work is featured internationally in many private and corporate collections, including the Neiman Marcus Collection ( in a number of store locations ) and the Millenium Partners Collection permanently displayed in the Four Seasons Hotel in Miami. “The unifying thread through my work has been pattern and repetition, which I explore through simple yet labor-intensive processes,” she says. “The patterns reprensent the perfect analogy for the chaos that surrounds us and the complexities within us.”

Bianca Pratorius, What Makes You Think You Can Say That
Bianca Pratorius, What Makes You Think You Can Say That

During the 1980’s, Mary-Ann Prack ( Jefferson NC ) concentrated on developing hand-built ceramics as a sculpture medium; exhibiting her work in a broad range of indoor and outdoor venues. Though she uses ceramics as a material she does not follow the potters vessel concept but blazes her own path with clay as a pure sculpture medium; hand-building each piece using stoneware clay slabs; carved line work/textures; and glazes, colors, or stains with a painters approach to surface treatments. In 1994, she and her husband moved their studio to North Carolina, to take advantage of an environment that “amplifies the creative spirit.” Prack continues to exhibit her work in commercial and institutional galleries within the United States and Canada. She has fully matured her artistic style into an instantly recognizable abstract expressionist form that continues to gather awards and commendations from critics everywhere.

Mary Ann Prack, Anu

About Allyn Gallup Contemporary Art

Allyn Gallup Contemporary Art was established in 1991. Since the beginning, its founder, Allyn Gallup, has been committed to providing serious art to the community. Through this commitment, the gallery has earned the reputation as the leading place in southwest Florida to view contemporary art. The gallery’s collection includes paintings, sculptures, mixed-media assemblages, works on paper and prints by mid-career artists with well-established exhibition records. The gallery also occasionally showcases works by promising emerging artists.

Allyn Gallup Contemporary Art
1288 N. Palm Ave. Sarasota, FL 34236

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Abstract, adj.: Expressing a quality apart from an object.

February 22 – April 3, 2013
Selby Gallery, Ringling College of Art + Design

The resurgence of abstract painting in contemporary art has provided the opportunity to explore current trends in relationship to the historic movements that began to appear nearly a century ago.

February 22 – April 3, 2013
Selby Gallery, Ringling College of Art and Design

Installation-Abstract, adj.- Expressing a quality apart from an object
Installation-Abstract, adj.- Expressing a quality apart from an object

Selby Galleries I and II: The resurgence of abstract painting in contemporary art has provided the opportunity to explore current trends in relationship to the historic movements that began to appear nearly a century ago and the new directions being taken by painters today. The subject will be addressed through the work of emerging, mid-career and well-established artists who have been inspired by the concepts developed in the past, nature, music, mathematics, the spiritual and new media.

Peter Plagens, Get In There Fast, 2010, mixed media on canvas, 54” x 52”
Peter Plagens, Get In There Fast, 2010, mixed media on canvas, 54” x 52”

Featured artists include: Peter Plagens, Frank Owen, Howard Buchwald, Linda Mieko Allen, Richard Purdy, Don Smith, Frances de la Rosa, Sam Parker, David Maxium, Yari Ostovany, Mike Solomon, Syd Solomon, Livia C. Stein, Yolanda Sanchez, Joan Thorne, and David Budd.

Opening Reception: Fri., Feb. 22, 5-7 p.m.
Director’s Tour: Mon., Feb. 25, 11:30 a.m.

Peter Plagens (born 1941 in Dayton, Ohio) is an American art critic, painter and novelist. He received his BFA from the University of Southern California and his MFA from Syracuse University. From 1989 until 2003 Plagens was a senior writer and art critic for Newsweek. He now writes about art for the Wall Street Journal and for ArtForum magazine. Although Plagens is perceived as a critic who happens to paint, he thinks of himself as a painter who happens to write art criticism. His work is the collections of the Albright-Knox Gallery, Baltimore Museum of Art and the Hirshhorn Museum, among others; and is represented by the Nancy Hoffman Gallery, New York.

“Here is work that looks like no one else’s and keeps on doing so as it changes according to nothing but the inner necessity of the artist.” – Alan G. Artner, Chicago Tribune art critic

For more information please go to :

Phone: 941.359.7563 or 941.351.5100

A complementary exhibition of abstract painting by Ringling College of Art and Design alumni will be showcased in the Patricia Thompson Gallery, Keating Center. Alumni painters include: Omar Chacon Jr., Kris Chatterson, Vince Contarino, Michael Crabb, Nicole Mauser, and Claudia Ryan. This exhibition runs Jan. 18 – May 3, 2013.

Selby Gallery is located on the Ringling College of Art and Design campus, one-half block east of 2700 N. Tamiami Trail on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Way in Sarasota.

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Interview with Yolanda Sanchez

Cuban born abstract painter, Yolanda Sanchez, earned an MFA from Yale in the mid 90’s, 15 years after earning a Ph.D. Clinical Psychology from Florida State. While at Yale, she studied with the British painter, John Walker, who became a mentor, and with Andrew Forge and David Pease, among others.

Currently, Yolanda lives and works in Miami Beach, Florida and her work joins 16 other contemporary abstract painters as part of Selby Gallery’s newest exhibition Abstract, adj.: Expressing a quality apart from an object opening Friday, February 22 – April 3, 2013 at the Ringling College of Art and Design. Below, Tim Jaeger interviews Sanchez about her work, process, and abstraction.

Yolanda Sanchez, Something in the Air, oil on canvas, 2012, 70" x 60"
Yolanda Sanchez, Something in the Air, oil on canvas, 2012, 70″ x 60″

sVA: For those who have a hard time understanding abstract art, what is it?

YS: I am sure there are many definitions of “abstract art.” I like to think of it as a simplification, a sort of “boiling down” to what is essential. One can also think of it as a synthesis or condensation of an image or feelings or events, which in turn, are translated into a composition based on relationships between color, marks and/or shapes. For some artists, this definition would not even apply as some artists believe that abstraction is wholly devoid of content. My work, however, is, in fact, loosely based on the natural world – but “abstracted” or condensed into a series of marks and gestures that, together with color, create the work.

sVA: Why did you choose abstract as your creative style of choice?

YS: I think that abstraction chose me! For a long time, I was a figurative painter, but gradually, I came to feel that working figuratively was limiting for me – that I could do more or say more of what I wanted by working abstractly. The change was made gradually, however. Over time, and little by little, I began to eliminate the recognizable imagery, until it disappeared. It took a while to feel comfortable with this. Abstraction allows me a great deal more freedom to work with the tools I have – color, light, mark and gesture – and to some extent, facilitates more of a dialogue with the viewer – it allows the viewer greater opportunity to enter into interaction with the work, to project their own interpretation of what may be going on. I am influenced by calligraphy, poetry and Asian painting primarily in terms of mark-making and the handling of space. Abstraction allows me to integrate these influences in a non-literal way. I am not trying to make paintings that look Asian, but rather I want to access the invisible forces that drive that particular aesthetic.

sVA: Describe your creative process.

YS: Making art for me is a way of paying attention, of being more present in the world. It is my desire to become a more “finely tuned observer” and to live more in the moment. My work is primarily driven by color and I usually start with a certain palette in mind, although color may change as I work. My work is process-oriented – meaning that the work evolves as it is made. In other words, I create the work as I do it. I let the painting speak to me and I never really know where it will end up. Some works come about easily; others are more hard-won. I wish I knew what conditions lead to one or the other, but I don’t! My work is spiritually based to a large extent, and thus, being in the right frame of mind is very important. Sometimes I meditate before I start to work or I will read poetry. Poetry is a key element to my work – it is another portal to what I want to access – as is calligraphy and dance. I am interested inmovement (I had early training in dance), and how movement and stillness relate to one another (this is what calligraphy and dance have in common.)

sVA: Do you think that painting abstract allows you more freedom?

YS: Working abstractly allows me to create a space that is fluid, impermanent and changing; it leaves something that is unsaid and that is incomplete. I like the idea of something being “incomplete” as it makes the work more interesting and permits the viewer to complete the work.

sVA: Abstract art evokes a lot of emotions through color and composition. Can you tell us how you use color and composition to evoke emotion in your pieces?

YS: As I said above, my work is primarily steered by color, mark and gesture. These are my tools to communicate what I desire. Of the three, color is most important to me and it is the essence of the work. I do not form particular associations of color to particular emotions. These relationships are open-ended and different for each painting. My use of a certain shade of pink for one painting does not necessarily crossover for another painting. White is a key “color” in the work and it has a positive presence. The composition itself – the relationship between the painted and unpainted spaces (white) and the accumulation of marks – also plays an important role in conveying a distinct feeling or emotion. The work, as I said, is a condensation of feelings or experiences. The work is not about language nor does it necessarily want interpretation – but aims to achieve a sensual, visual pleasure.

In some ways, I am trying to create an intermediate space that is really between inner and outer worlds. I am, in a way, painting “the in-between” and once labeled an entire show “Meditations on the Between.”

sVA: What has been your greatest difficulty as an abstract artist and how did you overcome it?

YS: I think the biggest challenge in making abstract art for me was to really grant myself the freedom that it tolerates. There is a certain safety in painting figuratively. Painting without a lot of structure is sometimes harder than you would think. This continues to test me. Also, I am constantly striving for simplification, and yet, my works have a complexity to them that I believe really reflects who I am. As I evolve, I hope that my work will follow. You show your true face in your work – it is inevitable.

sVA: What is next for you?

Ys: I have several series in mind at the moment. One idea comes from a book entitled “Music of Silence” in which the hours of the day are given special, sacred significance (as they are in a monastery). Each hour has an individual character and presence. The challenge is to interpret this – in a non-literal way – and to make works that convey the essence and message of each hour.

Want to see more of Yolanda Sanchez’s work?

Feb. 22 – April 3, 2013
Contemporary Abstract Painting
Selby Galleries I & II: The resurgence of Abstract Painting in contemporary art provides this opportunity to explore current trends in relation to the historic movement through the exhibition of eight working painters ranging in age from their thirties’ to their eighties’ who are inspired by nature, music, mathematics, the spiritual and new media.
• Artists Talk and Preview: Thurs., Feb. 21, 7 p.m.
• Opening Reception & Performances: Fri., Feb. 22, 5-7 p.m.
• Director’s Tour: Mon., Feb. 25, 11:30 a.m.

Installation-Abstract, adj.- Expressing a quality apart from an object
Installation-Abstract, adj.- Expressing a quality apart from an object