ART ON THE MOVE
Featuring artists: Mary Sterner Lawson and Mario Prencipe
Mary Sterner Lawson, an exhibiting artist in Georgia and Florida since the mid-eighties, Ohio native Mary Sterner Lawson works primarily in watercolor, pen and ink, and acrylic, graphite, and clay. Months spent in Finland and the Netherlands, two Fulbright-Hays month-long programs to China and Brazil, and extensive travels outside the United States have provided subject matter for ink drawings and paintings. New scenes decidedly inspire her: she came back from her first visit to China with over 200 drawings.
Lawson likes to experiment in other media and varied styles, and has spent considerable time as well with ceramics and Sumi-e Chinese brush painting.
Her art focus intersected her writing interests when she illustrated and edited books on Alaska and Antarctica for travel writer Terry Breen. A 1996 painting by Lawson, June Bug's Grocery, led her into the field of oral history and to a project focusing on a South Albany African American community that was devastated by a catastrophic 1994 flood. Her book, June Bug's Grocery and the Cornfield Jook: A South Albany Oral History, published by Arcadia Publishing Company in 2003, includes some of her photographs and drawings.
While she relishes illustrating social groups and natural scenes, Lawson is particularly partial to catching decisively the fleeting spirit of a scene or person. Over the years she has amassed a surprising number of autographed celebrity sketches. Lawson has regularly been the brochure artist for the Tallahassee Artist Series, and this year was asked to do watercolors of the houses in the 2017 Tallahassee Symphony’s Tour of Homes.
“My favorite travel equipment includes a Pigma Micron pen, smooth paper, and a small portable watercolor set. I am rarely without a sketchbook,” she says. The product of Lawson’s efforts pleases her most if she thinks the painting registers how a scene feels, not merely how it looks.
For Italian artist Mario Prencipe, technique and meaning go hand-in-hand. Material techniques represent more earthly concepts for him, while non-material techniques like watercolor express abstract, ethereal ideas.
As Prencipe’s environment changes, so does his work. “My art production changes constantly because my traveling life offers me new opportunities,” he says. From Central America to Russia, Prencipe has seen an incredible array of art styles and showcased his work around the world. The National Museum of Nicaragua, the National Gallery of Costa Rica, the Miraflores Art and Archeology Museum in Ciudad de Guatemala, and the Museum of Fine Arts of Komsomolsk-na Amur in Russia have all featured Prencipe’s art.
“I like to go into areas that are considered off the tourist path,” he says. “They’re more authentic and original, and this reflects in the works I present.” Expressing the genuine culture of a place is important to Prencipe, even when the subject has controversial roots. His work featuring the tradition of Iberian bullfighting has ties to colonialism in Latin America, but these stories showcase a history of movement that had an extensive impact on Spanish societies.
The “Art on the Move” exhibition highlights his work on the complexity of movement. From the electricity of a bull fight to the tranquility of a walk at night, Prencipe invites viewers to look at energy in a whole new way.
Venvi Art Gallery’s “Art on the Move” will open on First Friday, November 3 , 5-8 PM and will feature work by artists Mario Prencipe and Mary Lawson. Admission is free.