In their new exhibition the Peninsula Gallery is pleased to introduce seven artists whose work will stretch the imagination of the viewer. From Abstract to Expressionism each artistic style departs from the conventions of objective realism and seeks to arouse an emotional response.

Abstract art uses the visual language of shape, color, texture, line and form to create a composition that makes little or no attempts to represent reality. Expressionism is art in which the image of reality is distorted to make it an expression of the artist’s inner feelings or ideas.

Sheila Cahill’s work is inspired by energy itself, sometimes of cosmic dimensions. Fluid, starry, planetary energy. Gaseous explosions. Roiling skies, rolling seas; and always color. Formerly a lawyer and now a psychotherapist with a private practice in Washington, DC, Sheila came to painting late in life. She says, “In painting, I have found a bottomless well of delight.”

Patrice Drago is an Annapolis artist. She won her first award at the age of 9, and at 14 she started painting on sheets hung from the ceiling with house paint and huge brushes. Today her work is no less energetic, though it may be a little more sophisticated. “My soul is moved by vibrant color and energetic design. There is always a constant underlying theme of sharp contrast and lightness of spirit” she says. In Susan Frey’s studio, rock, blues or jazz music sets the mood. “Curious images begin to evolve, I twist shapes into playful compositions. Objects are suspended between the real and imagined world,” she says. “While I explore color combinations I give the shapes organizational qualities and balance. Themes may change during this process and often I will have no idea how my final image will look. It’s an enjoyable journey!”

Nina Mickelsen, a native of Finland, grew up with Nordic and Scandinavian design. Bright colors and bold shapes are still the main features of her work. “I seek to convey strength and motion whilst exploring the juxtaposition of controlled shapes,” she says. Her non-traditional silk screening technique allows paint to mix freely over various surfaces. She will also work more in depth with resin epoxy adding other materials in order to create multileveled surfaces.

Clelia Cardano Sheppard is the one artist in this exhibition whose work most closely resembles reality. Yet even her work is more of an interpretation of that reality. Explosive, contemplative and triumphant, her paintings relentlessly explore the themes of time, identity, and connection. She grew up in Umbria surrounded by the Tuscan Hills where one art critic said of her work: “so great is her intensity, one feels able to touch, to taste the color”. She now lives on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

Peter Stolvoort’s works begin with a concept layout in an underpainting. Copious amounts of acrylic paint are directly poured or applied with a custom-cut brush to create layers of color on the canvas. Then, the layers are accented with brush-flung strands, added materials, pallet knife grooves and simple manipulation of the canvas to produce his signature sculptural finish. The energy and movement of this process creates vibrant currents of inter-twined color, almost like grasses moving in the breeze.

‘GW’ Thompson creates abstract images that explore the surrounding world and the juxtapositions of man and nature. His paintings in this show are reflections on the current state of environmentalism. As a viewer you are asked to consider: the world is changing, is it our fault, can we stop it, do we want to stop it, do we even have the choice?