Monday, January 25, 2021

Where Light Lives


 Where Light Lives 

Ormond Beach III, oil pastel, 2019

Going Deeper II, oil pastel, 2015

Fleeting Fall, oil pastel, 2014

Daffodil Diagonals II, oil pastel, 2010

Angled Ascent, 1997, acrylic

By Tom Wachunas

“Moonlight is sculpture; sunlight is painting.” ― Nathaniel Hawthorne

"O, Sunshine! The most precious gold the be found on earth."  -Roman Payne

"It's the artist's business to create sunshine when the sun falls."  -Romain Rolland

“…But the transcendentalism by which all men live has primarily much the position of the sun in the sky. We are conscious of it as a kind of splendid confusion; it is something both shining and shapeless, at once a blaze and a blur…” – G.K. Chesterton

EXHIBIT: Illuminated Visions: Art by Diane Belfiglio / at the Atrium Gallery of the Birk Center for the Arts at Walsh University, 2020 East Maple Street, North Canton, Ohio /  through March 26, 2021, open to the public Mon-Fri 8 am - 5 pm

Belfiglio website:

   Viewing art during this exhausting, strange season of Covid has necessitated a kind of hunkered down wintering in the World Wide Web. The Cloud. While I’m grateful for the many platforms available for virtual viewing, even the most excellently constructed of art websites are, ironically enough, generally unsatisfying exercises in digital distancing (he said, as you scroll through this post.)

    Interestingly, though, they’ve caused me to cherish all the more those corporeal places, those purposeful physical destinations, designed for seeing art. Galleries and museums, to be precise. Comparatively speaking, encountering art in the Cloud, more often than not, falls short of delivering  potentially enthralling adventures of mindful looking, in real time and real space, at actual art objects.     

   So talk about well-timed gallery exhibits. For any of you longing to commune with tangible beauty, this 28-year retrospective by Diane Belfiglio, with works made between 1992 – 2020, is a potent antidote for the often numbing sensations of passively navigating the Internet.

   Equally adept in acrylic, colored pencil, oil pastel, or more recently watercolor, Belfiglio is a marvelous technician. Here’s how she has articulated the alluring constancy of her aesthetic:

   No matter the subject or medium, my work is firmly grounded in the formalist ideas that have interested me since my beginnings as a professional artist: closely cropped images bathed in the interplay of pattern between sunlight and shadows. Although realistic in presentation, I rely heavily on the underlying abstract qualities of my forms. Shadows, ethereal by nature, take on a rigid structural aspect in my compositions. Colors range from brilliant to subtle in an effort to reproduce the strong sense of sunlight streaming through each piece. My goal is to transform the mundane into the extraordinary, so that we see beauty in images that generally go unnoticed by most of us on a daily basis.”

   Extraordinary indeed. I’ve always seen Belfiglio’s oeuvre as something akin to one hand firmly caressing earthbound materiality, the other channeling through it the warmth and movement of light. Like the dialogue between conductor and orchestra.

   Even at their most formally precise there is in her pictures a mesmerizing harmony of technical acuity and compositional lyricism that imbues them with the rarefied air of visual poetry. Her Ormond Beach oil pastel drawings from 2019, for example, evoke a baptism, an immersion in purifying water, a rising to ineluctable light. Always the light.   

   Thank you, Diane Belfiglio, for filling this purposeful destination with the thoroughly enchanted reality of your sublime visions.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Compassionate Chiaroscuro


Compassionate Chiaroscuro

"Noah" by Heather Bullach

"Sheena" by Heather Bullach

"Daniel" by Heather Bullach

"Kaitlyn" by Theresa Clower

"Joshua" by Theresa Clower

"Devin" by Theresa Clower

By Tom Wachunas


"I love the quality of pencil. It helps me to get to the core of a thing."  - Andrew Wyeth

"Drawing is not what one sees but what one can make others see."   Edgar Degas

"Drawing takes time. A line has time in it." -David Hockney

chiar·oscu·ro | \ kē-ˌär-ə-ˈskyu̇r-ō : pictorial representation in terms of light and shade without regard to color;  the arrangement or treatment of light and dark parts in a pictorial work of art


EXHIBIT: INTO LIGHT - GRAPHITE PORTRAITS OF INDIVIDUALS FROM OHIO WHO HAVE LOST THEIR LIVES DUE TO DRUG ADDICTION /  THROUGH FEBRUARY 12, 2021 /at The Malone Art Gallery (MAG), located inside the east entrance of Malone University’s Johnson Center,  2600 Cleveland Ave, N.W., in Canton, Ohio / Gallery hours are Monday – Friday, 11:00 a.m. to 4 p.m.   Face masks required.  Read more about the exhibit at :

   Here are some excerpts from that web page: “The national nonprofit organization INTO LIGHT… is dedicated to reducing the stigma and shame associated with drug addiction through the power of art…The purpose of the INTO LIGHT project is to honor the lives of those who have died from drug addiction in their entirety, rather than defining these lives only by the disease of addiction and their cause of death…Since INTO LIGHT’S founding, exhibits have been curated in Maryland and North Carolina. Each exhibit has 41 entries, one for each person who dies in the U.S. every five hours from drug overdose according to founder and executive director Theresa Clower. …Canton artist Heather Bullach has contributed to Malone’s exhibit by drawing 21 original graphite portraits of individuals from Ohio who have lost their lives to drug addiction. Clower has drawn the other 20. Additionally, INTO LIGHT created a narrative about each loved one that shows them as remembered by their nominator: in darkness and in light.”

   Considering an order of magnitude in art media, graphite (pencil) drawings can sometimes seem to be relatively minor platitudes in the vast spectrum of the spectacular, like so many banal arrangements of marks in gray. But in this pristine gallery, the 41 drawings are mounted as if in a procession imbued with quiet solemnity and reverence, made even more immediate  when you read the sensitively written narratives accompanying each portrait. It’s all a compelling revelation of lives lived, painfully lost, and lovingly remembered.

   In this context, pencil feels perfect. The wonderfully sharp eyes and facile hands of Theresa Clower and Heather Bullach show it to be a flexible and elegant medium, well suited for rendering aliveness in all its complex existential dualities – both subtle and stark, whispered and shouted, fragile and robust, soft and hard, light and dark. Here then is a marvelous confluence of lines, tones and textures, giving form to the ineluctable  chiaroscuro of the human soul.

Friday, January 8, 2021

True Colors


True Colors 

By Tom Wachunas


   We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union…”  - preamble to the U.S. Constitution

   “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.”   - John Lydgate (originally)


   Recent events in Washington are further unwelcome evidence that the societal toxicity rampant in America is not limited to COVID-19. We are afflicted, infected and conflicted by something far more insidious and tragic than any microscopic virus.

    Diagnosis? I don’t know what to precisely call it. And even if I did, I’m fairly certain that in these contentious times many people could come to bloody blows over whether or not it’s true and accurate, or real and relevant. Under our banner of free speech we  might go wee wee wee all the way home to life, liberty and happiness, or to the start of yet another fight.

   So who exactly are ‘We the People,’ and what are we forming? It’s very complicated, this entity of we, of America. Is it nothing more than an ever-growing gray area of existential smudges and smears, shadows and shades? I’m just… a wee bit blue about it.

   True Colors is the name of my fourth in a series of “flag bags” (which began in 2010) – paintings done on flattened paper grocery bags. It’s all at once a remnant, a resignation, a reaction, a rumination. Or a ruination? An icon of debauched ideals and devastated dreams?

   As I said, it’s complicated. Talk amongst yourselves.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

On A Mission


On A Mission 

Kelly Cocoran

Rachel Hagemeier

Matthew Jaroszewicz

   Please note that all the text following this brief introduction has been copied from the Canton Symphony Orchestra (CSO) website and Facebook page. Consider it an invitation to listen to a series of 6 podcasts (with more to follow), premiering this Friday, January 8, and hosted by Matthew Jaroszewicz (CSO Associate Conductor) and Rachel Hagemeier (CSO Manager of Education and Community Engagement). At this point, I can only add that the scope of this visionary project is one of vital relevance and importance. Stay tuned!!


In just a few short days, Canton Symphony will be premiering a new podcast, Orchestrating Change. This podcast will facilitate conversations that will make the concert hall a more welcoming place for previously ignored communities as well as create more acceptance and diversity on the stage.

In the first episode, Kelly Corcoran leads us in a conversation about the perspectives of audiences and musicians in the field of classical music. She pushes us to see a possible future where tradition is honored and the future is embraced by diverse audiences and musicians. How can the field of orchestral music keep relevance in today's times and how do we engage in music in our everyday lives in a way that will allow us to embrace the future of orchestral music? Tune-in to find out.

Sign-up to receive a notification when the first episode is aired on Friday, January 8th. 

Kelly Corcoran bio: 

Orchestrating change in our community.

Canton Symphony Orchestra knows the need for change within the orchestral community. The tradition of classical music has ignored many communities that have contributed to the development and canon of repertoire played in the concert hall. While Canton Symphony is a regional orchestral, change starts at the smallest level.

With “Orchestrating Change”, the Canton Symphony Orchestra hopes to facilitate conversations that will make the concert hall a more welcoming place for previously ignored communities as well as create more acceptance and diversity on the stage.


*Be a platform for open discussion about diversity and inclusion in the orchestral community.

*Be a platform for Black, Latinx, Asian, female, and LGBTQAI+ musicians, composers and administrators as well as other ignored demographics. 

*Educate our audience to issues surrounding diversity and inclusion and expose our current patrons to more music by Black, Latinx, female, Asian, and LGBTQAI+ musicians and composers. 

*Bring new audience to the orchestra by creating a more welcoming community that is reflective of the demographics in our Canton, Ohio community. 

*Move the CSO forward to programming more diverse music as well as increasing diversity within the organization.