February 5, 2017 through April 16, 2017
Brief Bio: Michael Centrella is a self-taught painter who works primarily in oil colors. Formerly on the faculties of the University of Connecticut and Yale Medical Schools, he began to paint about six years ago in preparation for retirement. And now retired, he considers creating art the best “job” he ever had. During this period his work has been shown at several commercial galleries in Connecticut, at the New Britain Museum of American Art, at the Lyme Art Association, and at the New Haven Paint and Clay Club where this year his painting was given the Carl J. Blenner Prize. He is mainly inspired by early to mid 20th century realists, including Fairfield Porter, Edward Hopper, Lucian Freud, Joachin Sorolla, and John Singer Sargent, although his work does not emulate those masters. He paints the full gamut of landscape, cityscape, seascape, still life, and figural images, with a greater focus on the challenge of figures in the last few years. His paintings are now in private collections throughout the USA.
I don’t expect that people will necessarily find many of my paintings commonplace or pretty. Rather, I want the images to present a context that can develop a visual story for the viewer. I am surprised that, in retirement, I don’t have as much time as I would like to paint. Because of this I often try to produce an image in a single session, or at least with minimal adjustment soon after. Even so, I am seldom completely satisfied with a painting right after it is created. But I have finally learned that more is not always better, and to stop when the story appears to be told.
The following comments from George Bellows, I think, well describe some of my thoughts on painting: As he wrote:
"I am always very amused with people who talk about lack of subjects for painting. The great difficulty is that you cannot stop to sort them out enough. Wherever you go they are waiting for you".
“There is a strange disease in people's minds which makes them imagine themselves as arbiters of beauty, and creates a constant and foolish demand that pictures be all 'pretty'. As if Shakespeare had always gone around writing love sonnets."
Finally, as a rule, I try to paint until I can produce something that I would admire if I knew that someone else painted it. That may seem odd, but it’s true.