Art Educators of New Jersey
Gallery & Studio's Review of St. Peter's Living Room Gallery Exhibit
New York, New York
There is the suggestion of spiritual rebirth in the title of Donna Sinisgalli's recent exhibition, "Emerging from the Dark Months." Whether the title alludes to the coming of spring after the long bleak winter, the city's recovery from the tragedy of September 11th, the artist's triumph over some personal crisis, or a combination of all three, the fact that her show takes place through June 24 (2002) in the Living Room Gallery at St. Peter's Church, 619 Lexington Ave., only adds to the sense of spirituality that enlivened the exhibition. It also seems auspicious that Saint Peter's is known for its "Jazz Vespers," since Sinisgalli imbues her subjects with heightened coloristic intensities and subtle rhythms in such a manner that jazz musicians inflect familiar melodies with something unexpected and wondrously new.
In Sinisgalli's oil on canvas "Lush Garden" for example, a variety of flowers enliven verdant foliage, each delineated with piquant clarity of separate notes in a Miles Davis trumpet solo. Yet, the overall composition flows rhythmically, for Sinisgalli is able to be marvelously descriptive without succumbing to fussiness, suggesting a movement and vitality that we usually encounter mainly in looser painterly modes.
Similarly, in "Tranquil Lake," Sinisgalli orchestrates the myriad small strokes that describe blades of grass, miniscule flowers, shrubbery, and the movement of light across the surface of the water, to create a sweeping composition that dazzles one with its freshness and immediacy with the sense of a precise, fleeting moment in time captured and made immutable.
Conversely in the larger oil "Sweet Breeze," Sinisgalli focuses in more closely on dense concentrations of boldly painted flowers and leaves, employing the sensual outlines of vibrant red, yellow, and purple tulips, in a field to create strong compositional rhythms. In the curving forms of the green leaves, delineated in bold strokes, she makes us sense the movement of the unseen breeze in a composition that, while faithful in its details to the actual appearances of the flowers themselves, has an expressive thrust that shows a kinship to predecessors such as van Gogh and Munch. Sinisgalli has obviously studied such masters of Expressionism and she applies their lessons well. It is equally clear, however, that her main teacher is nature itself, which she has observed closely in pictures such as "A Sea of Tulips," a medium sized horizontal composition showing a field of tulips seemingly receding into infinity, and "A Spring Garden," a smaller oil in which tiny flowers appear to parade in orderly rows across a sloping hill enclosed by a rugged stone fence.
Here, as in other pictures in this engaging and exuberant exhibition, Donna Sinisgalli paints with a restrained passion that heightens her natural subjects without distorting them. Indeed, the respect, even reverence, that she shows for each individual element in nature makers her canvases fairly glow with conviction
Excerpt from June/July/August 2002 issue of "Gallery & Studio" Vol. 4 No. 5
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