Oct. 10, 2002 – The imagery of two St. John residents, collage artist Aimee Trayser and photographer Steve Simonsen, is showcased in the exhibition at Alexander's Café that opens Friday with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m.
The theme of the show — "Heaven and Earth" — reflects what is, indeed, a universal thread in the two artists' work: an appreciation of nature and natural beauty and a desire to convey that appreciation in creative ways through their art.
The two artists, working in vastly different mediums, apply their skills and their sensibilities "to interpret their surroundings and create engaging, unique pieces of art," exhibition coordinator Claire Ochoa says.
"This show will be dramatic," Ochoa promises. "Aimee has a real mystical quality to her work, and Steve blows me away with his perspectives."
The public is invited to drop by the Frenchtown restaurant on Friday evening to view the works, meet the artists, enjoy complimentary champagne and appetizers, and register for a door prize gift of art.
Trayser says her collage works are "inspired by nature and the visions or images from my dreams." Employing layer upon layer of exotic and handmade papers "rich with fibers and texture," she creates mystical images expressive of her own passion and joy in the creative process.
Simonsen's camera captures vibrant images and vivid colors of life on land and beneath the surface of the sea. What may at first glance suggest a simplicity of approach to his subject matter upon more careful examination reveals his vast expertise and experience as a photographer.
"Steve is able to capture those moments that we all experience in real life when something you see in the natural world literally takes your breath away," Ochoa says. "Each of these images is a celebration of life itself on this Earth."
Trayser, a co-owner of Bajo el Sol Gallery in Mongoose Junction on St. John, is one of 20 individuals selected to participate in the first-ever juried show of Virgin Islands art, "VIA Colectiva," to be held in San Juan. It will open Nov. 5 at the Museo de las Americas in Old San Juan.
Simonsen and his wife, Janet, own Marine Scenes, a stock photography business. His award-winning images have appeared in numerous magazines including Caribbean Travel & Life (including a recent cover), Latitudes, Islands and Skin Diver. His work also is featured in two recent publications, "The Lonely Planet Guide to Diving and Snorkeling in Puerto Rico" and "The Indigo Guide to the US Virgin Islands."
Both artists have Web sites: To see a sampling of Trayser's collages, visit the Bajo el Sol Gallery site. To view a selection of Simonsen's photography, check out his Steve Simonsen site.
The exhibit will hang through Nov. 7. All of the works are available for purchase.
Those wishing to stay for dinner at Alexander's following Friday's reception are asked to make reservations by calling 774-4349.
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