Up & Coming Weekly

September 21, 2021

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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10 UCW SEPTEMBER 22-28, 2021 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM FSU's Rosenthal Gallery invites public to Vilas Tonape exhibit by SONI MARTIN For anyone who sees the pastel drawings in this article, it's obvious Vilas Tonape is an extraordinary artist in our community. A nationally and in- ternationally known artist, Tonape is known for his masterful portraiture, still lifes, and non-representational paintings. Celebrated in his mother country of India since 1993, Tonape has returned to India each summer to teach workshops. is article will not only explore the strengths of Tonape's works, but the end of the article will share information on how the public can attend an hour-and-a-half online portrait demonstration by Tonape in October, at no cost. Before the portrait demonstration, visitors to Rosenthal Gallery, on the campus of Fayetteville State University, will have the opportunity to see more than 25 works by Tonape in his one-person exhibit titled Ways of Knowing: Works by Vilas Tonape. e opening reception for Ways of Know- ing is Sept. 23 from 6-8 p.m. If attending the public reception is not possi- ble, visitors to the Rosenthal Gallery will be able to see the exhibit through Oct. 23. Tonape earned a B.F.A. in Painting at Sir JJ School of Art at the University of Bombay in Mumbai, India, and an M.F.A. in Painting at Texas Christian University at Fort Worth, Texas. Employed since 2015 at Methodist Univer- sity in the Department of Art, other art related teaching positions include, but are not limited to, the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savan- nah, Georgia., and a visiting artist at Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida. Tonape's exhibition record is extensive, his work is in many private and corporate collections, and he has received many honors and awards. In 2018, he was given the Lifetime Achievement Award, First Friday Forum, Government Museum and Art Gallery in Ghandigarh, India. Most recently, he was interviewed and published in a 6-page article ti- tled "Celestial Color" by John A. Parks, Fall, 2021, Pastel Journal Magazine. Another highlight in Tonape's career is when he received a call from President George W. Bush's manager in 2018. Bush had seen one or more of Tonape's 11 YouTube instructional videos and was enthralled with his process — a private teaching session was eventually scheduled between Bush and Tonape. Looking at Tonape's images can cause different reactions. Many will admire his skill and the beauty of his images. Tonape masterfully under- stands how to recreate the representational around him in pastels, water- color and painting. One argument against realism is why an artist in the 21st century would choose to replicate reality when a camera is sufficient. What is the rel- evance and relatability of realistic art in the digital age? A second argument is that artists learn how to control materials and work from observation; then the artist will leave the realism nest and move in a stylized direction. Among the diversity of styles, I argue that realism is still relevant in the 21st century. Tonape's realism convinces us that what we are seeing is how it looks — yet he actually creates a type of hyperreality. One of his great- est gifts is being able to broaden our ways of knowing by recognizing the transcendent qualities of a still life or a portrait. One of Tonape's earliest works presented in the exhibition is "Moments of Gloria" from 2002. e 22" x 17" gouache on paper was created after Tonape graduated with an M.F.A. in 1996, and the year before he was employed as a visiting artist at the Ringling College of Art and Design. In this work, he allows the sitter's essence to emerge from observation while mixing realism with abstraction. "Couple II" by Vilas Tonape EVENT "Witnessing" by Vilas Tonape)

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