Ysabel Le May | Carmelo Blandino
Canadian artists ysabel Le May and Carmelo Blandino, both 43 and married two years, pursue different painting styles in their North Naples home and studio. Quebec native Le May’s “skyscapes” join immaculate semi-abstract clouds of many moods behind polished glasslike polymer resin glazes she applies while in a protective suit. “I see the paintings as a reflection, related to an inner reflection. The mirror effect creates an incredible contrast,” she says.
Blandino, who ended 15 years as an illustrator to concentrate on fine art and portraying high fashion, was born in Sicily and lived in Germany, then Montreal, where his works sell well. Besides helping his wife move from fashion and graphics to fine art, Blandino has taught at The von Liebig Art Center. He paints colorful masses of voluptuous roses recalling French master François Boucher. “I have painted these large florals for seven years,” he says. “To me, each rose is a personality—cosmic.” He gives his floral paintings contemporary feeling by rendering them in encaustic, a hot-wax technique that exhibits the medium’s surface runs. Blandino creates powerful landscapes whose varying brushwork recalls the past joined with today’s boldness. He also paints luminously haunting portraits. The artists may be reached at their studio, Arteria (593-1337), or through Judith Liegeois Design Inc., 851 Fourth Ave. S., Naples.
Ceramist gail geary, an Ohio University graduate, makes wheel-thrown plates and bowls. She then incises and glazes them with post-cubist abstract designs. Last March, her black, red and white bowl, placed on a circular Eero Saarinen table she painted to harmonize with it, was the first object sold at Have a Seat II auction and raffle benefiting the Patty & Jay Baker Naples Museum of Art. Geary, 60, says, “I like [Polish-Russian Kazimir] Malevich’s minimal canvases. They suit me. I like clay to look like clay. I like the dirt,” she says, laughing. Geary started with raku and now concentrates on stoneware. Her studio is an open-sided, outdoor room with a hard floor. Running three kilns at home, she also puts in one or two days a week at Geary Design. Her husband, Richard Geary, is principal in the more than 30-year-old international interior, architectural and furniture specialty firm. Gail recently became a board member of the United Arts Council of Collier County. Naturally enough, she displays her handsome ceramics at Geary Design, 5353 Jaeger Road, Naples (549-1600).
Holding fine arts and business degrees, Chad Jensen designs his unusual art furniture in the evenings after working as the purchasing and sourcing manager at Thomas Riley Artisans’ Guild, specializing in exclusive architectural treatments including wood carving, 1510 Rail Head Blvd., Naples. Jensen, who spent 12 years as a shop apprentice with wood artists, is proud of his training in millwork and other artisanal crafts that include jewelry-making. Jensen graduated in 2003 from Detroit’s College of Creative Studies. He is well regarded at Riley and is permitted to use the Guild’s extensive facilities to pursue his art furniture on his own time. He also paints flowing abstracts. At 32, the father of two had a one-man show earlier this year at Geary Design, Naples. One of Jensen’s arresting pieces is Marquis Bench, a carefully hand-built form of concave diamonds in cypress. “The title comes from the marquis-cut diamond that began in the time of Louis XIV. With its many facets, it was one of the hardest designs to do,” Jensen says. “I am interested in showing the viewer a completely different experience. I want my work to look different, feel different and be different.” Jensen is represented by the Miami Design District’s Avant Gallery, 3850 N. Miami Ave. (877-99AVANT).
Assemblage artist john Long has had a colorful life that he expresses in his often amusing art. “My imagination is often inspired by cast-off objects I find along the way, also (by) contemporary artists like Joseph Stella,” he says in the Old Naples house he shares with his wife, highly respected Naples architect Andrea Clark Brown. A firefighter in the 1970s and a daily cartoonist for the Chicago Tribune, Long liked to spoof the masters, such as depicting a teenage Pablo Picasso riding a bicycle shaped like the bull in Picasso’s Guernica. At 59 and after many years as an artist, Long still carries a strong sense of joy and fun in his creations. “I don’t see why art can’t be humorous as well as serious,” he says. “Children see what my stuff is all about, and adults enjoy the nuances.” Educated at the College of Creative Studies, Detroit, and Eastern Michigan University, Long was left a widower seven years ago. He left his home in Ann Arbor to visit Naples and its winter climate. It was on the beach here that he met his second wife. Long has lived in Naples two years and assembles and paints at Andrea Clark Brown Architects, 340 Eighth St. S. (263-3898), where his zany, eye-popping creations may be seen.