The Point of Contact Gallery, a distinctive new space for the visual arts located at 914 E. Genesee St., Syracuse, will opens its doors for the first time with a masterful collection of mixed media on canvas by world-renowned Argentine artist Pérez Celis beginning Nov. 16. There will be an opening night reception with the artist Nov. 16 at 6 p.m. Both the exhibit and reception are free and open to the public. The inaugural show runs through Dec. 7. Gallery hours are Thursdays 12-6 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays 1-8 p.m. Special visiting hours may be arranged by appointment.

The Point of Contact Gallery has been established by Dean Carole Brzozowski of Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts and is a component of the increasing art presence throughout the city that is being supported by the University community.

Point of Contact, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the exploration of the verbal and visual arts, is the generator of various literary publications and artistic events that include the Syracuse International Film and Video Festival (SIFVF), international art exhibits, theater events, academic symposiums, poetry readings and cross cultural exchange.

Pérez Celis
Currently based in Miami, Celis’ world is broad, interconnected and full of the forms first glimpsed in the vast landscape of his native Argentina. His avid sense of composition, comprised of intersecting planes and the use of rich materials and robust color, produces a thick physical world of layered and piercing planes. His giant-scale public works are featured worldwide and he exhibits extensively in Latin, South and North America. He recently illustrated Jorge Luis Borges’ translation of Walt Whitman’s epic poem “Leaves of Grass” (“Hojas de hierba”).

In 2001, the former chair of SU’s Board of Trustees, Joseph Lampe, established the Iris L. Pérez Celis Fund, in honor of the artist’s late wife. This support provides scholarship opportunities for minority art students in VPA.

“The Pérez Celis scholarship was a great help to me,” says Paul Valdéz ’04, a 2002 recipient of the scholarship. “But this contribution to my education was more than just financial. Bringing Pérez Celis to Syracuse for two weeks gave me the opportunity to work with a great artist.”

During his stay at SU in 2002, the master painter collaborated with Valdéz and SU students Ted Holland ’03, Andrew Sullivan ’05 and Jill Olm G’04 on a work that is currently exhibited on campus in the Shaffer Art Building’s main office. The experience of that visit is also documented in a 30-minute video produced by Point of Contact’s Pedro Cuperman and VPA professor of film and SIFVF Director Owen Shapiro, “Eyes of Pérez Celis: A Poetics of Color” (Point of Contact Productions, 2003).

In March 2003, as the Syracuse Orangemen shifted into high gear in their race to the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, Celis was inspired to create a unique portrait of men’s Head Basketball Coach Jim Boeheim and star player Carmelo Anthony. Currently on display in the lobby of the Sheraton Syracuse University Hotel and Conference Center, profits from sales of lithographs of this work (available in limited edition through Point of Contact), are being donated to the Jim Boeheim Scholarship fund.

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