Strength & Grace - The Olympic Spirit
Elisa Contemporary Art presents Strength and Grace, an Olympic Tribute. The exhibit opens May 11th, 2012.
Strength and Grace honors the athletic prowess and beauty of two Summer Olympic sports – Swimming and Equestrian Riding and Jumping.
Several of our featured artists have an Olympic connection. For Graphite Artist, Sheona Hamilton-Grant, her first muse and start of her artistic career, was equine Superstar, Rembrandt Borbet,. She met “Remmi” when she worked for 1988 and 1992 Olympic Gold medalist, Nicole Uphoff, the German Dressage rider. The exhibit will also feature, one of her portrait’s of the legendary sire Florestan I. He has made breeding history. His bloodline having marked and shaped the German warmblood horse. Many horses performing in the London 2012 Summer Olympics will be of Florestan decent.
Hawaii artist, Carol Bennett, first started painting swimmers when she was living in Los Angeles and swimming at the LA Athletic Club. According to Carol, “The floor beneath the pool, with its ethereal skylight was an underwater observation room...used by Olympic coaches in the 1920's. I would feel like a voyeur, watching the swimmer's private time and drawing in their beauty.” It was here she learned to capture their movement, reflections and grace.
The exhibit will feature the Equestrian artwork of three, stylisticly different artists. Each brings the majestic and powerful animals to life and into action: Arizona Mixed Media Realist, Ken Peloke; European Graphite Artist, Sheona Hamilton-Grant ; Expressionistic Idaho Artist, Donna Bernstein. It will also feature the Swimmers of Hawaii Artist, Carol Bennett and San Francisco Minimalist, Jeffrey Palladini.
Meet the Artists:
Ken Peloke’s photorealistic mixed media horse paintings were inspired by the time he spent with his wife’s horses. Ken discovered their beauty, their athleticism, and their innocence. His bold, large-scale pieces capture the pure essence of each horse – the beauty, nobility and power. His multimedia approach creates depth and incredible realism to his pieces that give them a one of a kind contemporary appeal. According to Ken, “There is such an honesty and purity that is felt while spending time with our horse, as an artist I feel compelled to try to relay those same emotions to the viewers through my work.” Although born in rural New York, Ken has lived in Arizona since he was 9. Ken’s work is in public and private collections throughout the US.
Graphite Artist, Sheona Hamilton-Grant was born in Scotland, grew up in Holland, France and Belgium (where she now lives). “Animals have always been a big part of my life, as long as I can remember” says Sheona. For 10 years she worked with horses professionally, as a groom and rider, with half that time spent working for an Olympic gold medalist in dressage.
Working in the heart of the European equestrian world gave Sheona a unique opportunity to fully discover the beauty and mesmerizing presence of world-class horses.
She creates photorealist works about domestic animals (primarily, horses and dogs), and their interaction with humans working exclusively in black and white. For her, the power of the pencil is its simplicity, and its effectiveness as a vehicle for applying the philosophy less is more. “Black and white allows me to get to the essence of a subject and show emotion in a clear, direct way. It doesn’t distract the way color can,” she says.
Sheona has exhibited throughout the world and is in public collections including the Westphalian Horse Museum in Munster Germany, as well as in over 230 private collections Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Sweden, Italy, the United Kingdom and the USA.
As a child, Expressionistic artist, Donna Bernstein would visit her neighbor’s horses and sit an entire day and watch, day after day. She started to notice every slight ripple in a muscle; how they would flick the flies with their ears as they grazed, how they would jump for joy when the feeling arose. She studied their physiology, their bones, their illnesses and cures. According to
Donna, “What gives my work its edge is a deep personal familiarity with the physical horse…and an expansive sense that the movement is bigger than what you see…My memory, my fantasy, my energetic connection to horses helped to stylize them in my art, and part of that is what you see today. I often say I don’t paint horses; I paint how horses make me feel.”
Donna Bernstein was born in New York. Largely self-taught, she studied privately with artist Robert Dash, and later studies in Japanese ink work and brush techniques. In 1998 Donna and her husband moved to McCall, Idaho where she now has her studio. Donna has exhibited throughout the US and her work is in public and private collections worldwide.
Carol Bennett has lived and painted on the island of Kauai for the last 20 years. After graduating from the University of California Santa Barbara (College of Creative Studies) and the Art Center College of Design (Los Angeles), Carol became a scenic artist, painting stage sets for theater, film and TV. It was this experience that has driven Carol’s continuous exploration into texture, layering and the use of new and innovative materials. According to Carol, ““I have a free-wheeling approach to technique and materials: hypothesis, experiment and conclusion…I am intrigued by the innate nature of different types of material… the nature of things” Carol's work has been featured in many solo and group exhibits. Carol has created several public art projects including “Water as a Point of Departure” for the Nawiiwili Harbor in Oahu and a 48' x 8' photovoltaic glass canopy for the Hawai'i State Art Museum Sculpture Garden,. Her work is in numerous public and private collections including The Contemporary Museum of Art (Hawaii) and The Persis Collection of Contemporary Art.
Jeffrey Palladini’s unconventional portraits evoke feelings of sensuality and euphoria. While the San Francisco-based artist studied at California State University, it was in Florence that his true creative spirit was pulled forth from the beauty that surrounded him.
Now his modern figure paintings breathe life with vibrant colors and flowing brush strokes. Unlike many portrait paintings, Jeffrey minimizes the amount of detail and information allowing the viewer to gain intense suggestions of emotions in an instant.“ As in memory, all is viewed in snapshots, in glimpses. Complex narratives, transformative events, entire lifetimes, boiled down to these singular points in time.” The simplicity is reminiscent of Alex Katz.
Jeffrey Palladini has exhibited his work around the United States for nearly twenty years. His work is included in numerous private and corporate collections.