The height of the holiday season is a time to celebrate the beauty of our relationships with friends and family. At Agora we think that one of the most meaningful expressions of our love and gratitude to our loved ones is a piece of art. To help you choose among so many wonderful artworks and simplify your search, members of our staff have created a Holiday Gift Guide by suggesting some pieces for up to $1200. If you’re looking for something else in the same price range, visit ARTmine for more options.
Elephant Trunk Hill
For Mireille Pizzo, photography and travel go hand in hand. Fascinated by the notion of seeing the world as if it was for the first time, she travels to destinations far off the beaten path. Her photographs capture stunning sites in the Guilin region of China or Efate Island, among others. “Elephant Trunk Hill” is a remarkable composition, taken in Guilin. The landmark location is captivating in itself, yet Pizzo’s photograph transforms it into a site of truly mythic beauty. It is hard to look away from this intriguing image, so effective are the colors, so rich the panoply of textures, so powerful the play of light and shadow.
Sunset in Maine
Swedish-American painter Pia Sjölin finds inspiration in nature and favors the theme of landscape. She creates powerful compositions and uses a rich palette of vibrating colors. “Sunset in Maine” is an amazing painting that immerses the viewer in the atmosphere of the scene, as if you were witnessing the orange sky, purple shadows on the ground, dark brown, blue, and green outlines of the skyline and the grass around the lake (or the river). Sjölin’s compositions are rhythmic: horizontal tiers of large colorful shapes are playfully punctuated by a variety of smaller ones, blocks of cool and warm colors alternate and overlap. The effect is of push-and-pull between realism and abstraction: a falling into the picture as if you were there and, at the same time, the awareness that you are looking at an intricate abstract composition.
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Californian painter par excellence, Nancy Holleran lives and works in Monterey Bay. In her work, the artist unabashedly celebrates the beautiful moments in life. She often depicts one of the most joyful things in life: dogs! Our relationships with our trusted companions bring us joy in so many ways. In “Dog Adoration” Holleran catches the precious moment when the dog expresses its love for the owner, who she seems not to notice it at all, preoccupied with something beyond the window. Watercolor is, of course, a translucent medium, and translucency is captured in the painting in more ways that one. For example, the curtains are closest to the viewer. They are see-through, as is the glass of the window. In the narrow space between the curtains and the window, the only solid thing seems to be this dog’s love for its owner.
Cityscape Vibes, No. 1
Photo collage artist Stephanie Pitoy strives to express aspects of the human condition impossible to access by words. She creates layered works that take snippets of everyday life and transforms them into poetic statements. “Cityscape Vibes, No 1” is full of light: of the sky high above the highest NYC buildings and hiding amidst the flower petals in a bouquet you can buy from a corner shop. Pitoy rejoices in the correspondence of the intricate outlines of the distant clouds with the contours of the flower petals. The juxtaposition of the close and the distant, the organic and the inorganic, and the warm light that permeates the entire image contributes to a powerful visual experience.
“Prairie Shore” is a photograph by the artist Cynthia Chace Gray. Inspired by the vast panoramas of Wyoming, Gray photographs the sky and the inimitable, always unique play of light at sunset. She does not digitally manipulate her work, letting the natural world speak for itself. “Prairie Shore” is an awe-inspiring image that captures the sublime, fiery dance of the clouds in the sky just as darkness begins to settle over the earth.
The paintings of Alexander Ossipov (TOTUR) are influenced by the great Russian modernist, Pavel Filonov who developed a system of “analytical art”: the idea that the artist should imitate not the forms of nature, but its methods. Like an organism, a painting developed organically out of “atoms” and “cells,” only these “atoms” and “cells” were signs made on the canvas by the artist. Ossipov develops Filonov’s approach. In his “Dance,” the “cellular” structure appears in the context of gestural abstraction. The dancer appears as a series of abstract, geometric shapes that balance precariously, yet harmoniously. Ossipov shows the figure in motion, in several different positions at once. The geometric “cells” of the composition contain smaller colorful shapes that function like the fibers of the body and unify it as a single whole.
Underwater Towns Series 2
Alex Nemirovsky is a painter with a fascinating and complex cultural background. He was born and raised in Uzbekistan (then, a part of USSR), spent many years in St. Petersburg (then, Leningrad) and now resides in Australia. His work reflects the influence of European and Central Asian traditions and incorporates the vistas of his new home. The collision of such distant and such powerful aesthetics can be gleaned in his “Underwater Towns Series 2”: a vibrant painting that balances between figuration and abstraction. Reminiscent of a tapestry, it invites the viewer to travel through an imaginary “underwater” cityscape complete with fanciful architectural structures and unusual, exotic plants.
Mariela Soldano creates beautiful abstract paintings that connect to the viewer on the subconscious level, bypassing rational interpretation. Soldano wants to alarm, to make us think about things we may overlook in our daily life, take for granted, or ignore as we go about our daily routines. The painting “Bones” is an arresting composition that combines organic and rigid shapes in a way, reminiscent of colorful stains, shadows, and even plants that you might see on the wall of an abandoned house. The title suggests a different narrative, however. But whether the image pertains to the body or the “skeleton” of a building, it stops you in your tracks and invites you to explore.
“Contemplation” seems to invite you to contemplate it! At any given second you see something new before it disappears forever, as new forms emerge. The dynamism of the painting comes not so much from the sense of changing shapes of the clouds up above, but from this quiet intensity of the meeting of the sky and the earth. There is a difference in how she handles paint when she depicts the ground versus the sky. The solidity and weight of the geological formations in the lower part of the painting meet the ephemeral, translucent clouds of the evening sky in the top part.
In his paintings, Akihito Izumi is concerned with “everyday things” that suddenly appear in a new light. Like his subject, he often chooses places of transit, such as bridges and bus stops, or objects seen during his nighttime perambulations. “Night Roundabout” is a depiction of such a place of transit. In this painting, Izumi achieves a powerful expressive effect through his composition and use of color. While scene appears to be immersed in silence, the complementary colors red and green create a strong and disquieting contrast. Izumi’s treatment of line-unhesitating and powerful in the bottom half of the painting, yet undulating and sensitive around the edges of the trees in the top part-contribute to the expressionist feeling of the work.
All My Relations
For the British artist Kate Walters, painting is a shamanic experience that emerges from deep within the feminine unconscious. Walters plumbs the depths of the psyche to tap into the source of the most archaic imagery so as to render it anew for the contemporary world. She is especially interested in the recovery of the sacred feminine principle. “All my Relations” is a watercolor painting that refers to the female body in its connection to nature, fertility, birth, and transformation. This image has a totemic quality, suggesting communion between nature and the spirit world.
For Annette Schreiber photography is a vehicle for contemplation and expression of a broad range of emotions. Her mostly black and white images may feature landscapes, urban landscapes, or architecture. But in each instance, the protagonists of her work are light and space. “Illusion” captures Frank Gehry’s Cleveland clinic with its undulating walls. Already a surreal construction, in Schreiber’s photograph it resembles colossal mechanical waves with light and shadow skirting along their surface. You have to look closely to realize that a section of the curvilinear wall at the top of the image serves a purely aesthetic function. Its “windows” are actually apertures through which light and shadow interact with the metal surface of the building and, by extension, the eye of the viewer.
Sketch for Tropical 4
In his paintings and drawings, Caspar Baum seeks to establish an atmosphere of meditative quietness and harmony. The artist describes himself as significantly influenced by the art and philosophy of the Orient, especially of China, where he travels frequently. In his artwork, Baum seeks to avoid aggressive, “unbalanced” compositions and colors and bases his palette on the range of materials and elements that are traditional in Asia. Baum depicts images of incredible complexity, such as dense foliage of a forest, garden plant life at night, and aerial views. In his “Sketch for Tropical 4” a tree is depicted with great feeling, compositional sensitivity, attention to detail, and an impressive sense of the correspondence between the detail and the whole.
Still Life in Black with Yellow Bouquet / second variation
Art Golacki creates complex still-life compositions in the manner of the Flemish Masters and then photographs them. The artist paints most of the objects in black or white paint, leaving only a few accents of color. “Still Life in Black with Yello Bouquet” is arresting in its stark beauty. The contrast between the more mechanical outlines and the organic shapes of the flowers, the shades of black and the splashes of yellow color is highly effective.
George Washington Bridge Pier in White Sky Riverscape
MVR (Michael Victor Ruggiero) is a digital media artist, who maintains a connection with the traditional drawing. He works in hard pastels before scanning them into the computer. The pixels of the scanned image function similarly to the pointillist dots of color, contributing to a “post-impressionist” effect. The final product – a printed digital image – is a 21st-century addition to the tradition of landscape painting.
Fábio Salun thinks of his photography as research. He investigates the relationship between form as “pure visuality” in its relationship to photography, which reproduces the image by means of reflection and fragmentation (or cropping). Salun’s investigations have led him to the idea of “displaced” photography, a term he prefers to the term “abstract” photography. The artist argues that since all photography is in touch with visible reality, it can never be entirely abstract. He, therefore, prefers to think of his photographs as “displaced.” Taken out of the context that gives an image its literal meaning, the image becomes something other than a literal reproduction. Salun works with both digital and analog photography. Much of his work focuses on organic and manmade patterns.
Whether you are looking for the perfect gift for a loved one, need to impress a colleague, or want to give a friend something they will always remember you by, you will find the just the right piece on ARTmine. Need help? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
There is no greater gift than giving a piece of art to an avid collector. Your choice will open eyes—theirs and yours—to visual and emotional pleasure.