Art Venti -- Pencil-Painting the Depths

Upon entering the Hale Arts Space the other day, I saw over the cozy couch a magnificent painting by Art Venti, a multi-dimensional "pencil-painting" that brought memories of being a kid underwater, floating without hearing, in a patch of kelp, sun rays streaming through the surface above.

One swims similarly gently through the painting finding even more mysteries hidden behind the first ones. Despite this author's interpretations, Venti has titled his work Thoughts Above the Trees.

Using a classical, layered technique adapted to his adept pencil work, Venti builds layers of color and form in one portion of the work, then covers that in an archival, museum-acceptable spray coating. He then works further upon the coating, to build up a series of layers, much like the classical oil painting technique so popular from da Vinci to Rachel Ruysch of the Dutch Golden Age. Venti continues this approach throughout his creation, until he has built up a small world.

The layers Venti applies palpably build up depth, allowing one into a world created at its origin by a "forest of tissues in a light box."

I like to experiment with shadow, light and depth in an environment that starts with a forest of tissues in a light box. The view in this box of translucent paper suggests landscape scenes that seem to move and change as the sun crosses the sky. If the inferred panorama is beguiling enough, the mind will move from the seen to the unseen and finally to what can only be a dream.
Art Venti

Another pencil-painting, Engaged in Metamorphosis, works on several levels. Simultaneously illustrating the artist's preparatory set-ups and revealing a source of gorgeous light that streams over one's right shoulder, uniquely oblique and sublime as to its origin, it invites the viewer into the lower right corner, a sanctuary of fragile flotation.
Engaged in Metamorphosis
Color Pencil on Paper
36" x 36"
Sunset in a Portion of our Lives comes the closest to allowing us out of Venti's world and into another, linking as it does a sea of tissue with the worlds we've been inhabiting while viewing his work.
Sunset in a Portion of Our Lives
Embellished Limited Edition Print of 5
12.25" x 23.75"

Tissues are as humble and fragile as human lives, and living those lives crumples each into a unique form. - Art Venti

Biological Portrait operates with a self-conscious reminder of its origins, offering a seemingly literal view of its constructed forms.

Biological Portrait
Color Pencil on Paper
20" x 26"

Thoughts Above the Trees
can't be illustrated here. That's a good thing. Reproductions lose the depth and complexity of Art Venti's art. All the works in his show must be seen in person.

The show is up until August 7 at Hale Arts Space at 2443 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90405. For information: