The May art show “Freehand, A Journey in Color and Dust” at ARTWORKS Around Town is featuring the almost all new pastel work of Artworks member artist, Robert (Bob) Sako. Featured in the North Gallery will be the students of Jeff Mamone from Shadyside High School in Shadyside, Ohio. The North Nook will also have new work displayed. All openings at ARTWORKS Around Town at the Centre Market, 2200 Market St, Wheeling on First Fridays are open to the public from 5:30 to 8PM. A buffet of finger foods is always part of each Artworks opening.
Robert Sako is an award winning artist in acrylic, photography, digital imagery, and drawing. His art work has been in a number of either one person shows or group exhibitions at OUE, the Mound Museum and Exhibition space in Moundsville, WV, and in Wheeling at The Wheeling Artisan Center, West Virginia Northern Community College, Oglebay Institute’s Stifel Center, and at ARTWORKS Around Town Gallery.
Sako is an Ohio Valley native from Rayland, Ohio, living and teaching in the Ohio Valley throughout his teaching career. He taught art formally for thirty years both in the Martins Ferry School District for students in grades kindergarten through eighth grade and as an adjunct instructor for West Virginia Northern Community College. He instructed college students in photography, drawing, design, and creative expression at WVNCC. He still tutors students privately at his studio in St. Clairsville.
Bob retired from formal teaching five years ago to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a full-time artist. When the opportunity to travel to Europe to paint with the Journees de Peinture group of European and American artists became possible, Sako needed a lightweight artistic medium for air travel. He decided on pastels. Pastels vary in many ways and grades of quality. Purchasing some better than “student grade” pastels he had used previously, Bob discovered that good quality pastels are much different and produce much more luscious paintings than he ever imagined. Love of a new medium began.
Bob has a past history of producing hard edged acrylics of bright primary colors, photographs which are almost abstract in design, and collages which combine a variety of materials that vary from religious imagery to children’s games combined in painting designs.
But with his pastels he has stuck to nature and natural subjects of organic objects such as fruits and vegetables and landscapes. His landscapes are almost dream-like with soft subtle highlights. There is a school of pastel painting which creates almost identical landscapes. Only the most trained eye can separate the artists by technique and use of color. Bob Sako is NOT one of those artists, he has gone a step further. His landscapes are far from traditional. There is always a “twist” in each painting, the one green apple in the pile of red ones, the red apple in the pile of lemons or the half hidden squash in the leaves. There are hidden roots or animals and streams barely discernible. His shading is almost invisible but lends just the right touch to highlight what needs to be seen and important in each painting.
While painting with pastels under the Blaine Bridge, Bob was approached by a woman walking her dog, who asked after looking at his work, “Did you do that freehand?” thus the name of the show. Whether you are partial to pastel paintings or not, Bob Sako’s new medium deserves a look. He handles his medium with skill and a delicate hand. His work is not of the ordinary variety and yet it is entirely relatable and has that “I’ve been there” quality that the viewer can easily imagine. Bob has always been a master of his chosen mediums, but this time he has not only mastered the medium, he has conquered it.