Works of painter Stephen Pentak, sculptor Carol Snyder pair naturally

By Peter Tonguette For The Columbus Dispatch   -  December 4, 2016

Nature at its most somber and serene is showcased in exhibits at Keny Galleries in German Village.

Oil-on-panel paintings by Stephen Pentak - a former art professor and associate dean at Ohio State University now living in Stephentown, New York - depict riverscapes in which the water is undisturbed and the horizon clear.

Porcelain sculptures by Carol Snyder of Columbus offer imaginative interpretations of tree lines, bales of hay and the toll taken by erosion on the natural world.

With their shared qualities of calmness and visual clarity, the artists' creations complement one another so well that they are freely intermingled throughout the venue.

For example, Pentak's "2016, VIII.I" hangs on a wall above a table displaying Snyder's "Lake Trees Trio." By sharing the same space, the two works enter into an artistic dialogue.

Pentak's long rectangular painting shows a river bordered by hilly terrain in the background and a sparse grouping of needle-thin tree trunks in the foreground; Snyder's piece features three squatty vessels that, together, suggest a mass of trees.

Another intriguing pairing offers Pentak's "2016, VI.IV" hanging above a mantel displaying Snyder's dishlike vessels "Sketched," "Small Linear Landscape (Shallow)" and "Small Linear Landscape (Deep)." The painting presents two evenly spaced trees beside a body of water; the simplicity and symmetry of the picture is reflected in Snyder's neatly arranged, similarly proportioned sculptures.

Each artist's works are impressive individually, too.

Several of Pentak's paintings depict striking double visions of darkness and light.

In "2016, VII.III," sunlight illuminates one side of a tree-filled hill, but the other side is masked in shadows. A similar effect is seen in "2016, VII.IV," with its color scheme split down the middle: The left side is dark and autumnal; the right, bright and clear.

Also evocative is "2011, III.II," featuring a lone wispy branch - accented with twigs- and a watery background on which reflections of deep brown and green foliage are visible.

Due in part to the power of suggestion. Snyder's sculptures often reflect what is described in their inventive titles. For example, the tall, fat vessel "Fog" evokes the heaviness of a cloudlike mass.

Snyder's most quietly dazzling sculpture is the 84-inch-long "A Walk in the Woods With Grandpap." mounted on Plexiglas above a doorway inside the gallery.

Comprised of a series of small overlapping loglike pieces, the work artfully re-creates a seemingly endless row of trees.

Images: Pentak "2011, III.II," "2016, VIII.IV" and Snyder "Fog."


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