shfap, 24 east 73rd street, #2F, 917-861-7312
opening reception: Thursday, Oct. 7th, 6-8pm
steven harvey fine arts projects presents its second solo exhibition of oil-on-panel paintings by the enigmatic Pennsylvania-based painter of rural and industrial landscapes, still lifes, figures and animals, E. M. Saniga. Having grown up hunting and fishing in a country setting, Saniga is a keen observer of nature. His atmospheric paintings capture the cycle of beauty in nature that ultimately leads to death and decay.
His compositions create a dream-like impression of languor tinged with a somber undercurrent. Paintings encompass views surrounding his home and studio in South Lancaster County, PA, a fertile terrain populated by lush meadows, woodlands, and Amish farms, are joined by a small group of works that revisit Horta de Ebro, the small Spanish village where Picasso invented Cubism.
Saniga’s paintings explore traditional themes and a myriad of references ranging from Paul Cézanne, Gustave Courbet, and Edouard Vuillard, to contemporaries Lennart Anderson and Albert York, Saniga’s approach to painting involves painting with thin washes of oil color slowly building up complex matte surfaces that play off a neutral middle tone.
Saniga is simultaneously a scientist, inveterate traveler, and studio painter with deep-seated ties to the land. Science and art share a certain common bond for him as exploratory processes without foregone conclusions. Though he paints from life, his process also involves working from memory, photographs, and imagination, editing and retouching over long periods, sometimes working on 20 paintings at a time.
He bathes apples, plums, and flowers in a hazy, luminescent grey light, so that the isolated centrality of the subject dominates the still life. Whether exploring the openness of a fertile terrain, or clearly delineating the fore, middle, and background of a domestic tableaux, his sense of perspective, like a cinematographer’s, shifts seamlessly between expressing both the expansiveness and singularity of a captured moment.
As an artist, scientist, and distinguished professor of Information Technology at the University of Delaware, Saniga comes from a distinct cadre of scientifically trained artists that include Samuel F. D. Morse, John James Audubon, and most recently Eduardo Kac. Trained by Bruce Kurland and Seymour Remenick among others at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Saniga sponsors the Charles X. Carlson residency at his home in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Academy, and his work is represented in the Academy’s permanent collection. Recent solo exhibitions include Gallery Schlesinger, NY (March 2009.)