Gallery 201’s specially curated first-floor showcase at 201 Howell Ave., Brooksville, offers a creative pictorial tribute to the people and businesses of Brooksville; a colorful and vivid homage to our four-legged friends; a virtual, multi-portrait floral garden on canvas; and an artistic representation of sacred meditative practice.
This month’s first-floor Featured Artists Showcase spotlights the works of four artists: Marjorie Stackpole, Ellen Beener, Yolanda Barreto, and Jason Bowen.
“Basically, I want the community to recognize artists within the area who have established bodies of work,” said Pedram Moghaddam, director of Gallery 201, “while at the same time bringing new artists within the area like Jason Bowen.”
Featured Artist Yolanda Barreto presents a series of vibrant, fanciful portraits of felines, canines and birds; in the process, providing viewers with an ultra-modern take on the concept of the pet portrait.
Yolanda Barreto, born in Puerto Rico, is a former school principal whose love for art motivated her to become a self-taught artist at a young age. She ‘brushed up’ on this knowledge by taking private lessons and workshops in painting with acrylic, charcoal, gouache, ink, mixed media, oil, and watercolor.
“She is exposed to art daily; creating, and designing contemporary art in different series in her home studio and plein air,” reads a related bio. “She interprets her environment in different and unconventional ways as she utilizes art as a vehicle to express her ideas, emotions, and experiences.”
As one look at Barreto’s pet portraits would indicate, this artist draws abundant inspiration from the wonders of nature.
“Her joy for the outdoors motivates her to plein air paint. With other artists, she started “The Shadow Chasers” several years ago, their goal was that artists would have the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors painting on a regular basis,” read the bio. “She also travels to get inspired and motivated and create new series.”
She belongs to the Citrus Watercolor Society, Florida Watercolor Society, Nature Coast Art League, where she serves as a photographer and coordinator, Paper Club, and the Spring Hill Art Club.
“The joy and urge to create art is programmed in me by the all-mighty creator. Art is my voice. Art is the universal language that I use to express myself. To me, the journey of creating art is more fulfilling than the final product,” she said. “Most rewarding is the opportunity to bring joy to others via my art and finding new homes for them. I believe that I am blessed by the almighty with the opportunity to create, so creating art is my way of worshiping God.”
Previously, Barreto exhibited her work in 201’s Untold Stories exhibit and at the Art and Wine Stroll event, a presentation of the Brooksville Main Street Program and the Hernando County Fine Arts Council.
“I am extremely honored for this opportunity to participate in this exhibit:” she said. “I believe that there are many wonderful and talented artists in this county who can truly showcase marvelous and gorgeous art. The only thing I can say is that I am humbled and grateful for this wonderful opportunity to share my love for art via some of my recent creations.”
Featured Artist Ellen Beener presents masterfully shot black and white photos of the independently owned businesses of Brooksville and their owners. These eight portraits depict the owners of downtown staples The Bread Box, The Itchy Monkey Craft Coffee, Panbanged Knits and Fiber Shoppe, and others.
“These business people are all lovely people, so helpful and pleasant,” said this Spring Hill resident. “I was so pleased to bring attention to their shops.”
She also is pleased to showcase the picturesque setting of Brooksville, Florida. “It looks like a fairy tale here,” she said.
This native New Yorker is a longtime artist, poet and photographer who set aside her creative interests to raise her children, spoil the grandchildren she adores, and pursue various ventures. But she never abandoned her dreams to create, as she wrote and published the book “Shut Up Shakespeare and Other Poems” and developed a particular fondness for black and white photos–often penning poems to accompany her portraits and landscapes.
“Black and white photography brings out a person’s features and casts just the right balance of shadow and light,” she said.
Beener is proud to bring her photographic images to Gallery 201, where- as a member of Just Poets- she has also displayed poetry in the past. This marks her second spotlight art show.
“I would tell aspiring artists to be all you can be,” she said, “And don’t let anybody stop you.”
Featured Artist Marjorie Stackpole plans to bring a virtual garden to the walls of the first floor at Gallery 201, presenting an ebullient array of watercolors and drawings that depict a variety of lovely florals, along with drawings and prints of birds and animals.
“The outdoors are my inspiration. I love going to parks and drawing flowers and animals, then filling them with color,” she said. “Roses are my favorite.”
Stackpole, a resident of the High Point neighborhood of Brooksville, draws from a lifetime of experience as an avid creative artist.
“I’ve been an artist since I was old enough to color my mother’s walls,” she said. “I always loved the challenge of drawing and watercolor.”
Stackpole, a member of the Nature Coast Art League who has helped represent the group at the Hernando County Fine Arts Council’s Art in the Park event, is a veteran artist who is still going strong.
“I’m 86,” she said, “and still going at it.”
Featured Artist Jason Bowen offers a stirring visual representation of classic and sacred spirituality; one in which a rain of color and shape comes springing from the canvas to dazzle and energize.
“I’ve been an artist my whole life, also worked in art and museums throughout my career,” he said. “For as long as I can remember, I’ve been in search of the truth and advanced states of consciousness.”
Bowen has translated his interest in and passion for the meditative arts into a unique art form; one that illustrates in shapes, hues and vivid brushstrokes the elements of elevated consciousness.
“My art is typically a minimalist example of my pursuit of flow states,” he said, “inspired by a 20-year meditation practice and pursuit of the optimal states of consciousness and exploration into altered states of being to gain optimal function of my abilities.”
Through a divine expression of vivid color, Bowen seeks to take the viewer on a mystical journey of true spiritual awakening.
“My art reflects this in its simple, colorful patterns,” he explained, “often pushing in directions that push the color palette into an unforeseen territory, therefore opening the Minds of the viewer into new ways to see the beauty and lack of boundaries in art and the current models of what’s considered normal.”
Bowen is proud to be a part of Gallery 201’s Featured Artists exhibit. “In regards to being included in the exhibit, I would say it’s an honor for anyone to be able to show their work and get public exposure,” he said. “And a big thanks to the director at the museum, Pedram, who gave me the opportunity to be included in the show. It’s my mission to help be a part of the awakening of our world and help each other fulfill our greatest potential.”