Arts for ACT Gallery in the downtown Fort Myers River District has something special in store for its first art exhibition of 2013.On Friday, January 4, the gallery will host a reception from 6 to 10 p.m. that welcomes Peter Stilton and Richard Bush to the gallery and bids a fond farewell to contemporary artist Christina Jarmolinski.
Jarmolinski is a versatile artist who vacillates between abstract expressionism and colorful naïve artworks that depict fantasies, dreams, memories and simple scenes culled from daily life. While her work defies strict categorization, Christina readily acknowledges that her art is not mainstream. In her ongoing quest to push her artistic boundaries, she continually experiments with media, motifs and genre. Intrigued by found objects, torn papers, newspapers, gold plate and more, Jarmolinski is especially fond of collage and assemblage art. Still, her forte remains figurative painting, which appears in abstracted form in her collages and assemblages.
Like most accomplished artists, Christina got an early start. Both of her parents were extremely creative, and they passed along their love of art and classical music to their daughter. After high school, Christina took off for Europe, where she studied art at Oskar Kokoschka’s School of Seeing in Salzburg, Austria and took classes in abstract painting at the university in Trier, Germany. Not only did she get to interact with artists from around the world, she traveled extensively throughout Germany, Austria, Italy, and Holland.
“I made it a point to live in each place for a minimum of six months so that I could soak up the culture and really get to know the people,” she says.
She pursued this strategy when she visited India, and you can definitely see the influence of Indian culture in her figurative work. “I was mostly attracted to the intensive colors of Indian daily life,” Christina explains. “After living in India, my palette found more colorful hues.”
There’s also a touch of another early influence in her color schemes, that of Wassily Kandinsky. Although Kandinsky is more commonly associated with non-representational works, he did advance the idea of color music, a communion or harmony between the mind of the artist and that of the viewer stimulated by the psychological impact wrought by pure colors. Both Kandinsky’s color chords and Indian color schemes exert a pervasive influence in all of Jarmolinski’s work, including her sculpture, ceramics, murals and the art jewelry she designs.
Since returning to Southwest Florida in 2008, Jarmolinski has not only touched area art enthusiasts and collectors through her art, she and husband Rob de Koter have been involved in the local art scene as gallery owners. After partnering with Bonnie Beers in Matlacha (Bonnie’s & Christina’s Art Gallery), she and Rob reprised Syzygy Gallery, which they moved to the River District in 2011. Throughout this time, Christina has not only exhibited in solo and group shows, she and husband Rob supported numerous philanthropic causes throughout Southwest Florida, from breast cancer to domestic violence.
But sadly, Jarmolinsky’s exhibition at Arts for ACT in January will be her final show in Southwest Florida as she and de Koter are relocating to Maryland.
Arts for ACT Gallery is located at 2265 First Street in downtown Fort Myers. For more information, please telephone 239-337-5050 or visit www.artsforactgallery.com.