Magical, Unique Glass Portraits on Display at Canfin Gallery

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by Morey Storck – 

“Funny Audrey” is one portrait that will be on display.

Isabelle Scheltjens, a Belgian artist, studied at SISA, the Antwerp City Institute for Decorative Arts and Crafts, where she concentrated on all aspects of decorative glass. The outstanding, world-acclaimed glass designs of her husband, Dirk Neefs, inspired her to proceed in that creative direction. After years of intense study and experimentation, she developed her extraordinary glass-fusing technique whereby pieces of glass in different colors, sizes and textures are fused together at approximately 800 degrees celsius. The plexiglass sheets are then cut into tiny pieces and used much like a pointillist would use tiny dots of paint forming an abstract image up close, yet a dramatic and precise portrait from a distance.

Many of the questions for this piece were answered by Maija Laurens, Jean-Claude Canfin’s assistant and gallery manager, while he is gone. At this time, he was in France and did not return until shortly before publication.

“The whole range of Isabelle’s work illustrates her craftsmanship and intelligence, her ability to achieve dramatic and bold concepts, as well as quiet elegance utilizing the full scope of the pallet. Empty spaces, voids, allows the piece to ‘breathe,’” Laurens said.

Pointillism covers many forms of art. This exciting and imaginative art technique is employed by traditional and contemporary artists, graphic designers, professional photographers, and commercial illustrators, always exploring new ways to express their art. Some have elaborated on the technique to create something completely new, using new materials and new mediums. But, all of these art adventures have one thing in common…the dot.

Paul Signac, along with Georges Seurat, are acknowledged as the two founders of pointillism. They developed the process of painting juxtaposed dots of pure color that would blend in the viewers’ eye, rather than on the canvas. Kevin Sprouls used a stippling method of many small dots and a cross hatching method of many small lines to emulate the look and feel of old newspaper woodcuts and engravings. French Post-Impressionist painter Seurat spent over two years creating “Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte,” which is estimated to consist of approximately 3,456,000 dots.

The world of digital art today is in constant perpetual motion. Older, traditional techniques, though beautiful and reflective of their times, seem to have been lost in the continual rush for the “new.” But, Scheltjens has found her perch. Critics have noted that “Isabelle’s portraits require the participation of the viewer, as they may change depending on the viewing position. Her art gives shape to the disparity between what something appears to be and what something is. Her pointillism is reinvented and re-contextualized.”

As Canfin aptly summed up: “What it really comes down to, what is really important before you purchase a piece of art, is not that you are a prominent collector, or that you’re buying it for investment, or that it fits the décor of your home or office. You must love it. In your heart, you must really love it. That is what will make you happy!”

See for yourself.

November 4-26, 2017. 39 Main Street, Tarrytown. (914) 332-4554.

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