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Steve Gilbert an Artist of Distinction

July 8, 2009 - Emily Dimov-Gottshall

On May 14, 2009, Steve Gilbert was given the Ken Kuhn Memorial Award for Artistic Distinction at the Blair County Arts Festival. I didn't have a chance to attend the ceremony however, I did get to see the show. All the work  there was amazing and unique in style and feeling.

Gilbert's work, Above Juniata and Still Life as well as his many other works, have always brought a sense of quiet and peaceful quality to the viewer. His pieces are usually of a local place in Pennsylvania such as Juniata or Altoona. He paints with a full spectrum of color and there is always a feeling of another world to his paintings; a view that there could be heaven on Earth even in the most dire places. Some say his work has an Impressionistic quality and I would agree...viewing the world with a touch as this, one can see the best and brightest even if there are gray clouds, recessions or sorrow. Another artist who captured life fringed by darkness was Vincent Van Gogh. His paintings often were filled with color, life and internal joy...even though the reality of his life was anything but this.  Fortunately, most artists don't have to suffer as badly as Van Gogh. We can learn from him and create our own realities with our art.

Gilbert was kind enough to answer some questions I had about his work, life and artistic style:

When and how did you first become interested in art? How long have you been painting?

I have always been interested in art, and have been painting since the age of 10. Impressionism, Post-impressionism and Cubism are styles Gilbert creates his paintings with.

What else do you do besides paint?

Aside from trying to making a living (house-painting, drywall, plastering, and some carpentry), my major interests are religion, philosophy, and science… trying to appreciate and understand this amazingly complex, mysterious, cruel, yet beautiful world; all of which plays back into my art.


Why did you decide to create paintings with nature? What do you think your paintings are trying to convey?

My work has taken many directions over the years, yet I have always come back to nature. But I now understand that we don’t see nature as it really is; rather we project an interpretation upon it that is based on our peculiar psychophysical makeup. Because of this understanding, I now know that nature, of which I am also a part, is a sea of mysteries; and the normal way of painting it seems inadequate. I feel myself drawn back to some of my earlier periods, particularly abstraction and cubism, wanting to incorporate certain elements into what I am doing now in order to try to express what I am feeling at present.

Do you have a special painting? No

 What makes that a ________ painting? What is it about your art that makes it different than the other artworks?

I don’t know; I’ll let others decide that. Artists are individuals; their art comes out of who they are. As long as they are not trying to mimic someone else, it is bound to be different.


What makes this kind of painting "good" to you?

“Good” is a value judgment, and as such implies a canon, or rule to measure by. I’d like to thing such a canon exists, but it’s a tough sell. Painting has a number of elements such as design, composition, color, and drawing, which are well understood; but others as well that are not, such as is the major theme supported by any minor themes, is there an over all integration and economy of means? One must juggle many things to pull off a successful painting. It’s easy to fail, hard to succeed, playing safe is not an option.

Why did you choose to create paintings in this style? I didn’t.



If you have a website please share it and tell us where you have recently shown your work.

 I have recently shown work at Albert GalleryMichaels, SAMA, Art4 Gallery , and the Blair County Arts Festival.


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