Friday, September 24, 2010

Dale TerBush as "The Artist of Light"

Some people are just born with talent. Dale TerBush is one of those people, and he demonstrated that talent through his art show at Exclusive Collections Gallery.

The intimate show took place on the Saturday evening of September eighteenth at Exclusive Collections Gallery in Fashion Valley. A gargantuan canvas dominated the room, in front of which sat Dale TerBush, self-taught painter of fifty-six years. Painting nonstop, he shared his experiences as an artist, discussing his preference for acrylics, his beginning at the age of five, and his passion for writing and the arts. Guests enjoyed the opportunity to converse one-on-one with the painter, ask him questions, and take pictures.

The six-by-ten foot canvas mesmerized the onlookers with its painstaking detail and its representation of light and depth. Observing his work, I immediately recalled Edmund Burke’s On the Sublime and the Beautiful: “Mere light is too common a thing to make a strong impression on the mind, and without a strong impression nothing can be sublime. But such a light as that of the sun, immediately exerted on the eye, as it overpowers the sense, is a very great idea. It is with this strong impression that the viewer is spellbound, as Dale Terbush constructs a scene harvested from the sun’s outstretched rays. His images are like a dream, in that they seem so convincingly real, yet like nothing seen before.

TerBush’s landscapes appeal to the imagination with their inception in the mind of the artist. Upon seeing the amount of detail granted to each square inch of that impressive canvas, it becomes difficult to believe that the landscape does not exactly imitate some real location abroad. The artist explained how many people claim that they know where one of his mountains exists, but he always denies that possibility. He rationalizes that upon looking at one of his paintings, their emotions draw them back to a memory of some similar place. After all, with an image so lifelike, it is easy to be drawn in to Dale TerBush’s creative mindset.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Asencio's "Allegro"

"It's about the essence," explained Henry Asencio of his newly unveiled production entitled "Mistral". Indeed, the painting captures the ephemeral quality of a fleeting moment in time, as the guests at his show, "Allegro", witnessed firsthand.

The night of August twenty-seventh at Fashion Valley’s Exclusive Collections Gallery featured the performing talents of painter Henry Asencio with flamenco guitarist David Maldonado. Widely known for his contemporary figures, the guests meandered through the gallery to enjoy his works on display and meet the artist in person. The festivities spilled outside into the warm summer evening for the live event, and in three captivating fifteen-minute intervals, Asencio brought a new work of art into the world.

The artist’s brushstrokes rose and fell with the rhythmic dexterity of a flamenco dancer. I could not help but imagine myself in his place: staring at a blank canvas in the middle of an expectant crowd, hoping to pull a white rabbit out of a black top hat, or at least that artistic equivalent. Surely, so many people are only a distraction to creating fine art.

However, as time went on and the form of a beautiful girl began to materialize next to its living counterpart, I began to sense a connection between the artist and his enraptured audience. Henry Asencio drew encouragement from his onlookers and thrived on their hushed murmurs. We all felt invested in his work, and took the moment to heart. I had a poignant realization that this painting was a direct product of not only the model, but all of its surroundings. A collective gasp from the surrounding onlookers confirmed my feeling as an unruly gust of summer wind attempted to send the canvas to the floor and add its own touch to the newly finished painting. Luckily, the gallery co-owner, Ruth-Ann Thorn, leaped upon the stage to intervene.

Interludes between these performing sessions found Asencio deep in conversation with his guests. He would stand next to a piece, paint still smudged on his hands, and point out the greater intricacies of his work. He invited everyone to stand as close as possible, to really examine their details. I listened as he pointed to the background of a painting, comparing the color to that of a plum; not just the purplish mauve of a plum, but its covering of dust that must be wiped off, the shiny skin underneath, and that juicy first bite. He stepped back and said, “And so I was inspired by a plum,” then he laughed as he focused on the figure in the foreground, “and a woman.”

Henry Asencio’s show that night made me reexamine my relationship to art. It reminded me that fine art does not begin as an antique, its artist honored in posthumous fame. For those who proudly walked away with a new painting from the “Allegro” show also walked away with a story, a memory of their night, and a personal relationship with the artist. Asencio’s paintings capture the dynamic, fleeting quality of time. In this way, he reminds us that we must actively capture our own moments, and take pleasure in the present. Feeling truly privileged to have witnesses the creation of a painting in front of my very eyes, I can say that I have done just that.