March Gallery Exhibit at CAC

March 1, 2011

Two Frederick women are collaborating together on an art exhibit at the Cultural Arts Center in honor of Women’s History Month. The show, entitled “Duet” will feature the work of artists Christine Conko and Kyra Kristof. The exhibit runs from March 4th to March 27th with an opening reception on Saturday, March 5th from 5:00-9:00 p.m.

Conko started her journey as an artist while a student at Linganore High School and Frederick Community College. As an art education major at Towson University she suffered a massive Cerebral Hemorrhage which left her in a coma, blind and partially paralyzed. While this changed the direction of her art, it did not change her passion for it. She had to rely on her other senses to give her “insight” into her art. Her work is rich, emotional and prophetic. She has been fortunate to work with local artists who have taught her, mentored her and inspired her to go on with her work. She presently works with local abstract artist, Calvin Edward Ramsburg who shares her love of bright colors. She has shown her work both regionally and nationally, having had several solo exhibits.

“Art has been an immensely healing force in my life. I have always created my “vision” from within my soul, “Conko said. “With the loss of my eyesight, the need to do so is even greater. I have to rely on my other senses to give me insight into my art. My pain, hope and faith are expressed in my work, “she said.

Conko’s first Sunrise/Sunset was created years ago for her “INSIGHT” Exhibition. “My love of landscape led me to investigate this theme more thoroughly. Visual memories run through my mind all the time. Working abstract allows me to express these emotions in a wider range. I can’t wait to work on the next painting. I love blending the bold, bright colors, building layers of paint until I can feel the texture,” she said.

Adding to her sunrise/sunset series, she has ventured into a new phase. “I am painting what I see in my eyes as a result of the optical nerve damage,” Conko said. This series is call “Thru my Eyes.” “I have these spots before my eyes at all time even when they are closed. The spots change with time and weather. I also like experimenting with flowers and more impressionist work, she said.

“Life is a journey, filled with times of joy as well as unexpected challenges. The process of working through life’s challenges is reflected in this series of paintings,” Conko said.

Pincheira studied art at Carnegie Mellon University where she became the first, and possibly only, student there to receive a Bachelor of Humanity and Arts in Creative Expression. She is the illustrator of the children’s book “Where’s Leon?” and has been exhibiting on the eastern shore of Maryland since 2006. Since relocating to Frederick, she is delighted to have her first “western shore” exhibit here in her new home.

In 2006, Pincheira had her first experience painting in an open studio attached to a gallery. People often wandered in to watch her work and she was surprised by how frequently these visitors wanted to be told what a painting was about. “With this in mind, I was startled to discover my own reliance on printed info tags often displayed with paintings, and how uncomfortable I was looking without reading first,” Pincheira said. “Why the need for words to mediate an experience with art? wasn’t the image enough?” she said. Therefore, she began to include text on her canvases, sometimes it is legible and sometimes it is obscured. “but it is always there” she said. Language pertinent to the creation of a painting becomes part of the painting itself as words become images. Pincheira has continued this exploration and integrated text is now a constant aspect of her work. “For me, my paintings are the stories I tell myself. But I invite you to have your own interpretation, your own unique relationship with them. And because it is art, we will all be right,” she said.

Pincheira mostly paints in oil on canvas. However, she sometimes uses ink and found objects as well. An allergy to most of the vehicles and solvents usually associated with oil painting led her to develop a technique that uses very little brushwork and requires only poppy seed oil. “I often paint with a palette knife or my fingers, and use folded paper and other items to stamp or “print” directly on the canvas. I also remove layers of paint using various objects, carving details and words directly into the paint to reveal contrasting colors below,” she said.

The Cultural Arts Center gallery is open Thursday through Sunday and additional hours are available by appointment. The Cultural Arts Center is located in downtown Frederick at 15 N. Market Street. The facility is managed by the Frederick Arts Council, whose mission is to be the primary catalyst and advocate for arts opportunities in Frederick County.