by Linda Chestney
Tuscany. St. Lucia. Compiègne. The Czech Republic. Nice. Jamaica. Sounds like an adventure travelogue, doesn’t it? Instead of “Memories,” perhaps Monique Sakellarios’ current show at the Whistler House Museum should have been called “Worldly Travels,” based on the locations featured in her paintings. And after experiencing her work, you’ll surely feel as if you had traveled right along with her.
Whatever they’re titled, it’s apropos that Sakellarios’ works — aptly labeled impressionistic rather than representational are displayed in the same venue as the distinguished collection of 19th and 20th century New England representational art the Whistler is known for. “Memories” presents a collection of Sakellarios’ works in oil, primarily in her award-winning impressionistic style that vividly captures landscapes, markets and garden scenes. A representation of her new venture into abstract painting is also included. Throughout the collection, her use of red takes the works from lovely to intoxicating.
“I started painting realism and portraits,” Sakellarios said. “You know — tiny brushes with two hairs.” Sakellarios, who studied at the Leonardo Da Vinci Art Institute and the American University, both in Cairo, Egypt, said she eventually had an epiphany: “You’re not having fun here,” she scolded herself.
With 44 pieces in the show, it’s almost a step back in time to Monet’s Giverny. However, although she admires Monet’s work, Sakellarios’ work certainly stands on its own. For instance, “Compiègne” captures the rose garden at the Castle of Compiègne, the château royal residence built for Louis XV and restored by Napoleon. It’s a painting that calms your soul with the imagined scent of roses wafting past and wispy clouds scattered throughout the sky on a summer day.