Gallery C's opening reception for 21 Balance

How tall is she?, I thought to myself, as I was staring at the Amazonian waitress. I swear she must have been seven feet tall in those heals. She was at least six feet tall in her flat feet yet she still felt compelled to try and balance herself on four inch platform heals while balancing a serving tray on her arm.

Payam and Jason Alexander

He really is not that short, I thought to myself, as I stood next to George Costanza (Jason Alexander). I tried to play the part of reporter, I really did, but I think I was as convincing as George trying to be an architect. I did learn that there was an interesting balancing act going on between Jason and his wife, Daena Title, namely that she had a few painting on display that night and George, as he admitted to this intrepid reporter, is an artistic neophyte.

My next attempt at reporting went a lot better as I discussed the intricacies of Michael Sokilis's paintings with him. The star of the show was Michael's 'phoneline tightrope', a perfect depiction of the night's theme: Balance. Whether it was the choice of footwear by the waitress, the interpersonal relationship of one of the famous guests, or the art itself nothing captured this better than Michael's painting.

phoneline tightrope by Michael Sokolis

On the literal side it was a depiction of balancing; a young girl on a phone line, umbrella in hand, looking down to carefully check her every step. In a more symbolic sense it was a balancing of traditions.

Mr. Sokilis's fascination is with light. Interestingly, however, he does not choose the normal method in representing it. Traditionally the depiction of light has been the main theme of abstractionist artists, especially Impressionist painters like Manet and Monet and Post-impressionist painters like Degas. Michael, however, has chosen to go with a more realistic approach.

When asked why he chose this method he replied that it was his calling, his gift. Staring at his paintings one can readily acquiesce to this idea. The light seems to jump off of the canvas and the paintings have an overall ethereal look to them yet still are grounded in the bleakness of our reality. Another artist striving to achieve this balance is Lee Silton.

bullet by Lee Silton

Lee Silton's work Silver Bullet is another key piece in this exhibit because of its dual attainment of balance. Like Michael's piece it has a literal sense of balance, even more literal in fact do to it is three-dimensionality-- a sculpture of an object balanced on a pedestal. It also attains a historical balance in that harkens back to more traditionalist methods in the use of its materials, especially in its choice of wood, tying it into the Japanese woodcarving tradition. Yet, it is also unmistakably modern, mainly as a result of its subject matter and its stark use of contrast, a white face on a dark body.

This sense of contrast and Balance, this visual schizophrenia could be seen throughout the show. On one wall were the photo-realistic drawings of Joseph Gerges while on another wall where the ultra modern pieces of Lori Cozen-Geller. Six foot tall blondes, George Costanza, and great art, what more can one ask for in an art show?

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