Friday, April 18, 2014

‘Worlds Apart’ exhibit at YoloArts’ Gallery 625

"Driving Home" is an oil on canvas by Juan Cantavella. Courtesy photo

Artists seek inspiration from all places around them when it comes to the creative process.

Artist Juan Cantavella calls himself “an emerging artist.” An architect by education and trade, Cantavella is a self-taught artist. The paintings in “Worlds Apart” offer a juxtaposition of the landscapes and cultures of Venezuela and America — two places he has called home.

The opening reception for “Worlds Apart” will be held from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6, coinciding with Woodland’s downtown First Friday Art Walk. Cantavella is scheduled to be there.

“Although this show has paintings of two completely different cultures, the sunsets are equally colorful and the people equally beautiful,” Cantavella wrote in his artist statement.

Cantavella’s use of color and light in his realistic paintings offer a window into the influence of the great masters in his work, as the rich colors and textures of the oil paint are eye-catching.

“As a self-taught artist, my work is a never-ending learning process and I am motivated by all there is to learn,” Cantavella continued. “This attitude and my admiration of the great masters keeps me motivated…to become a better artist.”

Cantavella was born in France, in 1941 to refugee parents who fled Francisco Franco’s regime. The family subsequently moved to Venezuela where he spent most of his childhood and also where he discovered an interest in art. Once he married and became a father, his professional career as an architect allowed him only fleeting opportunities to explore and develop his love of painting. In 2002 as the Venezuelan economy and political landscapes were deteriorating rapidly, he came to America seeking new opportunities. Cantavella began painting murals in private homes and businesses, and has since built a business that keeps him occupied with his love of painting. A Woodland resident, he splits his time between mural commissions and studio work, painting for himself and clients. This is Cantavella’s first solo exhibition.

Continuing upstairs at Gallery 625 will be the watercolor works of Jim Painter. His work has been described as “finding beauty in tattered lace, bent nails, and memories of what was and what might have been.” This show will feature a selection of paintings, created between 2003 and 2013 by Painter with titles such as “Twisted Wire” and “Bordeau’s Porch.” Painter will be also be attending the reception on Sept. 6.

Downstairs in the atrium from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., Yolo County’s 2013 California Arts Scholars will be honored and recognized for their achievement in being selected and attending the California Summer School for the Arts in Valencia during the summer. These high school students from Davis, Woodland and West Sacramento were selected for the month-long program based on demonstrated talent and creativity in the arts,and teacher recommendations.

“Worlds Apart” and “Watercolor Works” will run through Oct. 1 at Gallery 625, in the Erwin Meier Administration Building, 625 Court St. in Woodland. Regular gallery viewing hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For additional information, call YoloArts at 530-406-4844, or visit the website at

Special to The Enterprise


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