Abstract Stories | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Abstract Stories

Tony Saladino’s “Blue Pond”

Tony Saladino’s “Blue Pond” Photo by Courtesy Fischer Galleries

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Stacey Johnson creates moody ceramic sculptures that tell stories.

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Tony Saladino’s “Marsh,” one of the paintings on display at Fischer Galleries in March.

When Marcy Nessel talks about the artists exhibiting at Fischer Galleries in March, she positively lights up. If you know Nessel, you know she lights up about a lot of topics. But the work of Tony Saladino and Stacey Johnson, on display next month, seems to particularly invigorate her.

Saladino is an abstract painter working on medium- to large-scale canvases. His works feature interplays of bold hues and muted neutrals. "Tony has roots around here," Nessel says. Saladino grew up in New Orleans and currently lives in Texas, and that southern connection is something Nessel looks for in exhibiting artists at Fischer Galleries.

"Of our exhibiting artists, Tony is (one of the ones) in galleries across the country," Nessel says. "He's a wonderful, well-respected painter."

Saladino's paintings pair well with the quirky, off-kilter shapes of Stacey Johnson's ceramic sculptures. "Stacey works with the (Ohr-O'Keeffe Museum of Art) on the Coast, on top of being a sculptor and a potter," Nessel says. "The two of them together, their works work together beautifully. ... Whether it's two artists who work together or a theme show, we always try to have a cohesive, complementary show."

Nessel can't help but gush about one of Johnson's pieces in particular. "Stacey's stuff is just incredible--they all have stories to them. The best one was 'Skillet,'" she says. "It was a woman, and her bodice was like a cast-iron skillet. The story is (Stacey was with) a real southern 'bubba.' She is a full-time artist, (and) they had no money. She's selling her work, trying to survive.

"She comes home with a new skillet one day. She spent $20 on a skillet that she bought in a resale shop or a garage sale. And he said, 'Where'd you get the skillet?' She said, 'I bought it, it was 20 bucks.' And they broke up over the skillet! Their relationship ended over her spending $20 on the skillet. So she did this piece and she spelled out 'skillet' on the base. Her work just speaks to you."

See Tony Saladino and Stacey Johnson's works at Fischer Galleries (3100 N. State St., 601-366-8833) the month of March. An opening reception is March 7 at 5 p.m.

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