October in the Gallery - Gus Sermas

On Sunday, October 1, this month’s art exhibit went up in the lower gallery. Gus Sermas, the featured artist, has exhibited all around the country, yet his home and studio are right around the corner in Centerville
    In 1963 Sermas began teaching at the University of Delaware but is currently a member of the Art department at West Chester University.
    With only a few exceptions, all the work in the gallery was painted or finished within the last few months. This doesn’t mean that Sermas works quickly. The subject and composition for each circular panel hanging, was planned for over two years before any paint actually touched the board.
     Sermas is "not a frame man.” None of his large canvas pieces is framed. "A frame kills it,” he said; "a frame should be a shape rather than an object.” He has taken care to paint on each wood circle so the molding is not too much like a frame. Even inside the painting, the subject is more important than the frame. “I love outlines,” he said, but he never lays the outline in before the color. Color makes the shape, not visa versa.
     This attention to color as well as a focus on mood are common themes through Sermas’ work. Each painting is an “emotional response to color” as well as a “dialogue with the paint.” While color sets the mood, wide brush strokes create motion. Afterwards, his paintings often remind him of his experiences. They end up being "romanticized, emotional, approaches to a memory."
     Along with his paintings, Sermas has displayed various mono-prints, lithographs, and mixed media works. He created these pieces after working with Philadelphia area artists Ron Wyffles (lithographer) and Tony Rosati (mono-print maker) in 2005.
     The subject matter of the work in this exhibit is focused on Southern Greece and Greek mythology. The circular work in front of the coatroom is representational of a small chapel where Sermas’ parents were married. Whatever piece you look at, don’t step too far. Sermas’ art is meant to suggest a mood. There is usually no focal point. "The paintings are supposed to be seen from about 7-8 feet away."
     After just a few days the reaction to this exhibit has been very positive. "Very colorful” and "truly abstract" are just some of the comments people have made. Mr. Martz believes that it is the closest the school has come to a true New York exhibit. Even if you disagree, these paintings are definitely worth going to see because in a month they will be gone!
--Sheila Vaidya - Class of 2007