A small Kentucky town has spawned a wonderful artist: Gloria Ferreira. Ms. Ferreira is originally from Georgetown; and truly, a blink of the eye may cause a traveler to miss that small town. But small towns can produce great talent just like their bigger brothers and sisters and Ms. Ferreira is great example of that principle. She studied at the University of Kentucky and obtained from that institution a degree in fine art. She has combined her training and talent and developed herself into a creative and diligent digital artist. Her work can reach deeply into the emotions of the viewer. She has an amazing mastery of color and uses it in her pieces to symbolically emphasize a mood. She often starts with a photograph she has taken that touches her heart and then she lets it build from there, adding other images from her collection and combining them with digital paint techniques until, as if through a Zen-like state of mind, she brings forth a collage of beautiful symbolic imagery. The first time I laid eyes on her work, I was amazed. I could not believe that this was a digital piece. Most of the digital work I had seen up to that point was on paper and bore a sense of graphical skill but seemed to be missing the fine art component. Ms. Ferreira’s work is very different from those earlier renditions at the dawn of the digital age. Her work is printed in nice full-bodied color on canvas and stretched on a frame. A protective coating is then applied to the whole piece, giving it the archival quality dear to collector’s hearts. The smoothness of her style as it flows over her canvases gives each piece the look of a finely crafted oil painting. One of the most aesthetic ally appealing aspects of her style is that the lines are clean and well marked. Even in her more complex designs, the clean lines stand out and show off the full beauty of the composition. Many of her early works can be seen at her artist’s website.
One of her earlier pieces, “Natural Bridge,” shows her ability to simplify the shapes in a scene and get to the core of its more abstract and emotional qualities. This piece is done in tones of purple, lilac and mauve and reminds the viewer of feelings evoked by the mystical twilight. Off to the side of the bridge silhouetted against the evening sky is an old tree with naked branches extended outward as if to pull the blanket of night over the scene, much like the gnarled fingers of a loving grandmother pull a blanket up over a sleeping child.
Of course, here in Kentucky, an artist can’t help but use the equine form in one’s creative endeavors and Ms. Ferreira has rendered a touching scene of a white mare and small red foal in a field of gold, green and blue. The piece entitled “Security” is stunning in its simple clean lines and yet the composition is complex in the application of fascinating abstract shapes. The horses seem to live amongst layers of boldly colored grasses, happy and protected and most certainly — secure.
One of Ms. Ferreira’s best equine images is a design that features just a horse’s face, but this is no ordinary horse’s face. The features are abstracted into shapes and colors that symbolically illustrate the sense of a wild mustang on the hoof, with intense yellow eyes-a wild uncontrollable stallion, that one. One can almost feel the fire from his nostrils and hear the rapid hoof beats on the ground as he approaches at top speed. He, like the title of this piece, is truly “Flying Free.”
Ms. Ferreira has recently created new work and has shown that she can move from one wonderful style into a new fascinating abstraction that sits atop her previous work like a glorious crown. Three pieces will be shown at the Agora Gallery in the Chelsea District of New York. The show is entitled “Color Immersion” and it is a most fitting category for her three pieces that will be a part of this incredible show.
“Explosion” is an amazing abstract done in hot colors with a bit of cool thrown in. It has the effect of fire and ice. The lines are smooth and almost liquid and yet the colors are warm like embers of a spent hearth fire. It is a beautiful composition in layer after layer of contrasting colors and shapes as it warms and cools the viewer simultaneously. This is a masterful abstract that will keep the viewer’s imagination busy for quite some time.
The use of two or three colors to attain an insightful composition is certainly a difficult undertaking for an artist, but Ms. Ferreira has handled it very skillfully in “Camouflage.” This piece is done in green and white tones and yet it offers an adventurous journey for the eye. Sometimes it seems as if it is a reflection of clouds in a marshy pond and sometimes the viewer might see figures and shapes in different poses. I swear I saw an upside down Zeus flinging a thunderbolt and then the image swam away from my eyes and I thought I saw a thin leprechaun standing on a tree branch. It is “Camouflage” indeed.
Her third work in the Color Immersion show is entitled, “Civilization.” This piece has a Jackson Pollack effect in that an image is buried within a cocoon of colorful lines and shades. If you look carefully at this one and go deeply into the design, a magic trick of the eye occurs and you may see the shape of a figure or figures within that may or may not be civilized, depending on your view of man versus the animal kingdom. This piece certainly puts the mind to work. Grab hold of something sturdy because this piece may even cause a shaking of the consciousness bringing on a case of “out of the box” thinking.
“Color Immersion” will open on September 10, 2009 from 6-8 p.m. at the Agora Gallery, 530 West 25th Street, New York, NY 10001 and will run until September 29, 2009. If you are unfortunate enough to miss the show, Ms Ferreira’s work will be available on the gallery’s website for a period time after that. A preview can be found here.