February has been celebrated as American Heart Month since 1963. Thursday, Feburary 7th, the night of the opening reception at Agora Gallery, marked the first day of congenital heart disease week. In keeping with this spirit, fourteen artists in the February collective exhibitions have created additional artworks from which the entire sales proceeds will be donated to the Children’s Heart Foundation. On February 7th, representatives of the Children’s Heart Foundation attended the reception and were thrilled to be a part of this unique and important event: Art to Heart. Here is a sneak peek at some of the works and artists who have made this incredible show possible.
Great things are said to come in twos. This is proven in the case of Escoto.Carrara, two artists from Mexico who work exclusively as a pair. The artistic duo is comprised of Federico Escoto and Roberto Carrara, who met thirteen years ago and have been working together for the last seven. “Before we knew each other, we each had only a small vision of what we were looking for. Once we began working as a team, we found a solid, concrete and precise idea of our artistic path” explains Escoto.Carrara. They are interested and inspired by the digital revolution and its infinite and unknowable implications; yet they still use oils and photorealistic painting techniques to create their paintings, rather than pixels. Heart on Top is on display in the Art to Heart exhibition. It is a psychedelic celebration of color, which the artists have a special appreciation for given their location. From the colorful houses to the landscape, color is virtually everywhere in Mexico. Equinoccio, which is on display in Idiosyncratic Expressions, appears at first glance to be a digitally-altered photograph. Upon further consideration it becomes clear that the work is indeed a painting—it is here that the level of technical skill and conceptual mastery becomes clear.
Jennifer Contini Enderby is an artistic dynamo whose work is forceful and unparalleled. Working with mixed media on canvas, Enderby uses acrylics, metals, resins, plastics, marbles, maps and signs salvaged from her New York City environment. “I find I express myself best through the diverse materials and objects that I interact with every day,” says Enderby. Her work is truly a reflection of her unique and vivacious personality. She applies paint thickly to the canvas, creating works as blatantly genuine as her character. Her colors are likewise bright and daring. Enderby has a compassionate and kindhearted spirit. This reflects in her work as she donates a percentage of her sales proceeds to charity. She is inspired by the fast-paced rhythm of New York City, where she has lived for nearly twenty years. Heritage Red is a large-scale mixed media work and a showstopping addition to Degrees of Abstraction. During the reception, everyone seemed to want a photo in front of this work, in which she illustrates a colossal heart that seems to be dripping off of the canvas. It expresses what Enderby calls, “the joie de vivre of the deep heart’s core.” Enderby has Celebrate Life! on display in Art to Heart. It also contains the artist’s signature heart and it too expresses a childlike innocence while simultaneously communicating a very adult sense of humor and wisdom.
Martyn Royce is a London-based painter whose work is featured in Degrees of Abstraction. He uses eclectic shapes to create abstracted portraiture with a fresh sense of optimism and freedom. Bold and contrasting color and warped perspective are used to realize his creations. Figure in a Landscape contains Royce’s manifestation of a male figure that leans forward, creating a semicircle with his distorted and elongated body and extremities. The male figure is visible from the front, from above and from behind. “I find liberation and exhilaration in the total freedom of form, color and spatial ground that my style allows,” explains Royce. “My work questions the experiences and journeys that we all make throughout our lives: our expectations, our confusions, our weaknesses and our dreams.” And the artist certainly achieves this goal in a way that is incredibly open-minded and even humorous in some instances. This very much reflects the artist himself, who made us all laugh many times during Thursday’s reception. In Art to Heart, Royce presents Figures with Heart, which contains the same uplifting, brilliant color as his other larger works, and his delightful simplification and abstraction of the human form.
Remember, all of the works in Art to Heart will be on view until February 27th. We welcome all art enthusiasts to view this collection of small works to honor little hearts all around the world!