Hamburg artist features ‘Tragic Love' exhibition for February

Submitted photo "Daphne" from the Apollo and Daphne story. Oil on birch 11 x 14.

“My question to anyone, throughout history or myth would be, what love has been perfect or predictable? These stories are merely reflections of what we still experience today and that is why they are relatable and valid,” said Eric Armusik, an artist of Hamburg, about the subject matter of his exhibition in The Empty Space Project gallery in Putnam, CT, titled “Tragic Love.”

The exhibition will feature recent paintings by Armusik that center around the theme of love throughout the ages in mythology, literature and religion.

“When I found out that the month I would be showing my work was February, I immediately proposed the idea of painting themes of love found in Art History,” said Armusik. “These stories do not always turn out well, but they are some of the most memorable and emotional examples of love we know. In a very short time I’ve created eight new paintings that are tied together in this theme of ‘Tragic Love.’”

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Though they are paintings created specifically for this show, the type of work is not that far outside of his normal style of painting. Many of his paintings depict traditional themes in mythology, religion and history often found during the Renaissance and Baroque periods.

When it came to naming the exhibition, Armusik wanted a title that was engaging and that would get a reaction which goes the same for his work. He added that he would rather have someone love or hate his paintings than have no opinion on them at all.

Love is not just a theme that Armusik often uses or conveys in his paintings, but is also an emotion that he is very passionate about as well.

“My passion has always been to paint themes I profoundly feel. I am a deeply emotional person and someone who believes in the power of true love,” he said. “I confess that I am a man madly in love. My wife Rebekah is my soulmate and with that I’ve experienced more about the subject as a husband and a father than I could have ever imagined or hoped for. I am grateful for what I have and I wish it for anyone.”

Armusik’s work has been recognized for his ability to portray emotion and profound drama while still keeping the quality of work one would find from some of the best.

“Looking back at stories like Romeo and Juliet or Orpheus and Eurydice, you understand how profoundly passionate people were about the subject, even if they were stories. A man would go to hell to bring back his true love. These are real and valid ideas and ones that should inspire all of us to bring more passion back into our lives and to those we have relationships with,” he said on why he enjoys painting scenes that deal with love.

As for how he accomplishes portraying emotion and drama, he has a rather simple answer.

“I never stop being a human being first and an artist second,” Armusik explained. “Too many artists today have abandoned the eternal truths of beauty, emotion and love. It is so much easier to be cynical or critical of these truths because it doesn’t involved one’s heart. That isn’t to say it is easy.”

Armusik has had to create portraits for those who have lost someone close to them and as an empathetic person, he can find it difficult to not put himself in the position of those he is doing the portrait for. Though it can be difficult to feel that sorrow, Armusik is grateful that he has been given the talent to make people’s lives better by being able to create that portrait in memory of a loved one.

For a man who is passionate about love and enjoys the emotion in the stories that inspire his paintings as well as in his personal life, some may find it odd that an exhibition celebrating love would have paintings of stories that most would not see as a happy ending. To Armusik, loved should be celebrated no matter the ending.

“Love is a truth that lives on,” he explained. “No matter if someone dies in the process, love lives on and is to be celebrated. If we didn’t believe this we would all see Shakespeare’s work as heartless and inhuman.”

“Tragic Love” is on display in The Empty Space Project gallery in Putnam, CT, for the entire month of February. An opening reception for the exhibit is on Feb. 8 from 5 to 8:30 p.m.

Armusik’s work can be followed on Facebook at www.facebook.com/EricArmusik, Twitter at www.twitter.com/armusik and on his website at www.ericarmusik.com. On sale on the website is Armusik’s book of paintings “Silent Emotion” and coming in February he is releasing another book of his religious paintings title “Invoking Tradition.”

About the Author

Shea Singley

Shea Singley is the editor of The Hamburg Area Item. She grew up in Berks County and spent three years at the University of Arizona, Tucson, where she double majored in Creative Writing and English before transferring to Kutztown University where she majored in Professional Writing. Shea graduated from Kutztown University in 2012 and during that time completed an internship in the publication department of a non-profit organization in Washington, DC. She joined Berks-Mont Newspapers in March of 2013 and had enjoyed getting the chance to explore the Hamburg area and meet the readers. Reach the author at ssingley@berksmontnews.com or follow Shea on Twitter: @hamburgitem.