'Homecoming' art gallery showcases local art

Bright colors and captivating canvases hang around the walls in the Cummings Art Gallery, tempting every eye to take a
closer look.
Tyler Stauffer photoTyler Stauffer photo
The gallery’s exhibition, “Homecoming,” celebrates the work of two local artists, Alberta Cifolelli and Richard Anuszkiewicz.

The gallery opened on Thursday, Oct. 22, with words from Cifolelli. The esteemed artist boasts many accomplishments, including being listed in the Archives of American Art and having works in over 100 publicized collections.

She has provided for Mercyhurst College and community viewers pieces from all different periods of her career, ranging from a sketch completed in her high school art class to her newest canvas.

Cifolelli’s art career began here in Erie, at Erie Tech high school.

The daring artist smiled as she confessed that she was originally destined for Strong Vincent High School, but after taking a summer class with the art teacher from Erie Tech, switched enrollment without her parents’ knowledge or permission.

It was at Erie Tech that Cifolelli met Richard Anuszkiewicz, the other featured artist in “Homecoming.”

Both received National Scholastic Scholarships and chose the Cleveland Institute of Art to further their education.

Cifolelli called her works both metaphorical and autobiographical. “They are a woman’s pictures,” Cifolelli said, looking around at all her pieces around her.
Tyler Stauffer photoTyler Stauffer photo
“When I’m working, I’m interested in the painting,” Cifolelli explained. “The painting tells me what it’s about.”

When discussing her newest work, a very large piece, the artist noted how she liked to work big, claiming that it gives the message clarity.

Her messages, both in painting and through her oral presentation, came loud and clear.

“I really liked how down to earth and humorous she was in describing her own style; it made her so relatable,” junior Becky Whelpley said. “She was inspirational.”

The messages in her paintings have an extraordinary eye-catching quality.

It employed an ingenious contrast between bleary impressionism and bold popping shapes in a bright array of colors.

The gallery itself was full of different media.

Although almost all of Cifolelli’s pieces, with the exception of her high school work, focused on landscape or nature – most notably flowers. She said that all her works are abstractions.

“They all come from my head,” she said.

Anuszkiewicz’s work, on the other side of the gallery, was very geometric, known as “Hard Edge” art.
Tyler Stauffer photoTyler Stauffer photo
The intense colors of his work blending with the remarkable attraction of hers made an unreal gallery experience for all to see.
Tyler Stauffer photoTyler Stauffer photo

There is reason to believe that such magnificent work will continue to be produced as both artists are currently being featured in a documentary about active artists over the age of 70.

As Cifolelli declared, art is an obsessive compulsive disorder she just can’t control, and there is even more to come.