Art Source: Conversations in Canvas and Glass
Shayna Roth Pentecost grew up as the daughter of parents who infused their home with the idea that art could be both a vocation and avocation.
Her father Sam’s career was in education. He was a photographer and painter mostly for his own enjoyment. His own father, Max, had been a metalsmith, who worked in the primitive vein – and while art in its many forms was embraced when Sam was a boy, it was never pushed.
But for Shayna, the muse came on strong when she was a teen and saw a glassblower at work. As she recalls, “The first moment I witnessed it, I was just mesmerized by the grace and beauty of the craft.”
As a senior at Shaker Heights High School, she began taking classes at the Cleveland Institute of Art. By the time she was 19, she knew she had found her calling. She went on to study and work in the glass-arts community around the Penland School of Crafts, not far from Asheville, N.C.
Sam Roth hadn’t found his own professional calling as an artist at such a young age. It wasn’t until he was well into his career as an educator, and started an arts consulting business with his wife, Eileen, that he began truly immersing himself in photography and painting. The painting soon became more than a hobby, and found representation by galleries, including Bonfoey.
Today, many of his large abstract acrylics are held in private and corporate collections. Now, you can find him at work at his Little Italy studio nearly every day, painting, then stretching his canvases with bars, watching and adjusting as different patterns emerge in the process.
Several months ago, Kate Baker, co-owner of the Still Point Gallery at the Murray Hill School House, noticed that there was a connection between Shayna’s and her father’s work. (Sam’s studio is in the same building, and Baker’s gallery carries Shayna’s glass creations.)
Baker saw a thematic – almost mystical – agreement between the two. So she decided this past spring to use a space across the hall from her gallery to feature an exhibit that joined Sam’s abstracts with Shayna’s glass.
“I just kind of knew,” says Baker. “And the people who see it are taken by the idea that it’s a father and daughter. You see the connection – not just the colors, but the movement and passion.”
This was a surprise to Shayna, too. There were many of her father’s paintings that she had never seen, because they were in private collections, and he’d painted them during the years when she lived out of state.
But once many of these pieces were being hung on the walls in the Still Point space, her mind saw exactly which of her own pieces would fit alongside them.
“They flowed together,” says Shayna, who is a member of the artists collaborative, Superior Hot Glass. “Even though we have very different mediums, our expression through color fields is very similar – our work draws your eye and holds it in the same way.”
Sam, too, was struck by the similarity of mood. “If we had tried, we couldn’t have done this,” he says.
Shayna puts it another way. “It is almost like his painting and my glass are having conversations for us.”
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