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Russell Collection Fine Art Gallery Gets Dressed Up for
“Beyond Beauty: More Than Meets the Eye” Exhibit September 2-27, 2014
Artists Ash Almonte and John Petrey Share Personal Tales through Dressmaking and Painting

Color will bathe the West 6th Street art gallery when Ash Almonte and John Petrey display their latest works including sculptural dresses, stunning chandelier paintings and cheery odes to fruit which are all inspired by individual experiences the two artists had during their childhoods. Their work will be on display and available for purchase in an exhibit titled “Beyond Beauty: More Than Meets the Eye” September 2-27, 2014 with an artists’ reception on Saturday, September 6 from 6-9 pm.

“I am intrigued and inspired by the stories behind the art of these two artists particularly. Their childhood yielded very strong visual snapshots that now they are drawn to create on canvas and in three dimensions. It always makes me question what my children will remember when they are grown and speaks to the power of visual imagery when we are young,” Russell says of the exhibit.

Austin based Ash Almonte grew up in Abilene, Texas. She uses symbols to tell her story; her work expresses her own personal passions, energy, thoughts, ideas and stories about overcoming odds throughout her young life. From a young age, she had the urge to create, oftentimes using bushel baskets from her father’s fruit stand to paint on. She considers her work food for the soul, infused with love. In addition to displaying her Chandelier series and a few figurative pieces, the artist’s Recovery Series of paintings will be exhibited and draws on experiences as a child selling fruit roadside and highlights her most vulnerable and guarded times. Intent on helping others, this summer Almonte will launch a non-profit organization called Hopefully Sow dedicated to helping foster children find focus and joy through art classes, field trips and a welcome gift when they arrive at the foster home – giving them a glimmer of hope in an otherwise difficult and oftentimes painful situation. Almonte will paint live at the artist reception on September 6 and sell the painting with all proceeds going to her new charity. Five percent of all Almonte and Petrey items sold September 6 will be donated to Hopefully Sow.

Tennessee artist John Petrey has been creating art that stirs emotions since 1981 but that draws upon his experiences growing up as an only child in Southern California. His sculptural pieces are time intensive works of art and his dress series is inspired by watching hours of television in his mom’s beauty salon as a child, where his mind was exposed to an idealistic view of the world in shows like Ozzie and Harriet, Father Knows Best, Leave it to Beaver and I Love Lucy. Varying in size and scale from 27 inches to 6 and 7 feet tall, the dresses are constructed of things such as bottle caps, poker chips, brightly colored plastic utensils, old metal gas station signs, twigs, yardsticks, aluminum flashing and more. His work has evolved to encompass medieval dressing to ultra contemporary and also plays with the "lure" that women cast with fashion, but with materials that resemble armor. You can almost hear Petrey’s sculpture whisper: " Come close... Stay away".

WHEN: An Artists’ Reception with Almonte and Petrey will take place on Saturday, September 6, from 6-9 p.m. The event is open to the public and an RSVP is requested. Art will be available for acquisition and 5% of the sales that day will be donated to Almonte’s new non-profit, Hopefully Sow. The exhibit will be on display through September 27, 2014. 512-478-4440.




October 17-26 at the Russell Collection Fine Art Gallery in Austin, Texas
Collaboration with Noted Fashion Photographer of the 1950’s, Milton Greene Infuses A Dose of Glamour to an Impressive Trove of Collectible Max Art

Austin, Texas (July, 2014) – An encounter with Marilyn Monroe in the 1950’s has sparked a new series by iconic pop artist, Peter Max, who is bringing the colorful arrangement to the Russell Collection Fine Art Gallery in Austin, Texas October 17-26. The artist met Monroe when he was 27-years old at the Arts Students League of New York and Monroe commented on how colorful his pants were. (not because of the fabric, but because of the paint marks on them.) Max has always been intrigued with her beauty and worked with the family of Milton Greene – one of the most famous high fashion photographers of the 1950’s – to secure a collection of photography from which to paint. Every Peter Max work of art sold will be personally dedicated by the artist, and each of the Marilyn Monroe pieces are signed by Milton Greene’s estate, along with the family seal on the back.

Peter Max will be making two very special appearances at on Saturday, October 25 from 6-9pm and Sunday, October 26 from 1-4 pm.

In addition to the Monroe homage, his Masters series will also be on display and available for purchase and includes interpretive works of Vincent Van Gogh, Monet, Pablo Picasso, Renoir, and Edgar Degas, conceived in Max’s signature style and colors. These works speak to both a maturation of the Artists’ illustrious career, as well as to his formidable training at the 130 year old Art Students League of New York. This exhibit also features his iconic and best-known pieces such as “Statue of Liberty”, Max’s famous “Flag” pieces, “Umbrella Man” and the prestigious 10 Cent Stamp bearing the title “Preserve the Environment”.
With paintings on exhibition in hundreds of museums and galleries worldwide, Peter Max and his vibrant colors have become part of the fabric of contemporary culture. Max has been successively called a Pop Icon, Neo Fauvist, Abstract Expressionist and the United States "Painter Laureate." The artist has had the distinct honor of painting the last seven Presidents of the United States and the world's best-loved celebrities, among them the young sensation Taylor Swift.

Recently, Norwegian Cruise Line commissioned Peter Max to paint the hull artwork for one of its ships – a first for the award-winning cruise line. Launched in April 2013, Norwegian Breakaway is the largest ship to homeport in New York City year-round. Max’s signature artwork covers approximately 40,000 square feet of Norwegian Breakaway’s hull.

Artwork will be on exhibition and available for acquisition. 
All appearances are open to the public and are complimentary.