Steel City hosts new art display in Phoenixville

Photo courtesy of Frank Giammatteo The public is invited to check out the newest quarterly installment of an art exhibit at Steel City Coffeehouse. An artists' reception will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. on Aug. 5.

PHOENIXVILLE — Steel City Coffee House announces the latest installment in its quarterly art display. The exhibit, curated by Frank Giamatteo, includes work by Erin Donnelly, Debra Heschl, Monique Kendikian-Sarkessian, Rebekah Seok, David Ohlerking II, Shayna Parker, Dave Rankin and Konstantin Bokov. The public is invited to view the display during Steel City’s regular business hours and attend the artists’ reception. The display will not be available for viewing during any regularly scheduled performance at Steel City; call Steel City or check website for details. The art exhibition will be held until Oct. 26. A free artists’ reception will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. on Aug. 5.

Among the Artists:

Donnelly is originally from south Florida. She moved up the northeast coast to pursue her love of art. She graduated with a bachelor of fine arts degree from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Focusing on performance art, sculpture and painting, she has been concentrating on the idea of breaking down social and emotional barriers, discovering metaphors in everyday life, and thinking conceptually about the materials and images necessary to create meaningful art. An employee of Steel City Coffee House, Donnelly is co-creator of the Onions and Gumbo childrens’ art program at the coffeehouse.

Heschl is a “Lifestyle, On-Location Photographer” in southeastern Pennsylvania.

Photography has been a passion of Heschl’s for as long as she can remember. She began her career as a professional photographer in 2005. She has photographed individual and family portraits, engagements, newborn babies, pets, weddings, events and fine art portraiture.

“Wherever I am, my desire is to capture that special moment,” said Heschl. “Every image I capture holds a distinguished significance to me.”

Kendikian-Sarkessian earned her bachelor of fine arts degree in painting at Temple University’s Tyler School of art. Since 1984, her work has been shown and honored with awards at numerous exhibitions across the country: in New York, New Jersey, Los Angeles, Boston, Delaware and the Philadelphia area. Most recently she was awarded second place for painting out of 84 painters in the inaugural Plein Air Brandywine Valley Art Competition, 2011 and Honorable Mention for Best Color in Chester County Art Association’s “Water” juried exhibition. Kendikian-Sarkessian and her husband live in the Philadelphia area with their five children, where she maintains a home studio.

“It’s not about me, what I can do. It’s about what God can do through me,” said Kendikian-Sarkessian.

Seok laid hands on her first camera in 2009, chasing after every form of light. Her work in New York City was immediately recognizable through her unique style and especially the lack of both hesitation and fear in the public eye; placing her camera in the busiest places in the city, where passersby were able to see her snap, sometimes her whole camera covering the face. To say the least, she was ruthless, yet the idea of digital computer manipulations troubled her constantly and she eventually halted from shooting, and the diminished light she once acquired stayed in shelter for a short amount of time. Surely this created controversy even today and was questioned by many people to believe that her passion for photography was only a phase, just a fleeting period of captured youth in a young girl’s life.

It was only recent when Seok’s work started to appear once again and her viewers hastily began to question the different style; it was familiar and recognizable, but at the same time dissimilar. Capturing the compositions of landscapes and architectural designs by using the light as a ruler, where the subject and shadows meet in perfect harmony. Surely the relationship between her eye and heart cannot go unnoticed for her photos are now looked upon all over the world, nor will her fervent passion die, inflamed more than ever.

She is still young and residing in New York City where she was born. Besides her editorials, most of her present work consists of self-portraits, her face always hidden.

The curator, Giamatteo, has been in charge of the exhibits at Steel City for about two years.

“I am an artist who not only enjoys creating artwork, but I also enjoy collecting, sharing and exposing others to many different forms of art,” he said. “When I was given the chance to exhibit Steel City Coffeehouse, I felt it was a perfect opportunity to share new and exciting art with the community, Most importantly, to give artists’ the opportunity to showcase their work in an exhibit that does not require you ‘know someone’, involve nepotism or pay a membership fee to gain entry. Both aspiring and professional artist should be given a fair chance to show their work without involving the politics that often comes with exhibiting. Exhibits at Steel City have caught the attention of many viewers, artists, and local establishments eager to get involved and support the art scene.”

Giammatteo, was born in 1980 within the surrounding suburbs of Philadelphia. He graduated from Hussian School of Art in 2003, and has amassed more than 10 years of experience in the Graphic Design industry. In 2008, Giammatteo decided to pursue fine art professionally, since he has always had a lifelong passion for artistic pursuits.

When he was younger, he enrolled in a Commercial Art program where he discovered that he had a fond relationship with Graphic Arts. Originally he wanted to become a professional in the fine arts; however, his direction changed and he continued to study Graphic Design. His diverse skill set has allowed him to apply innovative ideas to his fine art.

In addition to curating exhibits at Steel City, he is working as a freelance designer and is constantly developing future projects.

Giammatteo said he would like to thank Robert Libby, Rebekah Seok, Shayna Parker, Monique Kendikian-Sarkessian, Gary Sarkessian, and Ulla Giammatteo, who were able to assist with the installation of this exhibit. T

“To those who appreciate and support the arts, we hope you enjoy the exhibit,” he said.

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