Art exibit takes new direction

Tony Armendariz’s watercolor,”The Red Broom.”

Editor’s note: Contemporary realist painter and Chicago native Tony Armendariz will feature over 30 original paintings in Fermilab’s Art Gallery from Jan. 26 through March 16. An artist reception will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. today.

Dilapidated but dignified: two words that aptly describe the urban portraits Tony Armendariz paints exclusively in watercolor. His work will be on display in Fermilab’s Art Gallery through March 16.

“The aging man-made structures I depict are often decaying, but my goal is to present them with dignity,” Armendariz writes in his artist statement. “Through a representational style, my intent is that the structures convey a variety of stories told over years of use and abuse.”

While the Fermilab art gallery primarily features science-based artwork, curator Georgia Schwender thought it was time for a change.

“Tony’s paintings have a very human element. Even though he primarily paints buildings, it feels like he is capturing more than the exteriors,” Schwender said.

Schwender chose to feature a solo exhibit of Armendariz’s work because his watercolor technique is terrific and his style is very different from the last exhibit, which was a collection of science-themed quilts.

“We always want diversity in our gallery, and it was just the right time to feature Tony’s work.” Schwender said.

Armendariz’s work is a sober reflection on the end of an era, but it also evokes hope for the beginning of the next. It’s a message that resonates even more today with the recent desistance of Fermilab’s Tevatron and the laboratory’s push forward to the Intensity Frontier.

Although Armendariz paints pensive humanist scenes, he is no stranger to the inherent connection between art and science.

“My cousin has a PhD in particle physics, of all things, so we often talk about the connection between the right and left side of the brain. They address very different things, but both sides always work together,” Armendariz said.

Armendariz will tour Fermilab before his artist reception on Feb. 3.

“There is something about particle physics that is fascinating. It has to do so much with our own being and creation,” Armendariz said. “Fermilab inspires ideas, and if I find a composition full of human presence it might inspire some future work. I really look forward to the tour.”

Sarah Charley