Art Center Goes Out on a Limb with September Exhibitions

Todays News

Photo courtesy of the artist and Art Center Sarasota

Art Venti refers to himself as a limb-walker. One look at his work justifies the label. His large, surreal mindscapes allude to real-life patterns and objects without ever confirming or denying any resemblance. Fantastical, dreamy, sublime sometimes bordering on grotesque, they reflect Venti’s willingness to inch further out on the limb of creation, rendering shapes and tableaus plumbed straight from the deep ether of his imagination. “In the end, my goal is to come up with something completely new to excite the viewer,” he says. 

And beginning yesterday with an opening reception at Art Center, Sarasota can gaze upon Venti’s work and take a deep dive into the artist's impossibly detailed colored-pencil pieces.

“Tranquil Veil (Ocean’s Sorrow),” arguably his exhibition’s feature piece, measures 52 inches by 78 inches, totaling over 24 square feet of meticulous work with frequently sharpened colored pencils. The result is nearly an entire universe in which the viewer can get lost—there’s kelp, sort of; coral, maybe; jellyfish, in a way; sea anemones, in spirit. “That piece took me over a year to do,” he says, but it’s the patience and attention to detail that energizes him. “Colored pencils aren’t really as respected as other mediums,” he says, “but they just check so many boxes for me and encompass so much of what I value in art and in life.” 

Born in New York, Venti pursued music, art and all manner of mind-expanding activities while living in California. After a several-year stint in England, Venti and his wife wanted to find a city steeped in art that didn’t cost an arm and a leg to live in. And after moving to Sarasota in January of last year, it didn’t take long for his colorful work to find an audience. “My wife encouraged me to submit one of my pieces for a juried show at Art Center,” he says, “and I ended up winning; so, it’s nice to get a good start in a new city.”

And Venti’s start coincides with another recent transplant to the area, the Art Center’s new director, Kinsey Robb. “I think we’ve got a really great mix for this round of exhibitions,” says Robb, “but Venti’s work is really interesting, the way he renders things that are surreal but still look like they might exist somewhere.”

Other exhibitions for this round include a collection of works from members of Petticoat Painters and a juried exhibition of figure drawings. “I’m really excited to jump into the Fall season with my highly motivated team,” says Robb, “and I’m looking forward to sharing this round with the Sarasota community.”

All three exhibitions run through October 2. Learn more here.

Photo courtesy of the artist and Art Center Sarasota

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