“There are no bad models, only bad artists. The best way for me to describe what happens when the match is just right is like rubbing two stones together — you get a spark! – Zhenya Gershman
What do Anthony Hopkins, Bryan Cranston, Willem Dafoe and select other famous faces have in common? A face worthy of capturing in a crystallized moment of their stellar careers, caught in a mixed media composition that reflects an artistic moment for both the performer and the artist.
This is the criteria for celebrity portraiture and muralist Zhenya Gershman, whose “Larger Than Life” event drew an array of art lovers, celebrities and musicians who were fascinated by her famous (and not so famous) muses and their large and compelling portraits.
Actor Joe Manganiello (Magic Mike XX, True Blood) is often regaled for his famous physique, but his distinct bone structure and intensity in his face was what drew Gershman to paint him in a special portrait meant for his fiancee Sofia Vergara.
“I loved how interesting and expressive [Joe’s] face is and was drawn to paint him up close, to reveal his expression in vivid study and colors,” said Gershman, who was joined by Manganiello at the opening.
“Larger Than Life” Exhibit by Artist Zhenya Gershman, who is known for her expressive paintings, was previously invited to create a special portrait of Bob Dylan, the GRAMMY 2015 MusiCares Person of the Year.
Along with this portrait are Bob Dylan’s eyes painted on a Caballero guitar that helped revive the folk revolution of the 60’s, and was signed by Bob Dylan and all Performing Artists at The Grammy 2015 Gala Tribute Concert (including Grammy winners Beck; Crosby, Stills & Nash; Norah Jones; Tom Jones; Los Lobos; Taj Mahal; John Mellencamp; Alanis Morissette; Willie Nelson; Aaron Neville; Bonnie Raitt; Bruce Springsteen; Susan Tedeschi; Derek Trucks; Eddie Vedder; Jack White; Jackson Browne; John Doe, and Neil Young.
On Thursday, Feb. 12th, at the Building Bridges Gallery inside the Bergamot Station Art Center, Santa Monica, Gershman’s Larger Than Life kicked off in big style with Extra! and ET interviewing stars from the television, film, sports, literary, radio and music worlds. Joe Manganiello (“True Blood,” “Magic Mike XXL”), Josh Duhamel (“Transformers,” “Young and the Restless”), Micky Dolenz (The Monkees), Matt Iseman (“Home & Family,” Hallmark Channel and “American Ninja Warrior,” NBC), Frank DeCaro (“The Frank DeCaro Show,” Comedy Central), Jim Colucci (“CBS Watch”), Tanya Memme (“Home & Family,” Hallmark Channel), Rob Rose (“Stretch,” producer and screenwriter), Tina Malave (“Eye On L.A.,” ABC 7), and many more who enjoyed two 90+ point wines from Hall Napa Valley Winery and Congenial Spirits’ Twelve Five Rye and Aria Portland Dry Gin with specialty themes craft cocktails for the event.
“Larger Than Life” exhibit was replete with over-sized portraits of Jack Nicholson, Mick Jagger, Clint Eastwood, Sting, Bryan Cranston, Willem Dafoe, Bob Dylan, Al Pacino and Robert Duvall, as well as her newer portraits that included Joe Manganiello, Christopher Walken, Mark Snyder and other muses.
Opening reception included two unique “Larger Than Life” crafted cocktails by Congenial Spirits’ Twelve Five Rye and Aria Dry Portland Gin, including Hall Wines of Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon, and an array of fresh appetizers by Dish Catering LA.
Assessing the artist’s work, Peter Frank, art critic for Angeleno Magazine, Huffington Post, and LA Weekly, said, “Gershman’s effort evokes not only Whistler’s and Sargent’s, but that from which they took inspiration, Manet’s and Velazquez’s–masters of the figure who in their own ways avoided the banal literalities of their contemporaries for … the dynamics of human presence.”
As for the food and drink, the guests dined on incredible appetizers created by renowned chef and French Culinary Institute graduate Laura Satterfield, owner and chef of DISH Catering. She honed her skills as the Chef Garde Manger in the kitchen of Citron in the West Village (New York City).
Twelve Five Rye was dressed with Luxardo Cherries which garnished Larger Than Life Manhattans and Aria Portland Dry Gin’s Larger Than Life Vespers were the go-to cocktails of the night: