Feel the warmth in this summer-themed online exhibition of art and writing. View the full collection in the Summer 2022 October issue of ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal.

ArtAscent Gold Artist of the October 2022 call for artists.

Kate Greenway

ArtAscent Gold Artist of the October 2022 call for artists.

The sunflower, the quintessential representation of summer, becomes a symbol of strength at the hands of artist Kate Greenway. Her artworks depict a fragile and ephemeral plant, dependent on sun and heat but capable of acts of resistance and self-determination.

Looking at Kate’s artworks, expertly crafted with mixed media techniques, the mind immediately flies to the iconic sunflowers painted by Vincent Van Gogh. But if this flower represented the search for light in times of darkness for the Dutch master, for the Canadian artist, it acquires contemporary meanings. In Kate’s works, sunflowers are charged with new metaphors: it is the flower that stands for summer vibrancy, but it also fades with the passage to Autumn. But there is more. It is the national symbol of Ukraine, currently ravaged by war, but which, like a sunflower, remains fiercely standing. What at first glance appears to be a classic still life thus becomes a symbol of pride and hope for a nation. Kate’s images are strong works that tell of a contemporary tragedy and fight for democracy.

Moreover, Kate concretely supports the Ukrainian cause with her art. The series is part of the Sunflower Project, an artist initiative that aims to raise funds for humanitarian relief, donating a percentage of proceeds to Ukraine. The attempt to break this loop of suffering and negativity is one of the most important goals of Kate’s creative practice. The artist showcases a variety of media and techniques that reflect the feeling that art could be a tool of true enlightening.

Kate works with watercolours—a medium in which colours are diluted—playing with reflections, transparencies, and layers of hues as delicate as a flower. Her skillful use of glass techniques is delightful. Some of Kate’s works are glass on glass mosaics, where she achieves saturated and crisp images through transparent and opaque pieces of glass.

Watercolours and glass works have one aspect in common: the suggestive use of light. Light passes through the glass and shines on the watercolours, infusing warmth and luminosity. Kate’s artistic technique thus becomes a metaphor for this quest for light. It is no accident that Kate’s work, particularly in its use of glass, is comparable to that of master Marc Chagall. Like Chagall, who, in addition to paintings, made spectacular religiously themed stained-glass windows, Kate also silhouetted synthetic and impressive images that use light and matter to create visions.

Kate Greenway is a Canadian artist who manages to reconcile technical skills and the symbolism of flora, fauna, and landscapes. She completed a Masters and Ph.D. in Arts Education, honing glass techniques, including fused, stained and mosaic. She exhibited across Ontario and recently in a solo exhibition in Toronto. Her mixed media pieces always carry metaphoric weight in their ability to be transparent or opaque, inviting viewers to go beyond the surface.

Kate Greenway is the Gold Artist of the ArtAscent Summer call for artists. To see the full body of work and profile, get a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Summer issue.

Gold Writer of the 2022 ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Summer issue

Joyce Fox

The Summer Warning

I knew something was coming, and I waited. Throughout the Summer of 2019, I waited. I didn’t know what was coming – all I knew for certain was that it wasn’t anything good. That much I knew. When I tell you my roses gave me the message, you will imagine it a strange thing to say. But they did…

How often do human beings search for answers in nature? Sometimes, we see mysterious messages in vegetation, the sky, and animals. Clever writer Joyce Fox transports us into this forest of symbols through powerful poetic images.

The Summer Warning is a piece that reaches the reader on an implicit and subconscious level. Like the symbolism it deals with, it does not speak explicitly. Joyce selects every word to evoke sensations without telling too much. In the summer of 2019, according to the author, her roses were shivering even without a breath of air. Chills ran through them, even though the air was disturbingly still. Through this cinematic image, Joyce conveys the foreboding that something terrible is about to happen after the end of summer. She tells of her fear, her trembling, inspired by what was the 2020 pre-pandemic period: a time in which we were all still oblivious to the soon-to-unfold frightening, collective crisis.

Since ancient times, humans have been investigating nature by trying to predict the future. From the omens brought by snakes and birds, seen as messengers of rebirth or misfortune, to the formation of clouds or the study of trees, nature and its transformations have always revealed underlying messages in popular culture. Joyce instinctively taps into this tradition, using nature as a symbolic, poetic, and unsettling element.

Roses—that Joyce watered, fed, and kept healthy— became as delicate as the human bodies, revealing their fragilities. The text presents metaphors related to breathing and lack of air which bring the reader’s mind to the pandemic’s terrible respiratory effects.

From the stylistic and technical point of view, The Summer Warning astonishes with a great sense of rhythm. The rhythmicity makes the text somewhere between prose and poetic composition. Joyce developed a style in which repetition plays a relevant part. The formal repetition of words and constructs emphasizes the writing, contributing to creating attention and pathos. Joyce’s vocabulary is simple and immediate and fits into the pattern of literature that uses words to portray, not to show off.

The strength of her text lies in the images she creates: as powerful as photographs and metaphorical as lines of poetry. Joyce finds inspiration in authors such as Kent Haruf, the novelist who paints life in small towns of the United States through accurate descriptions. Likewise, her scenes become intimate, silent, and symbolic.

Joyce Fox is an 89-year-old writer who embodies elements of every day in her texts: the velvet petals and palest shades of pink of her roses. Her texts have been read on BBC radio, and she recently had an hourlong two-act musical broadcast on different local radio stations. The stories written by Joyce Fox transfigure reality. They give vent to fears, emotions, and human forebodings.

Joyce Fox is the Gold Writer of the ArtAscent Summer call for writers. To see the full body of work and profile, get a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Summer issue.

ArtAscent Silver Artist of the October 2022 call for artists.

Vasu Tolia

ArtAscent Silver Artist of the October 2022 call for artists.

In summer, the days get longer, and the nights get warmer. Being outdoors lets us appreciate the vitality of nature. Artist Vasu Tolia captures this energy in her works, painting bold and ephemeral natural elements through passionate strokes.

Flowers with vibrant hues, fluttering butterflies, and human figures mingle in Vasu’s paintings. They create a synergy between different elements that need each other to flourish. The beautiful blooms could not happen without the presence of insects, so humans wait for summer to live to its fullest. In Vasu’s works, each element—human, plant, or animal—claims its unique beauty while fully dependent on the others. However, in her works with impressionistic and abstract features, her subjects’ fragility and transient aspects emerge. Vasu’s art conveys her love for nature but also for humanity, inspiring a balanced and non-hierarchical relationship between them. Her works dedicated to flowers and plants, luxuriantly summery, embody the importance of environmental preservation. The fragile monarch butterflies she portrays are not only of rare beauty, but they also invite us to know and protect these animals in peril. Inspired by nature and travel, Vasu pushes viewers to love what surrounds us.

From a stylistic perspective, Vasu is a contemporary artist who draws on reality but abstracts it. Her language veers toward semi-abstract forms, achieved by blurring some of the details and creating art that is subject to the viewer’s sensations. Her representations of nature are vibrant and impressionistic, preferring to evoke rather than represent subjects in a literal way.

Vasu uses various techniques and media: acrylic paints, chalk, fine quality charcoal, oil pastels, sand, and ink. She spreads colour through brushes, palette knives, and even direct application of paint from a tube. The painter often works through layers, scraping between them. She moves skillfully through different art styles and genres.

Vasu’s works bring to mind the paintings of Monet’s late career, in which nature and its iconic water lilies lost their realistic connotations and became increasingly abstract. The painter’s flowers are forwards akin to the iconic ones of the modernist artist Georgia O’Keeffe, characterized by close-up and symbolism.

Vasu Tolia paints humanity and nature, strongly believing in the healing power of art. Originally from India, she migrated to the United States to further a medical career. After retirement, she devoted herself to visual arts carving out a personal niche and honing a singular style. She exhibited in group exhibitions and had three solo shows in the United States. She contributed with her art to projects to raise funds for healthcare, children’s and women’s causes. Impressionistic yet abstract, her artworks tell unique stories in which the ordinary is transformed into something special.

Vasu Tolia is the Silver Artist of the ArtAscent Summer call for artists. To see the full body of work and profile, get a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Summer issue.

www.vasutolia.com

ArtAscent Bronze Artist of the October 2022 call for artists.

Irene Sirko

ArtAscent Bronze Artist of the October 2022 call for artists.

Some antique or Renaissance pieces likely come to mind when thinking about sculpture, and abstract sculpture confronts stereotypes about this art. As Irene Sirko’s works demonstrate, abstract sculpture doesn’t reject lifelikeness but forces viewers to employ a subtler perceptive mechanism.

The central tension born in abstract sculpture is between the absence of references to a particular familiar object and the concreteness and substantiality of the sculptural work itself. Unlike paintings or graphic pieces isolated from our space by a frame, sculpture operates through spatial dimensions and is inevitably co-present with us. Thus, it prompts us to relate its size and haptic qualities to our bodies and grasp its materiality. The latter, emancipated from the burden of an image, is celebrated in abstract sculpture. This possibility of dialogue with the material has attracted Irene in her experiments within this realm.

The sculptor has chosen stone as her primary medium. Being probably, the most traditional, rigid and challenging to treat, it still has some room for improvisation, in which author and material become partners in the creative process. Classical sculpture rarely addresses such a means of expression as colour, while it became the central part of the artist’s vision. Irene rarely comes up with a forethought idea for a final result but instead draws inspiration from the shape and texture of each particular stone. This going-with-the-flow aspect points to one of the artists Irene admires—Barbara Hepworth, an English sculptor famous for her biomorphic abstract compositions. Sirko quotes Hepworth’s words that resonate with her own method: “I rarely draw what I see. I draw what I feel in my body.”

The associations, evoked through touch and sight by volumes, lines and colours of stone, are finally shaped and defined through the sculptures’ titles. The featured pieces hint at some of the small, transient ingredients that compose the rhythms of summertime: sunshine, light breezes, cotton candy, tangerines, and even Kobe beef appetizers on the patio. Stone’s solidity melts through the attentive gaze of the artist, who reveals its potential for lightness and dynamism.

Irene Sirko is a Canadian artist of Ukrainian origin. She received her training from Toronto School of Art, Wilfrid Laurier University, Haliburton School of Arts, and private classes. In 2013, Sirko was elected into the Sculptors Society of Canada and is a member of the Ukrainian Association of Visual Artists of Canada, as well as Artists In Canada and Toronto West Arts Collaborative. Her works have been extensively exhibited throughout the country, included in international private collections and received several awards, like the People’s Choice Award at Artworks Oakville Juried Show and the Show Sculpture Award at the Colour & Form Society Juried Exhibition. The highlights of her career also include Special Recognition and Special Merit awards by Light, Space & Time Art Gallery.

Irene Sirko is the Bronze Artist of the ArtAscent Summer call for artists. To see the full body of work and profile, get a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Summer issue.

www.irenesirko.com

Distinguished Writer of the 2022 ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Summer issue

Karla Linn Merrifield

Diptych: Summer Thirst

1. Web of Downstream Draught

Obeisance to soul-scouring river gods, to the gods
of granite, to piñon, juniper and sage gods–
what will it be this time? Must I say something
dutiful to wind and cloud, to wind-mountain…

Distinguished Writer of the ArtAscent Summer call for entry. To see the full body of work, grab a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Summer issue.

www.karlalinnmerrifield.org

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the October 2022 call for artists.

Alison Galvan

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the October 2022 call for artists.

Distinguished Artist of the ArtAscent Summer call for entry. To see this in print, grab a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Summer issue.

www.theartofalisongalvan.com

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the October 2022 call for artists.

Sue Barrasi

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the October 2022 call for artists.

Distinguished Artist of the ArtAscent Summer call for entry. To see this in print, grab a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Summer issue.

www.suebarrasi.com

Distinguished Writer of the 2022 ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Summer issue

Alex Steiner

Just Desserts

Twas the summer of my life’s desserts—only this time they’d be just. Parenting is a plum job, and just like any other food, I was delighted to tuck right in. As an inexperienced savant, I prided myself on passion’s fruits over any real practice. After all, I was well-stocked in all the don’ts, even if I’d never paid my do’s…

Distinguished Writer of the ArtAscent Summer call for entry. To see the full body of work, grab a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Summer issue.

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the October 2022 call for artists.

Deborah McLachlan

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the October 2022 call for artists.

Distinguished Artist of the ArtAscent Summer call for entry. To see this in print, grab a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Summer issue.

www.deborahmclachlan.com

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the October 2022 call for artists.

Cameron Lings

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the October 2022 call for artists.

Distinguished Artist of the ArtAscent Summer call for entry. To see this in print, grab a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Summer issue.

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the October 2022 call for artists.

Roger Gottlieb

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the October 2022 call for artists.

Distinguished Artist of the ArtAscent Summer call for entry. To see this in print, grab a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Summer issue.

https://www.rogergottlieb.com

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the October 2022 call for artists.

Lidan Zhang

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the October 2022 call for artists.

Distinguished Artist of the ArtAscent Summer call for entry. To see this in print, grab a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Summer issue.

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the October 2022 call for artists.

Santford Overton

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the October 2022 call for artists.

Distinguished Artist of the ArtAscent Summer call for entry. To see the full body of work, grab a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Summer issue.

Distinguished Writer of the 2022 ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Summer issue

Susan Nickerson

Beach Day

”Come on, Suzie! Hurry up!” Mary whined from downstairs. I grabbed my transistor radio off the nightstand, checked the batteries, and rolled it up in my towel. No sense heading to the beach with a dead radio. I wriggled out of my pants and stepped into my bathing suit. I squeezed and willed my bulging body into the boring one piece until I thought it would burst…

Distinguished Writer of the ArtAscent Summer call for entry. To see the full body of work, grab a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Summer issue.

Barb Carr

Distinguished Artist of the ArtAscent Summer call for entry. To see this in print, grab a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Summer issue.

www.barbecarr.com

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the October 2022 call for artists.

Ljubica Simovic

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the October 2022 call for artists.

Distinguished Artist of the ArtAscent Summer call for entry. To see this in print, grab a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Summer issue.

Sarah E. Rieser

Distinguished Artist of the ArtAscent Summer call for entry. To see this in print, grab a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Summer issue.

www.sarah-rieser.tumblr.com

Distinguished Writer of the 2022 ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Summer issue

Theresa Gage

Summer of the Bear

On a muggy, August summer day—the kind of weather that clings to your clothes like the claws of a frightened cat—my family and I escaped to the coolness of the Cascade Mountains. We had been on the road a couple of hours, and the city drifted away. Giant evergreen trees towered over us as we entered the pass. A waterfall tumbled down some rocks and splashed the road…

Distinguished Writer of the ArtAscent Summer call for entry. To see the full body of work, grab a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Summer issue.

www.clawingmywayin.wordpress.com

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the October 2022 call for artists.

Yvette Young

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the October 2022 call for artists.

Distinguished Artist of the ArtAscent Summer call for entry. To see the full body of work, grab a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Summer issue.

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the October 2022 call for artists.

Leanne Trivett S.

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the October 2022 call for artists.

Distinguished Artist of the ArtAscent Summer call for entry. To see the full body of work, grab a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Summer issue.

www.LeanneTrivettSphotography.com