Asencio’s "Allegro"

“It’s about the essence,” explained Henry Asencio of his newly unveiled production entitled “Mistral”. Indeed, the painting captures the ephemeral quality of a fleeting moment in time, as the guests at his show, “Allegro”, witnessed firsthand.

The night of August twenty-seventh at Fashion Valley’s Exclusive Collections Gallery featured the performing talents of painter Henry Asencio with flamenco guitarist David Maldonado. Widely known for his contemporary figures, the guests meandered through the gallery to enjoy his works on display and meet the artist in person. The festivities spilled outside into the warm summer evening for the live event, and in three captivating fifteen-minute intervals, Asencio brought a new work of art into the world.

Henry Asencio

The artist’s brushstrokes rose and fell with the rhythmic dexterity of a flamenco dancer. I could not help but imagine myself in his place: staring at a blank canvas in the middle of an expectant crowd, hoping to pull a white rabbit out of a black top hat, or at least that artistic equivalent. Surely, so many people are only a distraction to creating fine art.

However, as time went on and the form of a beautiful girl began to materialize next to its living counterpart, I began to sense a connection between the artist and his enraptured audience. Henry Asencio drew encouragement from his onlookers and thrived on their hushed murmurs. We all felt invested in his work, and took the moment to heart. I had a poignant realization that this painting was a direct product of not only the model, but all of its surroundings. A collective gasp from the surrounding onlookers confirmed my feeling as an unruly gust of summer wind attempted to send the canvas to the floor and add its own touch to the newly finished painting. Luckily, the gallery co-owner, Ruth-Ann Thorn, leaped upon the stage to intervene.

Henry Asencio

Interludes between these performing sessions found Asencio deep in conversation with his guests. He would stand next to a piece, paint still smudged on his hands, and point out the greater intricacies of his work. He invited everyone to stand as close as possible, to really examine their details. I listened as he pointed to the background of a painting, comparing the color to that of a plum; not just the purplish mauve of a plum, but its covering of dust that must be wiped off, the shiny skin underneath, and that juicy first bite. He stepped back and said, “And so I was inspired by a plum,” then he laughed as he focused on the figure in the foreground, “and a woman.”

Henry Asencio

Henry Asencio’s show that night made me reexamine my relationship to art. It reminded me that fine art does not begin as an antique, its artist honored in posthumous fame. For those who proudly walked away with a new painting from the “Allegro” show also walked away with a story, a memory of their night, and a personal relationship with the artist. Asencio’s paintings capture the dynamic, fleeting quality of time. In this way, he reminds us that we must actively capture our own moments, and take pleasure in the present. Feeling truly privileged to have witnesses the creation of a painting in front of my very eyes, I can say that I have done just that.

~ by Exclusive Collections Galleries on September 9, 2010.

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