• Katherine Stanek

Harry Sefarbi

Harry Sefarbi’s work is marked by experimentation and an interesting perspective on commonplace subject matter. Everyday events reflective of the time such as ironing, dinner parties or simply looking out a window are central themes in his work. His unique approach to using color, pattern and perspective reminiscent of Egyptian relief, adds importance to his subjects.

In "Dinner Party”, the viewer has the pleasure of experiencing the scene as if perched on top of a chandelier hanging over the table and looking down to the diners, who appear to be almost lying down to engage the visitor from above.

“Women Ironing” is compositionally dominated by the cream colored ironing table. Even the figures themselves are placed behind it with their facial features softened, which shifts the focus of the painting to the actual act that is taking place.

In more conceptual pieces such as “Abstract Figures” the layers of brushstrokes and colors create an intricate pattern that allows for various interpretations and leads the viewer to decipher the figures and form their own story. While some images are more recognizable than others, the continuity in his work is the use of abstraction to navigate the viewer though the image in engaging and often fun ways.

Sefarbi's artistic sensibilities extend beyond the canvas as all his paintings have specialty frames that he embellished with the very paint and color used in the painting itself.

William Perthes, Director of Education at Violette de Mazia Foundation, wrote an essay about Sefarbi entitled “Artist and Teacher” in which he stated:

“Harry Sefarbi’s artwork is at once familiar and unexpected, presenting even the perceptive viewer with both challenges and surprises. Early on he understood that color was the foundation of good painting and the body of his work is an exploration of color’s expressive possibilities. No painter could set a higher goal for himself. Along the way he developed a highly personal plastic form and established a stable of unique subjects on which he would work for the rest of his life.”

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