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'The unseen': World-traveling art exhibit will make stop in York City

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch

A renowned traveling art exhibit featuring abstract and contemporary works will make its way to St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church in York City.

Swedish-based abstract expressionist artist Ludmila Pawlowska will have over 100 original pieces on display from Aug. 21 through Oct. 30.

Plans to bring the exhibit to York first sparked in 2019 after Pawlowska's works toured in Harrisburg.

Swedish-based abstract expressionist artist Ludmila Pawlowska will have over 100 original pieces on display from Aug. 21 through Oct. 30. The free exhibit will be open from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday, located at 140 N. Beaver St. Photo courtesy of Felicia Marino.

Seeking new places to bring her art, St. John in York County was suggested — given its historic presence as the perfect backdrop, according to Susan Ariail and Felicia Marino, co-chairs of the event.

COVID-19, however, squashed chances for the exhibit to launch in both 2020 and 2021. 

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"We are feeling so privileged that we've been allowed to do this," Ariail said. "Excitement is probably not a strong enough word for how we feel about this coming."

The exhibit “Icons in Transformation," which has traveled from Seattle to Chattanooga, features religious works depicting metaphors for faith.

Swedish-based abstract expressionist artist Ludmila Pawlowska will have over 100 original pieces on display from Aug. 21 through Oct. 30. The free exhibit will be open from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday, located at 140 N. Beaver St. Photo courtesy of Felicia Marino.

While Pawlowska's works are visually abstract, their topic is quite clear: the individual faith we all possess.

As Marino said, the artist's "greatest challenge is to portray the unseen — what [she] calls the divine light."

Pawlowska, who was born in former Soviet republic Kazakhstan, chose to be baptized into the Russian Orthodox Church when she was 18 — an illegal act at the time.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, she moved to Sweden and focused on developing her art style. 

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The exhibit features artwork that Pawlowska created over the course of a decade. She began her series after the death of her mother — which Pawlowska found helped her cope and grieve the loss.

"Whether you're a religious, spiritual or not any of the above person, it can be an experience for you," Marino said. "It doesn't have to be a religious experience. You don't have to even believe in God."

Each piece of artwork is available for purchase at the free exhibit.

Swedish-based abstract expressionist artist Ludmila Pawlowska will have over 100 original pieces on display from Aug. 21 through Oct. 30. The free exhibit will be open from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday, located at 140 N. Beaver St. Photo courtesy of Felicia Marino.

Prices will range from $800 to $20,000 — with 30% of sale proceeds going toward St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church.

Further, another percentage of sales will go toward humanitarian efforts for Pawlowska's family in Ukraine, Marino said. 

"Some of the Episcopal Churches where (the exhibit) has been are very modern and more contemporary than ours," Ariail said.  "But (St. John's) will give it a whole different meaning."

The free exhibit will be open from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday, located at 140 N. Beaver St.

— Reach Tina Locurto at tlocurto@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.