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Uncovering Buried Treasure

The Art of Sylvia Hommert

Sylvia Hommert’s art is not only visually pleasing but visceral. One can enjoy the aesthetic qualities and appreciate the creative craftsmanship, but the vibrant energy first strikes the viewer. “Light and the reflection of light, how it interacts in an environment, is a constant thread that flows through my work,” explains Hommert. “My technique has evolved to capture light’s liquid and fluid nature. I am drawn to materials that enhance and illuminate: pearly paua shell, metal leaf, holographic paper, crystalline mineral salts, beeswax, and resin. I create depth and texture by building up layers of materials from opaque to translucent to transparent, then using a flame to burn away portions. Exposing elements underneath hold a hint of mystery akin to uncovering buried treasure. Introducing dimension as a factor, I can express not only surface texture and depth but also different perspectives; the highs and lows offer yet another way to play with and capture light.”

Sylvia Hommert Photo: Lindsay Morris

With a stunning new home and studio in Sag Harbor to display and create her art, Hommert is on a high. Energized for her next chapter, she exudes the same inviting glow as her paintings. Art, however, is not just for the walls but incorporated into each aspect of her life. “I’m a visual artist,” she explains, “I love setting the table or wrapping gifts or getting dressed or dressing others.” This is no surprise as she began her career in fashion as a successful designer and then creative director for brands like Donna Karan, traveling the world. “I loved making textiles, and that translated into my artwork.”

The chance to set down roots and have a studio in her loft when she was starting a family blossomed quickly into a growing art career where galleries embraced her right off the bat in 2000 with solo shows. Her work is now represented everywhere, from California to New Jersey and Uruguay to London, and some buyers even find her on Instagram.

Yet the East End has been home, and Hommert has embraced the art community. Sylvia is a Community Fellow at the Watermill Center, bringing the community to the artists and the artists into the community. You may find her dancing along with a performing arts group in residence at The Church, singing with a band at The Stephen Talkhouse in the Battle of the Fantasy Girl Bands, or participating in a shamanic healing ritual with her fellow artists who recently were at a group exhibit at the Kathryn Markel gallery in Bridgehampton curated by Heidi Lee-Komaromi. Or she may serve friends the most stylish and welcoming afternoon tea. And speaking of tea, she will display her artwork paired with unique furniture pieces imported from Heritage Brazil at the Plain-T company in Southampton.

With the chance to design and build her studio, she is in the ultimate Virginia Woolf room of one’s own moment. A specially ventilated space allows her to work with large trays of wax and resins, dressed in a respirator with protective clothing. “It’s not like I am doing watercolors,” she laughs. But the journey is as important as the destination, “It’s like therapy. All the carving is hand done, hours of stroke after stroke, and I find it very calming.”

And like the sunrise-to-sunset trajectory, she always captures the light.