Latest Library Exhibit Features Work of Local Florida Artists

Latest Library Exhibit Features Work of Local Florida Artists

The newest display at the Ave Maria University Canizaro Exhibit Gallery features a selection of pieces—both painting and sculpture—by members of the Florida Artists Group (FLAG). The exhibit opened on January 19th with a reception, including public remarks offered by some of the featured artists present, and it will close after an artist gallery talk on March 16th.


The twenty works now on display span the gamut between realism and abstraction, organic and synthetic, the natural and the fanciful. The media used include watercolor, acrylic, alabaster, marble, canvas, silk, wood, oil and dye. The subject matter ranges from snapshots of daily life (Sonnenberg’s “Please Don’t Eat the Shoes” or Costa’s “Three Men in a Boat”), to images of the aquatic (Blanchard’s “Koi Pond,” Gill’s “Baby Bowl,” or Spry’s “Alone”), to thoughtful compositions that beg the viewer to think more deeply on what they see (take, for instance, Cullen’s “Guarding the Dream,” or Fausel’s “Reflections of Zurich,” or Shapses’ “Ethereality”). Then, of course, there are Pat Zalisko’s two wall canvases that seethe with color, shape and dynamic lines.


[Above, Zalisko stands beside “Jekyll Island,” Acrylic on Canvas, 64 x 72.]

“I’m an action artist,” Zalisko explained at the exhibit’s opening reception. She works quickly, with high quality paints, inspired by graffiti, and often in response to music or text. Zalisko is Chair of Region VII Chapter of FLAG, which spans Henry, Lee, Collier, Charlotte and Glades Counties (AMU is located within Collier County). Florida Artists Group, Inc. (FLAG) was founded in 1949 as an organization of professional artists. The organization holds an annual symposium and regional exhibits through the year. Zalisko remarked with gratitude that it is a “God-send” when curators such as Jennifer Nodes, Director of Library Services and Curator at AMU, offer the group an opportunity to share their art. Works by nine of Area VII’s fifteen listed artists are currently on display at the Canizaro Library exhibit.

Besides the chance to view the work of local artists, members of the AMU community may find something more to pique their interest in the latest library exhibit. One artist in particular is no stranger to AMU—her big and bold canvases were stretched across the library halls for two months last spring in the exhibit “Boundless” (March 11-May 9, 2016). “I really enjoy working large because I’m short,” Joan Brechin Sonnenberg shared with those gathered for the opening reception. “I feel more comfortable on a large scale.” Sonnenberg’s primary interest as an artist is the relationship between realism and abstraction—how they interact and overlap. In her last exhibit at AMU, most of the works on display were abstract pieces; for the library’s current exhibit, Sonnenberg decided to display two of her more realistic works.


[Above, Shapses stands beside his sculpture, “Ode to Russ,” Carrara Marble, 29x19x9.] 

Another artist’s work is of particular interest to the AMU community. Sculptor Joel Shapses, at the exhibit’s opening reception, shared how one of his featured pieces, “Ode to Russ,” is carved from a piece of Carrara marble leftover from the Annunciation Sculpture on Ave Maria Church. The sculpture is imbued with a strong vitality, which is not surprising given its history. Shapses carved the marble in honor of his colleague, Russ Rubin, who had originally procured the piece of scrap marble from the Annunciation sculptor, Marton Varo. The chunk was large, so Shapses agreed to buy half of it if Rubin would split it. That afternoon, Rubin suffered a heart attack and subsequently died. Shapses picked up the piece of marble at a later date. “As I…started working,” he recalls, “I felt the spirit of Russ in the stone [and] I let [it] flow into the work.”

There are many more pieces of art that capture and inspire the imagination now on display in the Canizaro Library exhibit. Don’t miss this opportunity to view them!

Exhibit Details

“Florida Artists Group Regional Exhibition”
Ave Maria University Canizaro Library, Second Floor Exhibit Gallery
January 19-March 17, 2017
For viewing hours, visit the library’s webpage

Artist Gallery Talk

Thursday, March 16, 2017

[Below, some of the artists gather for a photo with curator Jennifer Nodes during the exhibit’s opening reception. From left to right: Sonnenberg, Zalisko, Nodes, Shapses, and Gill.]