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Villanova University Art Gallery Coming in to Bloom with New Collection

Monique Sarkessian’s “Garden of Miracles: Finding the Divine in Everyday Life” features expressive landscapes and still lifes

Villanova University Art Gallery Coming in to Bloom with New Collection

This fall, visitors to the Villanova Art Gallery will be treated to an indoor paradise, alive with vibrant jewel-tones, expressive brush strokes, and lush textures. The Gallery will present “Garden of Miracles: Finding the Divine in Everyday Life,” a collection of recent landscapes and still lifes by Philadelphia-area artist Monique Sarkessian. The exhibit opens Monday, October 17 and continues through November 28. A free public reception to meet the artist will take place on Friday, October 21, from 5 to 7 pm in the Art Gallery located in the Connelly Center on the Villanova campus. Refreshments will be served. Convenient on-campus parking is available.

“Garden of Miracles,” comprised of more than 40 paintings in oil and encaustic wax, will include paintings completed during and inspired by the artist’s recent professional trip to France; several pieces done en plein air at locations throughout the Delaware Valley; and some of her stunning still lifes, featuring blooms and fruits. Sarkessian says her work begins as a response to color, shape and texture.

“There’s not a lot of minute detail because that’s not really my style. I’m more about trying to express an emotion and a feeling and a connection with something, and if I get caught up in tiny details—things that some other artists are really good at—I feel like it becomes less about an emotional response and more about technicality, and that’s not where I want to live,” said Sarkessian. “I want my work to stay very fresh, and if I get caught up in all that extra information it loses its freshness.”

Born and raised in the Philadelphia area, Sarkessian earned her bachelor of fine arts degree in painting at Temple University's Tyler School of Art. In continuing studies she has studied 18th century European furniture painting, art education, and traditional icon painting with a Russian master iconographer. She has also taken workshops with internationally recognized painters Stanley Bielen, Dale O. Roberts, Martin Campos, Jeff Schaller, Jon Redmond, and Moe Brooker. Since 1984, Sarkessian’s work has been shown and honored with awards at numerous exhibitions across the country, including two museums.

Some of her recent awards include second place for painting out of 84 painters in the inaugural Plein Air Brandywine Valley Art Competition, third place in Plein Air Brandywine Valley 2013, as well as awards by Artist's Equity and juried shows at Harcum College, Montgomery County Community College, Main Line Art Center and Chester Country Art Association. Sarkessian’s work can be explored on her website,

The Villanova University Art Gallery is open weekdays from 9 am—11 pm. For extended and weekend hours, and other information, contact the Art Gallery at (610) 519-4612. More information is available on the Gallery's website:

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them. For more, visit