For years, a Post-It note with a quote scribbled on it from French philosopher Albert Camus’ “Invincible Summer” poem remained stuck to the edge of Anne-Elizabeth Sobieski’s computer screen.
The quote reads: “I realized, through it all, that in the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.” Years later, that quote has become the inspiration for the South Pasadena artist’s upcoming art show dubbed “Invincible Summer.”
“I keep that note to remind me that no matter what is happening around me, there is always the opportunity to dig deep and show up to life in a beautiful way,” Sobieski said.
“The word ‘summer’ brings imagery to my mind that is full of sunshine and joy. Being that 2020 has been loaded with incredible challenges for all of us, this quote seemed to fit the idea of resilience and making an effort to show up in whatever ways we can.”
“Invincible Summer” is on display at Plan:d Gallery in Los Angeles and will run from August 5 to September 5. To adapt to COVID-19, a smaller group of works are available and will be presented online and by appointment only.
Sobieski partnered with Edwina Dedlow, the gallery’s co-owner and curator, whom she met 26 years ago on the Hathaway-Sycamores El Nido campus, a home for abused boys in Pasadena.
“She was the head of volunteer services and I was a volunteer art teacher,” Sobieski said. “I was drawn to Edwina’s dynamic energy and generous approach to life. A fast friendship was formed.”
The idea for the show came up during a discussion between the longtime friends, who were reminiscing over how they met, how they came to be reunited, as well as the pandemic and art.
“I collect art and I have tons of artist friends,” Dedlow said. “Once I sold my business, I decided to open a gallery. Anne-Elizabeth and I talked continuously about doing something together. In these wretched times, we were both trying to have an ‘invincible summer.’ A vision, a place where beauty abounds and where for one short minute, we could escape. These thoughts became this virtual show. Her pieces are available online for sale and I will take one-on-one appointments at the gallery. Everyone will wear masks and hand sanitizer will be available.”
All 12 of Sobieski’s works on display feature oil-on-linen canvas. They depict a variety of subject matter, including floral and botanical scenes, butterflies, and young boys with dogs and horses. Of the two framed paper pieces, one is oil and the other is a charcoal drawing.
“The words in this show speak to the undeniable life force within and around us,” Sobieski said.
“To navigate the darkness and fight the light, to commit to life’s vitality and continue to show up each day that we are given is what I see in these works. They are optimistic and resilient. They offer a vibrant immediacy and psychic presence, are open and sincere in their tone. The surface of the linen is loaded with crystalline colors and rich paint punctuation. There is a gentle tug between image and the formal application of paint for paint’s sake. The drawings are earnest and imperfect, capturing the vulnerability of the unguarded. The floral paintings are lyrical compositions of harmony and action, while the figures breathe with the tender affection of the viewer. These pieces remind me of what artist Philip Guston once said about painting: “It’s a long, long preparation for a few moments of innocence.”
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