The Anita S. Wooten Gallery at Valencia College will display a collection of portraits by renowned Central Florida artist Trent Tomengo, Sept. 5 through Oct. 4.
Tomengo, a Seminole State College professor of humanities, began his life’s work as an artist after graduating high school in 1985 and enlisting in the U.S. Army. A graduate of Stetson University and Florida State University, Tomengo has already had a distinguished career spanning nearly four decades. In recent years he has served as a juror and co-chair for the Walt Disney World’s Festival of the Masters arts event and has served as a judge of multiple events, including the Apopka Art Festival.
In 2006, he was also selected from an international pool of applicants to participate in the esteemed Atlantic Center for the Arts Residency Program, sharing a scholarship with American master painter Robert Colescott.
Tomengo’s collection on display this fall will center on powerful portraits of individuals described by gallery director Camilo Velasquez as “invisible workers highlighted to a sainthood status” through gothic stained-glass stylized paintings. Tomengo also places a local emphasis on his collection, portraying historical Maitland movers and shakers from the community.
“Tomengo has been lovingly creating portraits for as long as I can remember – some have been of regional historical figures, others of loved ones, and still some as homages to humble laborers … knowing that portraiture—like biography—allows us to explore and comment on the lives of others,” Velasquez said. “His blatant disregard for conventional methods of expression and representation with regard to the subjects he has chosen has changed our understanding of portraiture.”
The celebration of Tomengo’s work at Valencia College begins with an opening reception in the gallery on Sept. 5 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public and will feature a performance by a live jazz trio with a vocalist from 5 p.m. until 6 p.m. Tomengo will host an artist talkback and Q&A session for the audience beginning at 6:30 p.m.
The gallery is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and is located on Valencia College’s East Campus in Building 3, 701 N. Econlockhatchee Trail, Orlando. For more information, visit www.valenciacollege.edu/arts or call 407-582-2268.