The Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Loretto's newest exhibition is sure to captivate the imagination.
"Flights of Fantasy: Visions of the Strange and Wonderful" displays a variety of paintings, drawings, prints, photographs and sculptures from the museum's permanent collection. The exhibit will remain on view through June 16.
Though from a variety of eras and styles, each of the 50 works falls under one overarching umbrella. said SAMA Executive Director Gary Moyer.
“St. George,”?an acrylic on canvas by American artist Robin Grass is from 1995. 'St. George,' an acrylic on canvas by American artist Robin Grass, is from 1995. The piece is one of 50 works that are part of the “Flights of Fantasy:?Visions of the Strange and Wonderful”?exhibit at Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Loretto.
"All of the artists combine illusion, fantasy and imagination to create what are surreal compositions," he said.
Two of Moyer's favorite pieces in the exhibition are by Brian Connelly, including "Spectrum" and "Gates of Paradise." Moyer said Connelly is a magic realist artist adept at combining the illusion of fantasy with realism, which is evident in these two-panel paintings rooted in the techniques of the Flemish Old Masters.
Another stand-out artist Moyer mentioned is Carol Wald, whose pieces "Cecilia's Dream" and "A Family Gathering" are in the exhibit.
"She takes historical episodes and literature to develop these surreal compositions," Moyer said. "They're very striking."
There are also several local artists featured in the exhibit, including Altoona photographer Kevin Suckling and folk artist Jory Albright, State College watercolorist Shirley Zampelli-Sturtz Davis and Hastings painter Pegi Houck.
Suckling, 54, whose work has been featured in several solo and group SAMA shows, said he's honored that his photograph is part of such an important collection like that of the museum.
"I know it's really part of SAMA's mission to be a compositor for local and regional American artists," he said.
The photo of Suckling's on display, called "Garden of Dreams," is of what appears to be a sleeping woman's face surrounded by ivy, he said.
"It seems like it's a very surreal piece, but it's really a straight photograph of a surreal object," he said. "It's an homage to Mother Nature."
Many works in the exhibition are making their debut or have not been shown for more than 15 years, said interim curator Bobby Moore. She noted Mark Rowley's "Painting This Painting," hasn't been seen in more than 17 years. The artist's work usually features imagery from the medical field.
"The subject matter is not something you see used in traditional art," Moore said.
There is no adult material, Moore said, making it suitable for families to enjoy this diverse exhibit.
"The works were chosen for this exhibition because they're different," she said. "They're not traditional landscapes or portraits. They're eclectic."
Mirror Staff Writer Beth Ann Downey is at 946-7520.