A lovely show, elegantly displayed

The juried winter art show at Silvana Gallery in Glendale comprises mostly paintings categorized as landscape, figurative, still life and contemporary, and some very nice sculpture entries, which are inventive and skillfully executed.

The painting categories are a little bit weak as far as variety within, but each category has a couple of paintings that stand out because of the willingness of the artists to push the edge of average. Vahe Yeremyan's landscape entry titled "Dreamy Trees" is uniquely composed with a zoomed-in perspective of tree trunks and branches that form a veil through which the viewer sees a cold wintry sky. The cool atmosphere is offset by the warm browns and grays of the woods, and green of the residual foliage. The lacquer-bright finish and warm palette are reminiscent of Flemish masters. This is an atypical landscape configuration that is quite engaging.

Olga Geoghegan's entry in the figurative category titled "My Aunt's Apples" is chunky with impasto. Its figure stands out of a dichromatic creamy background offset by her long, pink, full skirts. She appears to be swishing to and fro as she balances apples gathered in her skirt lap. The motion and energy of Geoghegan's composition is charming.

The still-life entries were the most competitive with one another. There were several nice paintings. The jurors chose Lilya Kalashyan's floral still life titled "White Roses." It's a tight composition of pale pink and white roses that nearly jump off the canvas. The thickly painted petals compel the viewer to reach out and touch. The colors are soft and lovely, with all of the flowers grouped, yet each reads well individually. This is a very skillful painter.

The winner of the contemporary award was Voskan Galstian's abstract mixed-media piece titled "Waterfall." It is well balanced in its color and composition. But it's almost too well balanced, as it feels a little forced and deliberate, which is not usually the intention of an artist delivering abstract work. The scale is also too diminutive for what I like to see in abstract pieces, at just 11 by 13 inches. It does not feel like it flowed freely from the painter's subconscious, but was organized. It is, however, pleasing to the eye.

The sculpture division had some very skillfully carved wood, clay and ceramic sculptures. The winner of this category, and what I would consider the Best in Show, are Mark Hendrickson's clay/ceramic pots. Hendrickson was inventive with his process. He obviously experimented with firing methods, imbedding rocks to produce airy holes that resulted in a lacy, fragile look to his three entries. The randomness of the pocking and the incompleteness of the raku glazing give his pieces a birch bark exterior, which reinforces the fragility of their appearance. These pieces are unique and very, very beautiful.

Again, Silvana has produced a lovely show that is both professional and elegant in preparation and presentation.

Terri Martin is an artist, art historian and art critic.

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Infobox

What: Silvana Gallery's annual Holiday and Small Works Exhibition

When: Through Jan. 22

Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday

Where: 1731 Glenoaks Blvd., Suite 200, Glendale

Contact: (818) 662-7070 or http://www.info@silvanagallery.com

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