Studio 53 has an outstanding show going on through Aug. 1 featuring the work of David Estey and Jack Silverio. David’s abstracts continue to take viewers on unpredictable journeys, while Jack’s geometric paintings are simultaneously intriguing and soothing. All new work! OK, there are a couple of exceptions, but 98% of this show is new work created over the past 15 months.
Jack is a retired architect who designed St. Columba’s Church over on Emery Lane – among many others. While I was talking with him his love of wooden country churches, particularly the stave churches in Norway, came up. After taking a look at some of them online, there’s no doubt about their influence on the design of St. Columba’s.
He describes his work as studies in proportion and diminishing proportion … and the Fibonacci sequence and the Golden Ratio are explored and employed in depth in his art. I’m no artist or mathematician … and geometry? Feggetaboutit! After researching the Fibonacci and Golden Ratio, I decided it best all around not to get into it beyond this: balance and harmony are created through the use of one or both. The Fibonacci sequence goes like this: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34 … and on by adding the last two numbers in the sequence … so the next number would be 55. Why I even go this much further is because the sequence is found in nature – the branching of trees, the petals on some flowers, shells … and extending out to spiral galaxies!
Jack wrote a book about it, “Art with Fibonacci – Working With the Golden Ratio,” and there are a few copies at Studio 53 to peruse.
But, back to Earth: Jack describes his colors are mixed opposites – light/dark, intense/dull … all used to create his proportion studies. I see it as balance – yin and yang, which is most likely why his paintings are so pleasing to look at.
His painting “Diagnols” is on paper, handmade, organic, stock made by friend Gigi Sarfield, with Flashe (French vinyl) paint. There are three sets of triangle pairs moving up a bisque colored paper. The pattern the pairs make were like stepping stones for me, each set a paler shade of grey moving me up the page. I didn’t stop with the third set – my eyes kept moving upward, repeating the pattern, the fourth set a smaller variation of the second, the grey growing so pale in my mind’s eye it eventually became mist. And I thought I couldn’t get into geometrical art!
Another painting I thoroughly enjoyed is “Spring Leap,” also on paper/Flashe paint. It actually did make me feel hope, feel happy … colors of pink, rose and mauve ... and that great spring green ziplining action creating the geometric shapes … I felt like I was walking up a spiral staircase in a lighthouse tower – the Fibonacci sequence in subliminal action?
David says there’s a spirituality in Jack’s art as well as his architecture. The closest to architecture we get in the show are his sculptures – wood, granite and one, from 2018, in bronze. Jack’s website is https://silverioartworks.com
David Estey – After all of the reviews I have done about his shows at Studio 53 over the past eight or so years what more could I possibly have to say? Plenty. This new body of work, save for two shown at River Arts in late spring, and “Picasso Meets Satchmo,” a huge arcylic, collage painting, was completed during the COVID-19 period from 2020 to June of this year. There is quite a bit of blue in these paintings and David isn’t quite sure why, perhaps it had something to do with his mood.
“I was working all of the time. We couldn’t go anywhere, no one was coming over … I just kept improvising as I went, not knowing where the work would go. I was having a good time exploring shapes, color, and form ... just letting the painting be about that. Many of them are untitled while others did come to have a narrative form for me.”
“Inexplicably Blue” is a visual stream-of-consciousness depiction of the chaos, uncertainty and fear that took up residence in the psyches of everyone in the world when COVID-19 became part of our reality. If I had to choose one painting that was a commentary on the pandemic, it’s this one.
Black streaks in the dark blue background are heavier in some areas eating away at the hope things will return to normal anytime soon. Blue is usually a comfortable color – how many people do you know who say it is their favorite? Throughout this painting, the dark blue is threatening, not comforting. Dry brush strokes throughout the piece symbolize the chaotic energy within us and our safe place: home. The solid areas of black, the virus itself, insidiously worming its way into our lives … lighter blue areas are fading, blocked within the jumbled shapes of what might be our homes, our bodies, or our minds.
On the right there is a red spray of liquid – blood? – being spewed from the chaos and, in its left corner, one human eye is looking out at the viewer. Looking out to the future … whatever that might be … “Inexplicably Blue” is a powerful piece. I could return to it as one does a sad, painful memory long after the event has passed, and be thankful for having survived intact, more or less.
The moment I looked at David’s “Untitled 030211” I thought, ‘This should be called ‘The Industrious Rabbit.” Its thumbprint patterned head is just left of center. But this is a futuristic rabbit, or hare, using leftover man-made building materials for his nest – probably a reflection of my concern about all of the building, and clearing of forested areas going on everywhere it seems. Where will they live in 40, 50, 100 years? So, this industrious fellow is taking a rest under an old green car roof, a piece of wood here, remnants of a fence there …
After I wrote this, I looked back at some of the photographs I’d taken of Jack’s paintings and they definitely balanced out the intense inner journeys some of David’s pieces took me on this time!
These two solo shows, on the first floor, may be around just until Aug. 1, but there are two other floors of great art by several equally distinctive artists: gallery owners Heidi Seidelhuber and Terry Seaman, Tony van Hasselt, A.W.H., David Dupree, Jaap Eduard Helder, H. Lane Smith, Ida Schmolowitz and Jerry Immonen. And there’s a cool sculpture gallery on the water in back of the gallery featuring the work of Dick Alden, with a few by the late Don Meserve.
Studio 53 is at 53 Townsend Ave. in Boothbay Harbor. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. For more information, visit www.studio53fineart.com or call 633-2755.