November 16, 2010      By Terri Martin

The characteristic that renders Silvana Ambar so impressive as a curator is her ability to attract internationally
known artists who are either trained in the finest art academies in the world, or who have demonstrated such
self-taught skill that they are credible to "show" with the pantheon of international artists whose work she has
assembled.

Silvana Gallery is currently showing a group exhibition of traditional paintings and sculpture of great interest
internationally, as well as a small collection of California plein-air paintings.

Broni Likomanov, born in Sofia, Bulgaria, studied at the National Academy of Theatre and Film Art, says,
"Sculpting for me is telling a story where the human body is the main character." This would be second nature
for a man who has worked in the animation industry with icons like Disney and Universal for 20 years.

Silvana displays his bronze titled "The Act" (14"H x 4"W x 4"D), which is emblematic. It suggests a hollowed
figure, mask in hand, in the act of either hiding or unmasking itself. It personifies the classical dramatic
symbolism: happy mask, frowning mask. The viewer is left to conjure the story in progress behind the vacuous
character. The options are endless and well inspired. Likomanov's works are in private collections in the U.S.,
Netherlands, Belgium, Hungary, Canada and Bulgaria.

Armenian-born Samvel Lachikyan received his graduate degree from the Academy of Fine Arts in Yerevan. He
has exhibited in numerous individual and group exhibitions all over the world. He has illustrated books by
classic authors like Charles Dickens, Tolstoy, Mark Twain and Daniel Defoe. He transcends mastery of the
watercolor medium in his work titled "Late October" (18" x 9") with a bird's-eye view landscape that incites
one's senses. He accomplishes a "sfumato" or smoky atmospheric effect, which brings to mind wooded
villages in classic tales.

This location could have been born out of the imagination of any one of the classical authors whose work
Lachikyan has illustrated. In actuality this inspiration came to him outside his own window. The autumn
version of this viewpoint is complemented by an equally stunning version of the same perspective in winter
dress. Lachikyan painted the autumn version the day before a snowstorm, and the snowy alternative the
following morning. Silvana hangs them just opposite each other in the gallery, which causes one to pause
and ponder. The two paintings are beautiful companions.

Fongwei Liu is an extraordinary painter in the traditional figurative genre. He has earned a master of fine arts
degree from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. His works stun the viewer and dominate the
gallery with scale, color and brilliantly trapped subject matter. His oil painting titled "Before the Performance 2"
(30" x 40") depicts a beautiful young dancer, in Middle Eastern-style dress, red pants and bare midriff,
anticipating — in angst, prior to a performance. She is timeless and controls the canvas.

The background is designed to support her with splashes of complementary colors, staging to give sense of
depth, and a structure of sorts, in the left background to give balance and interest to the composition. Fongwei
has a gift for lighting, color and composition.

Silvana has assembled so many fine pieces for this exhibition that I am frustrated not to discuss more of
them. Dali Higa is a brilliant self-taught painter who has developed a very successful confetti impressionism
technique. Jennifer McChristian's orange under paintings ignite her scenes. Many others deserve recognition
as well.
Articles - Glendale News-Press
Traditional art by today's fine international masters
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