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MERGING ARTS: Exhibit celebrates local artists, Halloween and Cucalorus 25

Penny Vasquez’s ‘Vienda Rojo’

When separate sections of film come together to create a whole sequence, or fragments of imagery merge to become one large picture, a montage is born. It’s an artistic technique used regularly in the arts.

With the merging of film, painting, photography, digital art and illustration coming together in encore and Coworx’s next art show, montage seemed like a theme fit for celebration—especially to benefit the 25th annual Cucalorus Festival. “Montage: A Cucalorus Volunteer Art Exhibit” features more than 20 multimedia works by Penney Vasquez, Francisco “Cisco’” Amieva, Anya Ekaterina and  Brighid Greene. The opening, October 25, 6 p.m. – 9:30 p.m., will have artists meet the public, while enjoying live music from Gravity Records, free beer from Waterline, free wine from Mon Ame Wine Bar, and free snacks from East at Blockade Runner. Plus, a costume contest will see two winners take home a Pegasorus pass, which allows all access to the November 13-17 Cucalorus Festival’s films, stage shows, concerts, Connect conference, parties and more.

A silent auction of one piece from each artist will benefit Cucalorus. Penney Vasquez, who volunteers as their social events coordinator and bar manager, will donate proceeds from “Venus En Flor” (or “Venus in Bloom”). “It is a hand-carved linocut of a Venus Fly Trap,” she explains, “which I then hand-press the prints.” The plant is indigenous to our area and is the theme of this year’s Cucalorus.

Vasquez works in paint, canvas, steel, ink, paper and clay, and will have more than eight works on display in various media. “Save the Bees” was cast with bees, beeswax, metal, and made as a plea to fight against their extinction and for our planet’s healthy environment.

Inspired by the local cityscape, Vasquez will display large, colorful abstracts on canvas, such as “Vienda Rojo” (or “Seeing Red”). “It’s a mix of city, universe and soul,” she says. “My inspiration is from the elements of architecture here in Wilmington, deconstructing space and just painting from within. My process comes from pushing and pulling paint until I am satisfied with the composition.”

Cisco is also inspired by downtown ILM. Showcasing 35mm photography, taken on his Canon EOS RebelG, Amieva is originally from Buenos Aires, though he grew up in DC. It wasn’t until 2017 he became a resident of Wilmington.

Cisco Ameiva’s ‘Untitled’

“I find my inspiration by walking around and taking in the beautiful aesthetics of the [historic] neighborhoods,” Amieva tells. “Most of the photos featured were taken just a few blocks from each other.”

His six pieces are 12-inches-by-12-inches ($70), except for one larger piece, 20-inches-by-20-inches ($90). One that stands out most to the photographer happened to be a fluke—a roll of film gifted by a friend who had no idea it was already expired. “In the end, something pleasant came from it,” Amieva notes. He quotes Bob Ross: “‘There are no mistakes, only happy accidents.’ The exposed streak between the two flowers gives me a feeling of personal transitioning and how strange life can be as it happens.”

A volunteer bartender for Cucalorus, Amieva will donate his expired photo for the silent auction. “Cucalorus helped me find my place here in Wilmington,” he says. “They were a huge part in my transitioning phase as I moved far from home for the first time. I feel it’s only fitting I donate the photo to them.”

Bringing in the dark and macabre vibe of Halloween is Anya Ekaterina’s seven paintings and drawings in acrylic, Conte crayon, ink and collage. “Don’t tell my acrylic pieces this, but Conte crayons work the way I wish acrylic did,” the 19-year-old artist quips. “Similar to pastels, using Conte is sort of like finger painting with dust. Being able to reach out and smudge the colors into shapes brings a tactility and directness to the process that I really enjoy.”

Currently pursuing a degree in film studies at UNCW, Ekaterina will donate to the auction “Celia,” a skeleton drawn from Ekaterina’s life-drawing class at UNCW. She also will show “Sleeping Alone,” which is based on nightmares she often has.

“I never really grew out of having them,” she says. “[And] they come up as a theme in art’s romantic era. I tried to title the painting with a playfulness that accompanies the more frustrating themes of the piece, and include both figures that inspire peacefulness, like the seraphim. Plus, I added ones that created tension, to give the feeling of everything happening at once.”

Anya Ekaterina’s ‘Celia’

“Wraith” came from real life, a figure that frustrates Ekaterina’s artistic hand sometimes. “I allowed the texture of the paper to show through as I loosely defined her shape, giving a ghostly approximation rather than a detailed rendering,” she says. “These qualities remind me of how a memory of someone operates, kind of slipping away at all times”

In true Cucalorus fashion, Brighid Greene will present a film installation, showcasing imagery shot on Super 8. Three films will screen on a loop, including a new piece, “‘Reflection,” which focuses on Greene’s apartment—her domestic, working inhabitance. She also will show the 3-minute “Strain,” shot in Miami and featuring architectural compositions that show the extremes in which people live in apartments and hotels.

“Stress Drop” (7 minutes) closely evokes the same sense of rhythm and timing in its editing as seen in Greene’s choreography as a dancer (she is the stage coordinator during Cucalorus). Greene uses orange and green imagery, as cross-processed negative film, which features the artist’s different homes in California and New York.

“Named after the earthquake term, [‘Stress Drop’] means the amount of stress that is released when an earthquake occurs,” she explains. “It dwells on the idea of seeking both rest and a release valve, oscillating between coping and renewing. The movement and the body are sexual and mundane, frustrated and yet also available. A friend watched it and commented on the relationship between the female body and the landscapes, which weren’t intentional at the time. I shot these two films separate not thinking I’d edit them together, but then they came together as a great parallel, Mother Earth and the home keeping track of one another.”

As well as meeting the artists, enjoying snacks, drinks, music and Halloween fun, anyone who wishes to sign up to volunteer at Cucalorus can do so at “Montage.” For instance, Greene needs help with tech support—running sound and lights during performances—and in creating the theater space at Whiskey Tango Foxtrot prior to the festival opening. Ushers, drivers, customer-service folks, and box-office techs are needed, too. There are opportunities pretty much at every level.

Montage: A Cucalorus Volunteer Art Exhibit
Artwork by Penney Vasquez, Cisco Amieva, Anya Ekaterina and Brighid Greene
Oct. 25, 6-9:30 p.m. • Free
Coworx, 1608 Queen St.
Music from Gravity, wine from Mon Ame, beer from Waterline, snacks from East at Blockade Runner
Halloween costume contest, 8 p.m. — winners receive Cucalorus Pegasorus Pass

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Encore Magazine regularly covers topics pertaining to news, arts, entertainment, food, and city life in Wilmington. It also maintains schedules and listings of local events like concerts, festivals, live performance art and think-tank events. Encore Magazine is an entity of H&P Media, which also powers Wilmington’s local ticketing platform, Print and online editions are updated every Wednesday.

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