When Words Get Tired


Matti Sirvio’s current exhibition When Words Get Tired is on view at the artist’s gallery is Muscat, Oman.  With this collection of works, Sirvio expresses his observations of society and the larger, deeper messages that don’t sink in.  With the increasing pace of life and technology has come the gradual loss of the weight of words, and in a world saturated with imagery, the weight of symbols and signifiers.  “As the world seems to be spinning faster and faster, pictures have to fight for people’s attention.  Yes, the modern culture is described as visual, but is it really?” Sirvio questions.  “Very few people have any capacity to look at Rothko’s paintings.  They have too much undefined room in them.”

Our digital devices leave us less and less space, pulling us away from contemplating present, undefined moments and into social media, ads, and images.  Sirvio’s artwork does not bow to this cultural change.  The artist continues to work from a removed, spiritual place.  He calls these works the imprint of the Divine on his heart, “God’s handwriting on the walls of my private chambers.”  His subtle dimensionality in color and shape remains strong, making statements both emotive and beyond this world.  The theme of the exhibition is meditations on life and death, the before and after.  “The Storm is Passing Over” depicts two planes, the higher one shades of the underbelly of a lightening cloud, the lower is thick.  The grey-blue hues are solid and muddy.  The image could be interpreted as the earth, solid and receiving, and the quality of movement above in the heavens.  The meeting of eternal life and the form that ends in death, the before and after.

“Tired Words” is a fiery piece, like the orange tip of a flame exploding with golden hues.  Darker elements bare a defiance.  Is it the emotion of the words that still know their weight, the symbols with unmoving meaning?  With eyes hovering above our phones, we scan written words and skip entire paragraphs.  We scroll through images and bypass symbols in search of more.  Like these dark shapes, they haven’t lost their meaning.  We have lost our ability to receive it.  When Words Get Tired invites you to rest your gaze and meet the work with your own emotions and experiences.  The exhibition welcomes prolonged interaction as one searches for meaning.

Sirvio cites “Zeitgeist as being a moving piece in the particular collection of works for him.  It touches on the country the he affectionately calls home: Oman.  “The central piece of this show is a big painting called ‘Zeitgeist.’  It’s a reflection of my observations in Oman today.  The country is seeking her identity sometimes from the unknown past, sometimes from the unpredictable future.  There is a battle raging for people’s souls.  The invisible powers are like a huge magnet pulling people to all directions.”
To view When Words Get Tired type Matti Sirvio Galleria into Google Maps.  There you will find directions to the gallery space in the mountains of Al Amarat, Oman.  The exhibition is on view until March 31st.



Far from The Tree

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Katherine Fraser’s paintings exist on the edge of fantasy.  Some pieces veer more towards reality, and others begin to cross the boundary into a dream state.  Her current exhibition Far from the Tree depicts figures from well-known fables to probe the concepts destiny and agency.  This collection of work, on view at Philadelphia’s Paradigm Gallery, questions the fixed destinies that these characters live again and again in the retelling of their tales.  In each painting there is the feeling that something is about to happen, like the smell of the air changing as a storm approaches from a far-off place.  The well-defined roads in these published and printed stories meet alternate paths.

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In “Promises to Keep” a young woman wears a blue and white dress and smock.  Her blond hair is braided over her shoulder and she is holding a lamp and an open pocket watch.  The figure looks adult, but the style of her clothing is childlike.  She faces the dark side of the woods, while the sunset is diminishing behind her.  Will she go into the dark carrying her own light?  Curiously, in “Two Paths Diverged” a woman with shorn blond hair emerges from a dark wood haphazardly dressed.  Red roses in full bloom decorate the dark.  These images could be the same female figure in two stages of life, a timid before and bold after.

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In “To Know the Difference,” the quilted pattern of a young man’s jacket mirrors the chain linked fence behind him.  He is not ghostly, dissolving into the fence, but solid.  The mirroring of the diamond pattern makes it seem like he is constrained by outside forces.  Far behind the fence a soft light is filling the mist in the woods.  It looks like he is embedded in his environment, and the halo of mist catches the light like a dream of what else is out there.

“The Larger Questions” and “Infrared” were next to each other in the gallery.  While the qualities of the images are very different, one edgy and darkened, the other soft and natural, one gallery visitor noted that both women appear to be ready to take action.  They are both redheads, one the color of a nightclub pulse and the other an autumnal hue.  Shadowed eyes and bold shoulders, versus clear eyes and a calculating gaze.

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Among these portraits Fraser painted nature scenes that, at first, appear unassuming.  A prolonged look reveals the clear bright sky above the dark mystery of the woods.  Spindly branches are simply filling up space, then they are moving toward you in a gesture that could be welcoming or threatening.  These painting provide periods of rest in this complex series, then reveal depths that you thought must be hidden.

Far from the Tree is on view until April 21st at Paradigm Gallery + Studio: 746 S. 4th Street, Philadelphia, 19147.

Oriano Galloni – Silent Soul


Serene oval faces with soft smiles resemble the faces of the saints in ancient iconography.  Yet these sculptures have a strange quality, setting them apart from anything recognizable.  Oriano Galloni found the inspiration for his Silent Souls series in nature.  The artist was walking in an ancient forest when he felt overcome by other-worldly presences.  The forest, full of towering, old trees, became a sacred place for Galloni.  The Silent Soul sculptures are works created to provoke conversation about the meeting of our world and another realm.  They embody the majestic height of the trees and the softness of natural colors.  The marble is the connection to another world unlike our own.

Each of these sculptures, these souls, are unique.  While many are a combination of marble and wood, one is entirely marble.  While the face is white, the rest of the form is a cascading mixture of white and grey.  It is like the immensely tall figure is clothed in clouds.  Another is sculpted like an athlete.  The metallic silver body is like form of a warrior with a peaceful expression.  These works provoke thought about what each form represents and what kind of presence it had in that forest.

See more of Oriano Galloni’s work here:

Matan Ben Tolila – Bat Kol

In the cave #2 70x55 cm 2017

Matan Ben Tolila is an artist who lives and works in Jerusalem.  In the past, the Israeli artist explored themes related to conflict and escapism.  For his current exhibition Bat Kol, Ben Tolila changed his creative process entirely.  The precision of his brush strokes is reflective of his former approach.  For Bat Kol, he let the initial forms, literally, take their own shape on the canvas.  Learn more about the exhibition which recently opened at Noga Gallery in Tel Aviv, Israel below.

Q: Why did you choose the name Bat Kol?

A: In the Jewish tradition, there are narratives, mainly in moments of conflict, in which a divine voice (In Hebrew: Bat Kol) comes out, as a non-official spokesperson of God, and represents a different perspective on the events. Since there is a strong visual narrative in the series of paintings in my exhibition, I thought it would be right to have moments of revelation, moments of words spoken from a higher source.  

Q: What inspired you to change your creative process?

A: After feeling for a long time that I was not excited anymore by the act of painting, feeling that it had been a long time of walking on familiar paths, I decided to completely change my method of painting. I placed the white canvas on the floor, poured diluted paint on it and let the arbitrary stain be the starting point for the painting. In the created stain, I saw in my imagination caves or melting mountains, and I got the sense of visiting new, unfamiliar, unconscious places, strange to me but belonging to me (and only me) as well.

Q: There are a lot of caves in this work, and then open spaces with water as well.  What do the caves and the water represent?

A: The caves and the open sceneries were not born out of a conscious decision, but intuitively. An artist’s studio is some kind of a cave or womb and I suppose that when I paint a cave or some other place of separation, I detach myself.  But it also enables me to wander in a beautiful, mysterious space. 

Water and open landscapes often appear in my paintings and they are the place where I can express continuing flowing and gentle movement.

Q: Can you tell us a little bit more about a few pieces?

Stars 44x41 cm 2017

“Stars”:  This is the smallest work in my exhibition and it describes a simple moment where the viewer’s point of view is from a dark cave towards a hole in the wall. Through the hole, the starry skies are seen. The combination of beauty and light along with darkness and great distance, are the essence of this work.

Facing East 130x190 cm 2016

“Facing East”I wanted to create a painting of an embroidered fabric screen hiding an open panoramic landscape. The screen is in the front of the painting, acting as an obstacle or interruption to the right order. On the screen are two suns embroidered and from the name of the work you can understand it is about a rising sun. In this work, there is a clash between the natural aspects of the view showing from behind the stretched screen, and the artificial embroidered landscape on the fabric. The natural and the artificial, the revealed and the hidden, are present together in the simple moment of sunrise.  

Look 160x100 cm 2017

“Look”: In this work, there is also a clash between the natural, represented by my figure and by the dog beside me, and the many poles placed in the space artificially. This is my self-portrait, a little bent, staring at the viewer, as if seeing something the viewer can’t see yet. The poles are not straight in the ground, they are tilted as if subjected to the ravages of time. The long shapes of the poles here are an expression of a disturbance, and they add a wondering about the nature of the background space and its quality. 


Bat Kol at Noga Gallery

60 Ehad Ha’am st.
Tel-Aviv 6520219 Israel

Monday-Thursday 11am-6pm
Friday-Saturday 11am-2pm

(Story originally published on

Runik Jewellery – Alexis Carter


Runik Jewellery was created out of Alexis Carter’s desire to bring her own vision to life.  She began teaching herself metal work only three years ago.  “I was working full-time during the day and was teaching myself at night by a lot of trial and error.”  Using books and the internet, Carter successfully created jewellery that she herself wanted wear and found her preferred creative outlet.  “What I like most about it is, there is so much to learn, so many techniques and methods to try.  It’s a constant experiment and always exciting to see how a piece will turn out.”

Carter is a Queensland native, born near Surfer’s Paradise in Australia’s Gold Coast.  But Carter prefers the country’s untouched woodland to the beach.  Runik Jewellery’s Instagram account has a strong following, awaiting new photos of her creations with Victoria, Australia’s rural Gippsland in the background.  She uses recycled materials, sterling silver, and a variety of gemstones to create pieces that are elegant and edgy.  The jewellery showcases the natural beauty of minerals and the subtlety of hammering techniques.  “Every design is natural, fairly straightforward and with subtle hints of my surroundings thrown in.”  The Gippsland forest is awe-inspiring.  “I am constantly trying to find ways to transfer organic textures into my pieces.”  Carter collects natural materials from the forest floor, then transfers the pattern to her jewelry hammers to create the impression.  Bark, eucalyptus leaves, agate, gum nuts, and moss are currently in her studio.  Carter also has an affinity for runes, ancient symbols from the Germanic alphabet most often associated with Norse history.  The mysterious symbols complement the gemstones and natural textures in Carter’s jewelry, and strikingly stand alone.  Visually, the runes have a quality that rests between the organic and the constructed.  The way that Carter approaches designing jewelry embodies this meeting of earthiness, freedom, and intent.

Prior to designing jewellery, Carter was in the Army for eight years.  She returned from the Middle East in 2010 and began thinking about moving off the grid.  Carter appreciates her military experience, but it also created the desire for solitude.  “I think I had seen enough of what people are capable of and wanted to live in ignorant bliss…alone.  This is not to say that I had a brutally negative experience over there, it just helped me realize what was really important to me and what wasn’t.  So, when I got out of the Army, I bought a bush property in the middle of nowhere and started to prepare to go off grid.  I think I live in pure luxury and I am so lucky that my dream is simple and inexpensive.”  Carter’s Instagram photos paint a picture of an artisan who feels a connection to her surroundings.  Her appreciation for the natural world is what makes Runik Jewellery so unique.

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Seeds and Light

KODAK Digital Still Camera

The Seeds and Light Project was created by painter Sara Drescher to support Freedom 418, Compassion, and the Midland County Child Welfare Board.  These organizations work to free children from the cycle of poverty (Compassion), support survivors of human trafficking (Freedom 418) and help meet the needs of children who are in foster care (Midland County Child Welfare Board).  Drescher, a celebrated artist from Midland, Texas began by simply asking herself if she could do more to help others.  Check out the Q&A below to learn more about Seeds and Light.

What specifically inspired you to start the Seeds and Light Project?

I was ruminating about my life one day and had a strong desire to do more to help people.  I felt like I had only been doing the bare minimum and I wanted to take the next step.  A few months before, I painted to two paintings to raise money for my friend’s work with sex trafficking survivors in Southeast Asia.  I had also just committed to sponsoring a child in Indonesia.  These two additions to my life inspired me to go ahead and create a series of art solely to raise funds for children in need.  I had two groups that I felt confident supporting but they were based in other countries.  Helping my own community is important to me, too.  I was talking about my idea in one of my art classes and two of the ladies told me about their work with a non-profit that supports local kids in the foster system.  It was a perfect match!  I had my three groups to support, and now I could create the art.

Which painting did you create first?

I have two “series” in the Seeds and Light Project.  The first in the “Seeds Series,” was “Seed of Potential No.1” and the first in the “Light Series” was “Value.”


What do you hope the paintings communicate to survivors?

I want to communicate acceptance and love to the survivors.  I want to show them that they are full of light and potential and not darkness.

Has working on Seeds and Light impacted the rest of your fine art practice in any way?

I think the Seeds and Light Project has made me even more determined to infuse all of my work with hope.  A painting may not be directed at survivors of abuse or neglect specifically, but everyone has scars and struggles with something.  One person’s pain is not less than another person’s pain.  There is so much darkness and conflict in the world right now, I do not feel led to contribute to it in any way.  I hope all of my work can bring light, comfort, or promise to anyone it speaks to.

80% of the proceeds from each sale benefit Freedom 418, Compassion, and the Midland County Child Welfare Board.  High quality 11×14 prints are $60, and the paintings themselves start at $305.

Learn more about Seeds and Light and purchase the artwork here:

(Originally posted on



Matti Sirvio, painter, pastor, and humanitarian aid worker, has started a new venture.  He has opened an artist-run, as yet untitled, gallery space.  Off the beaten path in Muscat, Oman, the upcoming show is titled POSTE RESTANTE.  The name refers of a post office that holds onto mail until recipients call to receive it.  Strategically placed outside of the town center, the gallery is a place that people must seek out.  “You go there through an exotic mountain road until you finally reach this newly built suburb area called Al Amrat.  Wild donkeys walk by.  In the evening, the lonely moon shines over the surrounding mountains.  Not one person could accidentally stumble in here. Only those who cannot live without art will find it,” he says.  Tucked away on the outskirts of Muscat, the gallery doesn’t have an official address.  Visitors can type ‘Matti Sirvio Art Galleria’ into Google Maps to get directions. “I want people to come with an expectation to see if they ‘got some mail.’” Alluding to the name of exhibition, he hopes that people will seek and find a special connection to a piece of artwork.

The name POSTE RESTANTE speaks to Sirvio on multiple levels.  It holds the elements of adventure and searching, and also temporality.  These traits are reflective of his paintings.  Sirvio’s artwork captures the emotion within fleeting moments, meditating on the ephemeral qualities of life with joy and gratitude.  His current works in the gallery “contribute to deeper thoughts, a lot of hope and joy for the coming Christmas season.”

Transience is a part of life for Sirvio.  While he calls Oman home, he is originally from Finland.  He has lived, worked, and travelled throughout Central Asia, nations formerly part of the Soviet Union, and the Middle East.  Even though he returns to Oman, he doesn’t stay in one place for too long.  “With the gallery, I hope to travel less, but I’m afraid this is just wishful thinking,” he says.  “I have a show planned in Europe for March and another one [in Muscat] for the fall.  Besides that, I do continue visiting our churches in Central Asia and the Middle-East.”  While Sirvio’s work is “very rewarding” the frequent travel can be challenging.  “May God give me more wisdom on how to plan my schedule.”  You can keep up with the artist here:


POSTE-RESTANTE will be on view from December 16, 2017-January 16, 2018.

(Originally posted on

Jennifer Younger

bear tracks pattern with spruce roots

Bear Tracks Patterned Cuff – copper with patina & spruce root

“Growing up we didn’t have electricity. That meant no TV. There was a lot of time to draw, color and paint as a kid. Mom always had us making party signage and cards for different occasions.”  Metalsmith and artist Jennifer Younger was raised in Yakutat, Alaska.  Just five and half years ago, she began studying the Tlingit art of formline metalwork and is now a full-time jewelry designer.  Younger, whose ethnic makeup is Tlingit, Polish, and Slovak, uses design work to honor the Native American part of her heritage and the Tlingit community in which she has always lived.

In the far south-eastern territory of Yakutat, Younger’s family lived off of the land.   “We were near the beach. We didn’t have electricity or plumbing.  So you can only imagine: showers made from five gallon buckets, midnight runs to the outhouse…after looking for bears! We had a garden, with mostly things like potatoes carrots and turnips.  As children, we’d be sent out during blueberry or salmon berry season.  ‘Don’t come back until your bucket is full!’ Mom would jar them and it would be a staple for School morning breakfast.”

bearclaw pendant

Bear Claw/Eagle Pendant – custom order

Younger learned the crafts of beadwork, making moccasins, and weaving spruce roots from her mother.  Younger’s grandmother, a full-blooded Tlingit, passed on the art of moccasin making to her children.  Like many natives, she suffered the trauma of displacement and forced schooling in the Wrangell Institute in Alaska.  There she was forced to suppress her culture’s language and practices, losing her hearing from physical abuse.  Growing up, Younger always enjoyed the arts and painting in particular. Yet, she didn’t imagine that she would become an artisan and express what her grandmother could not.  “Since then, my mom expanded her skin and fur sewing. We both learned how to gather, process and weave spruce roots.  But after High School I jumped right into the 9-5 work force. For years I never knew what I wanted to be…where my passion was…what kind of work would be fulfilling for me. I always knew I needed to work to pay bills, but I was always in search of something.”  It was her sister, Mary, who suggested that they try metalwork and make jewelry in 2012.  She knew Nicolas Galanin, a Tlingit metal artist, and assumed correctly that he would apprentice them.  “I pondered it…it sounded interesting,” she says.  “I went all in: bought the equipment and thought I had to create all these pretty shiny, silver things with ‘traditional’ formline designs.”

copper mussel shell

Mussel Shell Pendants – copper with patina

After a short apprenticeship with Nicolas Galanin, Younger and her sister later found a mentor in his father, fellow artist Dave Galanin.  “Dave had a shop at his residence.  He welcomed my sister, Mary, and I to come work with him to learn Tlingit formline design. We spent several years going to his shop several times a week.   Nick and Dave are still always very helpful whenever I need help or have questions. I’m always grateful for their continued support.”  As a single mother, working with the Galanin artists gave Younger an opportunity to study around the needs of her family.  She also found support for her unconventional design ideas.  Formline artwork is characterized by clean and curvy lines and shapes, often representations of animals and symbols.  While Younger’s design work certainly has elements of traditional formline, she branched into her own style using abstract shapes.  Into her metalwork she includes a more specific piece of her family history: “I like to incorporate spruce roots into my copper and silver jewelry. For one, I have a lot of roots that I do not want to waste! And I like how it adds an organic feel to a piece of jewelry. Thirdly, I like the analogy that I’m getting back to my Tlingit roots.”

killer whale bracelet

Killer Whale Bracelet – patinated copper

Younger makes custom work, sells to museum shops, and is one of the newer artists stocked on  The online shop, created by Native American designer Bethany Yellowtail, sells clothing and accessories made by Native American artists.  Younger feels incredibly fortunate to be an artisan and to be included in the B.Yellowtail family.  “All I can say is that if you are searching for your purpose, don’t ever give up! Everything I’ve done in my life has led up to this and this didn’t happen until after I turned 40!”

As evidenced by Younger’s experience with being an apprentice, community is valued in south-east Alaska.  The artists attested to this when asked what someone like me (an outside-of-Philadelphia native) won’t learn from watching the Discovery Channel.  Community support in the town of Sitka, and the natural surroundings, keep Younger inspired.  “Dave always told me to work on something every day. It can be a rainy day and I’m at a loss of what to make,” she says.  “I’ll make “rain drop” earrings. I’ll do patterns of indigenous plants. I’ll engrave spruce root basket patterns and incorporate spruce roots.”

Water, Heart, Face – Jerusalem Biennale

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(article originally posted on

The Jerusalem Biennale has presented a variety of Jewish voices in the arts since 2013.  This year, the theme of “Watershed” was explored in spiritual searching, masculine Jewish identity, the relationship between church and state, and heaven and earth, among many others.  The image of the watershed, geological bodies of water that converge and separate in different places, is a metaphor for the connections and disparities between people, as well as pivotal moments in history. 

The Jerusalem Biennale will be held from October 1 – November 16, 2017.  26 Exhibitions are held throughout various locations in the city, with the work of 200 artists on display. 

We spent four days touring the exhibitions and meeting with artists to capture what is happening in the fine arts in Jerusalem.

Water, Heart, Face

“As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart” (Proverbs 27:19)

Curator Avital Naor Wexler describes her exhibition Water, Heart, Face as such: “It’s about the gathering of people as a reflection.  It could be a mirror, but it is water face to face.  I think that if the sentence [in Proverbs] says something about water, it says something else than the objective reflection, like in a mirror.  It has more depth.  It has more movement.”  Water is a vehicle for a variety of experiences and connections.  Naor Wexler found this to be a diverse theme for the exhibition.  The story of Narcissus comes to mind, a man obsessed with his own reflection, “but in this sentence, it talks about the heart as well.  It talks about a relationship between two people, more than one, not with yourself.  I think that it is interesting because the art is a kind of pond, a lake, something that is a reflection between the artist and the audience.”

Naor Wexler believes that when someone sees a piece of art they are drawn to what they see of themselves or the person who created the work in it.   “When you meet art the thing that attracts you is because you find yourself or you find the artist, or someone else within the work.”  She wanted to compare Narcissus and Proverbs to explore the variety of reflections in art.  “I chose several artworks that are self-portraits, but with a twist.”  The artists, or symbols of themselves, are in various emotional states with the presence of water and reflections.


One of the works by Vered Aharanovitch features a character who she has labeled as representing herself.  This young girl is depicted in four sculptures as a mermaid within fishbowls.  Twisting and turning, drawing her own blood with sea urchins, her expressions are aloof, pained, and frustrated.  In the glass, observers see her pain as she maturing through heartache, just as they see their own face reflected.

Naor Wexler designed the exhibition to be “something that you can come and meet, and something that will come to you from the art itself.”  The question of what attracts a person to a work of art remains an open question to Wexler, one that Water, Heart, Face,provides space for.

Water, Heart, Face includes the work of: Aharon Kritzer, Alma Shneor, Carolina Bonfil, Debbie Kampel, Eliad Landau, Eliran Jan, Einat Arif-Galanti, Gideon Rubin, Merav Shin Ben-Alon, Matan Ben Tolila, Noa Arad Yairi, Renana Salmon, Shulamit Etsion, Vered Aharonovitch, Yoni Salmon, Yifat Shtainmetz Hirst.  See the exhibition, and several others, as 12 Bezeq Building, Chopin Street, Jerusalem.

Artwork: Aharon Kritzer, Vered Aharanovitch

Alfred Manessier: A Composer in Colors


Alfred Manessier: Composer in Colors is a part of the current roster of travelling exhibitions from Bowden Collections.  The collection includes twenty of Manessier’s lithographs, all of which give the impression that he really was a composer.  The French artist’s work was labeled Lyrical Abstraction (Abstraction Lyrique) in the Post World War II art world of the mid 1940s.  Manessier painted with a quality of life and movement, images like music playing before your eyes.

The strokes of the paintbrush appear to vibrate.  Both dark and bright shapes have energy.  In some images, there is a sense of push and pull between the two.  In “L’emprionnement,” dark and muddy shapes bar colors that refuse to stop dancing under oppression.  This is this balance of dire darkness and hope throughout the exhibition.  Images composed from the lighter end of the spectrum don’t lack the strength of these depictions of conflict.  The energy of the colors is bold and hangs in a different kind of balance.

While Manessier was not a musical composer, his sense of energy in colors may have come from his work as a stained-glass artist.  Manessier’s windows were, like these lithographs, non-figurative.  The curving black outline of each pane was filled with an ambiguous shape.  The effect of sunlight shining through the panes energizes the colors and their sense of movement.

Learn more about the Bowden Collection and where exhibitions, like this, are travelling next here.