San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Artists Share Talents in Benefit for the Environment

PAINTOR Solveig Rorstad and wood sculptor Wilson Arcewill hold a reception, exhibition and sale of their work to benefitthe Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.Sunday at the home of Penny Sentamenno in Residencial ElCastillo in Heredia, north of San José.Alfred Stites, organizer of the show and art consultant to U.S.galleries for 40 years, describes Rorstad’s painting style as“extraordinarily abstract and geometricallyfocused.”“I am a traditionalist,” he said, “but I wasquite taken by her art. She introduces anexceptional, almost photographic natural feelingin her work,” which includes depictions offlowers and toads.As his purpose in assisting in the organizationof this event, Stites said, “I think she is avery good artist, that’s why I want to helpintroduce her to Costa Rica.”RORSTAD, Norwegian-born who hasbeen painting for more than 30 years, said theworkshops she started taking over 10 yearsago greatly inspired her to come up with herown style.“Louise Cadillac, a well-known artist fromColorado, was the first one to get me intoabstraction and the use of reduced acrylics,” she said. Rorstadexplained her works in reduced acrylics have around 20 layers ofpaint that she cuts through with alcohol to create shapes that producea stained glass effect.The painter also uses oils and watercolors to paint on boardand paper.At the show, she will exhibit some of her larger acrylicworks, a series of the Costa Rican flora and fauna in watercolor,and some small oils, all framed, ready for hanging, and moderatelypriced in the interest of the environmental Organization forTropical Studies.“I think it’s wonderful,” Rorstad said regarding the donationof profits from the art show to the environmental organization. Inthe past two years, she has donated two paintings to raise fundsfor a wildlife refuge, and a mural to the National Children’sHospital in San José.Rorstad has studied in several art schools and universities inthe United States, including St. Mary’s College in Kansas and afine arts school in Virginia. She has also been a charter memberof the Reston Art League in Virginia, a board member of theEastside Association of Fine Arts of Seattle, Washington, and amember of the Women Painters of Washington, as well as theNorthwest Watercolor Society of Seattle.Her work is part of private and corporate collections inEngland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, Germany and the UnitedStates, where her work has been exhibited in several galleries.She has lived in Canada, the United States and for the pasttwo years, Costa Rica.COSTA Rican wood sculptor Wilson Arce is famous for hiswood bowls, which he sells through Café Britt stores and galleriesand are popular among tourists. Arcecarves his bowls from cocobolo, cristóbal,mahogany, níspero and other tropical woods.Stites explained Arce uses only “abandoned,old, discarded tree roots” for his art.“He polishes the wood with eight differentsandings. Each bowl is one of a kind,”Stites said.Arce also carves abstract sculptures fromthe exotic woods. The art show will be thefirst public event where he exhibits and sellsthem. Previously, Arce sold his sculpturesonly for private commissions.Arce said his father enjoyed the art ofwoodworking, and introduced him to it at ayoung age.“Besides this, I went to Australia when Iwas 23, for sentimental reasons,” he added laughingly, “and thereI discovered the desert roots that inspired me to make thesebowls. Now, of course, I carve them from Costa Rican wood.These bowls were purely my idea, nobody carves them the wayI do,” Arce assured.HE described his sculptures as “very abstract and free. Idon’t like to sculpt animals and human forms, I want people tointerpret my sculptures however they please.”From Stites’ perspective, Arce’s sculptures are “fantasticallygnarled, twisted and turned.”Arce said he likes the idea of donating 10-15% of the profitsof the art show to the Organization for Tropical Studies.“I use wood for my work, and I like the idea of giving somethingback to nature,” said the sculptor.Prices of Rorstad’s and Arce’s artworks at the exhibition willrange between $15 (¢6,700) and $1,800 (¢802,800).For more information and directions to Penny Santomenno’shouse, which she also uses to host an annual dinner for 120 peopleto raise funds for a wildlife refuge in her area, call 269-5765or 269-7227.

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