LaMantia Gallery is excited to once again host an art trunk show with the House of Mercier, a renowned fine arts dealer specializing in Latin American and Spanish original oils, acrylic and mixed media paintings on canvas, as well as watercolors on paper. House of Mercier represents the finest South American artists, supplying one of a kind artwork to galleries across North America. Styles run the gamut from traditional to contemporary.
Meet artist Ferjo Friday April 20th from 6:00-8:00 pm and Saturday April 21st from 12:00-6:00 pm.
FERJO— Fernando de Jesus Oliveira, Ferjo, was born in Bahia Brazil, in 1946. Ferjo is one of the most dynamic and intriguing artists on the contemporary international scene. His surreal way with a canvas has been honored with Ferjo winning the prestigious Crescent Scholarship at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (1979) and the New York Council for the Arts Award for Excellence in portraiture and interiors (1985). Ferjo also has two paintings on permanent display at the United Nations.
From 1974 – 1979, Ferjo trained at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts – an institution long recognized for its tradition in realist painting and sculpture. During this five year period, he began painting cubist-style landscapes in the tradition of the early Gorges Braques, eventually moving to realist portraiture. This is perhaps best exemplified in a mock group portrait (1978-79) of the faculty of the Pennsylvania Academy in which Ferjo posed his subjects in sitting positions similar to those of Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Last Supper”.
Having received special honors on two occasions from the Pennsylvania Academy (in 1978, and again in 1979), Ferjo’s mastery of the medium and subject matter in realist painting became widely recognized in galleries that emphasized this kind of work. Since leaving The Academy, the artist’s technical ingenuity led him to explore various themes and styles, ranging from realism to surrealism. Ferjo’s interpretations of famous artistic depictions, such as the works of Leonardo Da Vinci, Picasso, Van Gogh and Chagall have made Ferjo an artist of merit. Ferjo’s ability to paint realistically and then to extend realism into a surrealist vision, filled with symbolic significance taken from the world of dreams and fantasy, is one of the more extraordinary characteristics to be found in his paintings. Ferjo’s versatility and imagination creates a kind of magic in his paintings, where you get a sense of another world that excites the imagination. No matter what Ferjo is representing there is no doubt to his talent.
As the son of an Air Force serviceman stationed in a small Japanese village, Ford’s artistic sensibilities began to take root under the nurturing eye of an elderly Japanese painter when he was just twelve. After graduating from the University of Mississippi with a BFA in painting, Ford moved to Atlanta, Georgia where he realized a natural talent for photography. During the late 70’s and 80’s Ford established his reputation as Atlanta’s premier fashion and commercial photographer.
The early 90’s, however, brought a compelling urge to return to painting. He began painting again whenever his schedule permitted, which wasn’t often enough to satisfy his creative mind. So in 2000, as he approached his 50th birthday, Ford decided that he would no longer deny his passion for painting – despite his success and stature as the city’s top photographer. Believing his return to painting deserved 100% dedication, Ford sold his photography business and never took another professional photograph. He then set off to travel the world and seek inspiration.
After exploring different painting styles and themes, he found tremendous fulfillment creating contemporary landscapes conjured from the stunning horizons witnessed during his travels. Emboldened by critics and collector’s enthusiasm, he narrowed his focus there and pushed the creative boundaries of landscapes to arrive at the distinctive and radiant style for which he is known.
He never paints from a photograph – nor does he do studies. Instead, he enjoys the freedom and creative abandon to see where an impulse might lead. The intensity of working over a single piece to finish it makes the process very physical. Well known for his mosaics, splashes and seemingly endless ways of abstracting reflections, he lets layers of paint – acrylics on canvas – drip and flow, just letting things happen. “I was taught in college to let the paint find the imagery,” he recalls. Ford then goes in with skilled precision to create the light, details and natural elements that define his fascinating style of painting.
Ford’s sense of nature is not a Romantic’s wild and angry universe. To the contrary, his distinctive paintings reflect a palpable optimism and vibrant confidence. The easy precision, subtlety and repose of his paintings may well derive from that Asian aesthetic he developed in his early years.
Now he’s arrived at what he believes to be his true destiny. “I’m grateful every day that I get to paint for a living,” Smith says, “I feel like the luckiest guy on earth, and I think that energy and optimism is reflected in my work.” Ford resides in Roswell, Georgia with his wife, Cristi, along with their beloved Boston Terrier, Belle.
To see more of Ford Smith’s work on our website, click here.
HESSAM ABRISHAMI – Born in the city of Shiraz, Iran in 1951, Hessam Abrishami was the son of middle class parents and one of eight brothers and sisters. At age 15, through the inspiration and encouragement of a high school teacher, Hessam discovered both his love of art and his own talent for painting. As a result he became almost obsessed with painting.
Hessam, at age 17, received his first award for painting and went on to win top honors in painting in an all-country student competition in Iran. At age 19, he achieved first place honors in the “Iranian New Artists Competition.” Many other national and international honors and recognitions have followed since.
He went on to study in Italy – a place he considered “the center of art in Europe.” It was in Perugia, Italy that Hessam studied and completed his Master’s Degree in Fine Arts at the Accademi De Belle Arti “Pietro Vanucci.”
Hessam emigrated to Los Angeles, California where he continues to expand his creativity. He explores a realm which the French press has called “A statement in the fluidity of human figures . . . He creates a tension between each figure, a kinship of place or condition that provokes the viewer to seek reasons for such relationships.” Greatly influenced by modern masters from Cezanne to Picasso, Hessam’s boldly colorful paintings are filled with love and laughter, music and dance. Hessam Abrishami has provided the world with images that capture an essence of love and romance.
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