Realist Art Alive and Well in Irvington

Art lovers saddened by the closing of The River Gallery at 39 Main Street in Irvington, N.Y., will soon be cheered. The bright airy space will host an exhibition of six local artists who represent a variety of realist genres from August 17 to September 17, 2006.

The exhibition, entitled 6 @ 39, will showcase the work of four oil painters and two photographers. All of the artists have lived or worked in Irvington and most came to know each other through their participation in the Rivertowns Arts Council.

Painter and art teacher Helen Elliott is perhaps the most popular artist in and around Irvington. Few here can resist adorning their walls with a luscious Elliott original. This art is accessible in every sense of the word. Her small canvases capture the essence of rapturous fruits, succulent vegetables and simple elegant floral arrangements, and promise to enliven any kitchen or living room.

Vicente Saavedra’s signature technique is to apply paint in small concise shapes with an array of palette knives, rather than brushes. His figures and still lifes evoke bright mosaics or illuminated stained glass. One of his portraits recently won an award from the Salmagundi Club and he exhibits regularly in Manhattan. His work can also be viewed at

Figurative painter Lisa Steffens was honored this year with a grant from the New York Studio School to paint landscapes and cityscapes on Governors Island, off of Lower Manhattan, and many of these images will be included in the show. While her work may appear somewhat impressionistic, she defines her style as expressive realism. Colors and shapes convey the atmosphere of the moment.

Painter and illustrator Selene Smerling will display her latest series, paintings of timepieces–pocket watches and clock faces. She deftly combines oil wash, charcoal, and pen and ink. Her paintings are in many private and corporate collections, and her illustrations are frequently found in children’s publications.

The featured photographers Sarah Palermo and Kristi Graham employ very different techniques. Palermo brings a fresh eye to traditional black and white photography of portraits, landscapes and more. She often captures a serene instant that highlights the beauty of what would otherwise be overlooked as ordinary. Graham’s technique is as fascinating as her images. She experiments with Alternative Photography Processes and using organic materials to produce photographic art. Her current series are sun-faded portraits embedded in blueberry stained paper.

The public is invited to the opening reception at 39 Main Street on Thursday, August 17, from 6- 9 p.m., and the closing reception on Friday, September 15 from 6-9 p.m. The Gallery hours are Weds. 12-5, Thurs. and Fri. 12-9, Sat. 10-6, and Sun. 12-4.

The artists and many in the community are thrilled that Allison Hopper, the new owner of the gallery at 39 Main Street, will continue to showcase fine arts. The Victorian building is the perfect venue for exhibits, boasting airy rooms, tall ceilings and a casual comfortable elegance. It exudes the history and charm of the Village’s historic Main Street. This exhibition marks the building’s first use exclusively as an art gallery.

For additional information, sample images of works, or a copy of the promotional graphic materials, please contact Lisanne Saavedra, tel. 914-591-9420, email or visit .

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