A View of Humanity

Karen Bonanno – Camille Eskell – Jennifer Knaus – Gerald Saladyga​

East Gallery: June 9 – July 15, 2023

Opening Reception: Friday, June 9, 6:00 – 8:00 pm

Virtual Artist Talk: Wednesday, July 5, 6:30 PM

Artist Statement

My focus is on the female figure and how these figures interact and relate to one another as well as how they interact within the space they occupy in the picture. Through expressive gestures, bold color and energetic mark making, these invented/imagined figures are formed with intent in their environments creating images representing the strong, confident iconic female figure.

Artist Statement

As a first-generation American and the youngest of three girls from a turbulent Iraqi-Jewish family from Bombay, I delve into my cultural history and familial heritage to root out the influences, gendered traditions, and patriarchal systems that perpetuate over generations and underlie beliefs and perceptions even now. In The Fez as Storyteller, my ongoing series of mixed-media sculptures and two-dimensional works, I tackle the impact of this social and psychological legacy mainly through a feminist lens.

I use the fez cap, traditional Ottoman headgear, as a structural base for storytelling to signify the foundation established by my forebears who left Iraq for Bombay (Mumbai) to become traders of the hats in their adopted land. The crafting of each piece is meticulous, time-consuming, and process-driven. My practice integrates a range of materials and techniques: digital imagery combined with fabric, sculptural elements, paper, trims, embellishments, and cultural symbols of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and Sephardic traditions. The methods I use include disassembling and re-working existing garments, accessories, and decorative items, hand-sewing, beading, and intricate fastening.

Artist Statement

My paintings are imaginary portraits that come from a desire to combine various unrelated attractions: Portraits from the northern renaissance, Dutch 17th century still-lives, the beautiful chaos of my backyard at the height of summer, and

mid-century pattern design, to name a few.  Although the results may seem surreal, I am more inspired by the Surrealists techniques of tapping into the subconscious rather than by actual Surrealist painting. I have a desire to personalize idealized notions of beauty and importance. To embellish icons with humor and a little absurdity but also within those details to suggest a narrative that is mysterious and atmospheric.

Artist Statement

Technically, I can draw a line of influence from the flatness of Byzantine mosaics and paintings to early Medieval art (Giotto and Duccio) to the Russian Avant-Guard (Malevich, El Lizzitski, Chagall) onto my larger works on canvas. I use latex and acrylic paint layered and sanded down to expose each primary layer, giving the overall background a glow onto which I begin to build a narrative. It can take several months to complete a painting along with a work on paper, so dates are not often completely accurate.


For the most part, my work often has an analytical apocalyptic edge to it. Canvases are divided horizontally into a tri-part medieval universe of heaven, earth and hell, but these may be reordered and the disorientation adds to the emancipation of the confines of gravity. For example, in Climbing Jacob’s Ladder, Wyeth’s Christina Olsen may try to crawl her way back into the reality she may have known, only to find the road she spies, leads her past her house and onto another horizon, or somewhere over an unreal rainbow. The man in the lower right hand corner looks back at an un-ecological earth while his green “Earth Day” flag has turned red. The boy in Starry Night Over Grand Avenue cannot reach the basketball that seems to lead him to, perhaps, a different unknown starry night. And in The Fall of Man a fetus floats through space possibly looking for a womb of safe harbor as a naked man falls downward and flying saucers from “War of the Worlds” (1952 edition) destroy the planet. Even Edward Hopper’s studio in Truro, MA cannot escape the oncoming destruction. In one of the latest completed paintings, Two Saints Visit the Ukraine, two very self-absorbed men appear on the wrong side of a brick wall and in the far distance destruction begins as the viewer is reminded of fields and graves of Babii Yar.


The Triptych: Manoug Adoian, 1912 In Armenia/Arshile Gorky, 1920 In America references the photograph of him and his mother, Shushan, taken in Van, Armenia and turned into several drawings and paintings by him in America between 1926 and 1936.  Gorky immigrated to America to be with his father and family in 1920 after his mother died of malnutrition in Armenia after the Turkish genocide. The panels are divided into three sections. The first panel copies in the lower section Gorky dropping the flower he was holding in the photo but in the third panel it grows at the feet of his mother.  The center panel completes the Byzantine architecture of the era with Lake Van, top, and the primitive Byzantine church beside it.  The side panels predict the destruction and genocide of the World Wars I & II.