E.M. Saniga, Girl with Sheep, 2009–10, oil on panel, 7/8” x 14”. Courtesy of Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects.
Steven harvey fine arts projects presents a second solo exhibition by Pennsylvania-based artist E. M. Saniga featuring landscape and still life, oil-on-panel paintings. Saniga’s atmospheric paintings are very much about capturing the inherent rule of nature in which flora and fauna run through a cycle that ultimately leads to death and decay. Throughout his compositions, the interplay of light and shadow create an impression of languor tinged with a somber undercurrent
A keen observer of many forms of life having grown up in an idyllic country setting spent hunting and fishing, pastoral subjects serve as the primary muse in many of works selected for exhibition. Paintings encompassing views surrounding his home and studio in South Lancaster County, PA, a fertile terrain populated by lush meadows, woodlands, and Amish farms, are joined by a small group of works that revisit the Spanish village of Horta de Ebro where Picasso invented Cubism.
While exploring traditional themes and a myriad of references ranging from Paul Cézanne, Gustave Courbet, and Edouard Vuillard, to contemporaries Lennart Anderson and Albert York, Saniga’s approach to painting involves using finely applied brushstrokes and a color palette of subdued hues in order to translate on to canvas the indefatigable sense of wonder his subjects hold for him. All the while, taking turns along the way to arrive at a fresh perspective. According to the artist, “I am not a Romantic where I think a beautiful landscape is the only thing you want to paint.”
The diversity of his technique and choice of subject also stems from his manifold passions as a scientist, an inveterate traveler, and a studio painter with deep-seated ties to the land. Science and art share a particular common bond for him as exploratory processes without foregone conclusions. Though he paints from life, his process also involves working from memory, photographs, and imagination, editing and retouching over long periods, sometimes working on 20 paintings at a time.
More interested in what the play of light should be on an object, he deliberately bathes apples, plums, and flowers in a hazy, luminescent grey light, so that the isolated centrality of the subject dominates the picture plane. In describing his approach, Saniga stated, “Thomas Eakins said you should paint with you brain not you eyes, and I believe I paint that way too.”
Whether exploring the openness of a fertile terrain, or clearly delineating the fore, middle, and background of a domestic tableaux, his sense of perspective, like a cinematographer’s, shifts seamlessly between expressing both the expansiveness and singularity of a captured moment.
About the artist
As an artist, a scientist, and a distinguished professor of Information Technology at the University of Delaware, Saniga comes from a distinct cadre of scientists/artists that include Samuel F. D. Morse, John James Audubon, and most recently Eduardo Kac. Trained by Seymour Remenick at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art (PAFA), and by Bruce Kurland, among others, Saniga sponsors the Charles X. Carlson residency at his home in conjunction with the Academy, and his work is represented in the Academy’s permanent collection. Recent solo exhibitions include Gallery Schlesinger, NY (March 2009).
Shfap specializes in the exhibition and sale of contemporary American painting and represents both contemporary painters and artist’s estates. Exhibitions take place at the gallery located in New York’s Upper East Side as well as at other venues. We participate in art fairs including US Artists and the NY Art Book Fair and produce publications by and about artists. The gallery is run by dealer/curator/artist Steven Harvey. Harvey has organized exhibitions at galleries and museums of diverse artists including James Lee Byars, Louis Michel Eilshemius, Louisa Matthíasdóttir, and the Guerilla Art Action Group.