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Out & About: St. Vincent Gallery opens 'Southwestern Light' art exhibit

Dawn Law
| Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016, 9:00 p.m.
St. Vincent  music professor, Father Cyprian Constantine, (center), is joined by his cousin, Janet Schempf, (L), of Juneau, AK, and Ann Holmes, gallery director, during the opening reception for his late father's work, 'Southwestern Light: Works in Oil by John G. Constantine', held in the St. Vincent Gallery at St. Vincent College in Unity Township on Thursday evening, February 11, 2016.
Kim Stepinsky | for TRIB TOTAL MEDIA
St. Vincent music professor, Father Cyprian Constantine, (center), is joined by his cousin, Janet Schempf, (L), of Juneau, AK, and Ann Holmes, gallery director, during the opening reception for his late father's work, 'Southwestern Light: Works in Oil by John G. Constantine', held in the St. Vincent Gallery at St. Vincent College in Unity Township on Thursday evening, February 11, 2016.
St. Vincent College freshmen, Norina Haefelin, (L), of Belle Vernon, and Maria Belitsky, of Lancaster, pose for a photo while attending the opening reception for 'Southwestern Light: Works in Oil by John G. Constantine', held in the St. Vincent Gallery at St. Vincent College in Unity Township on Thursday evening, February 11, 2016.
Kim Stepinsky | for TRIB TOTAL MEDIA
St. Vincent College freshmen, Norina Haefelin, (L), of Belle Vernon, and Maria Belitsky, of Lancaster, pose for a photo while attending the opening reception for 'Southwestern Light: Works in Oil by John G. Constantine', held in the St. Vincent Gallery at St. Vincent College in Unity Township on Thursday evening, February 11, 2016.
St. Vincent College English Department professor, Father Wulfstan Clough, admires the art at the opening reception for 'Southwestern Light: Works in Oil by John G. Constantine', held in the St. Vincent Gallery at St. Vincent College in Unity Township on Thursday evening, February 11, 2016.
Kim Stepinsky | for TRIB TOTAL MEDIA
St. Vincent College English Department professor, Father Wulfstan Clough, admires the art at the opening reception for 'Southwestern Light: Works in Oil by John G. Constantine', held in the St. Vincent Gallery at St. Vincent College in Unity Township on Thursday evening, February 11, 2016.
St. Vincent College junior, Ryan Karl, (center), joins his parents, Caroline and Rob Karl, of Export, at the opening reception for 'Southwestern Light: Works in Oil by John G. Constantine', held in the St. Vincent Gallery at St. Vincent College in Unity Township on Thursday evening, February 11, 2016.
Kim Stepinsky | for TRIB TOTAL MEDIA
St. Vincent College junior, Ryan Karl, (center), joins his parents, Caroline and Rob Karl, of Export, at the opening reception for 'Southwestern Light: Works in Oil by John G. Constantine', held in the St. Vincent Gallery at St. Vincent College in Unity Township on Thursday evening, February 11, 2016.
St. Vincent College students, (from left), Maria Franey, of Murrysville, Sierra Nagel, of Bellefonte, and Billy Vana, of Monaca, mingle while admiring the art at the opening reception for 'Southwestern Light: Works in Oil by John G. Constantine', held in the St. Vincent Gallery at St. Vincent College in Unity Township on Thursday evening, February 11, 2016.
Kim Stepinsky | for TRIB TOTAL MEDIA
St. Vincent College students, (from left), Maria Franey, of Murrysville, Sierra Nagel, of Bellefonte, and Billy Vana, of Monaca, mingle while admiring the art at the opening reception for 'Southwestern Light: Works in Oil by John G. Constantine', held in the St. Vincent Gallery at St. Vincent College in Unity Township on Thursday evening, February 11, 2016.
St. Vincent College students, (from left), Maria Franey, of Murrysville, Sierra Nagel, of Bellefonte, and Billy Vana, of Monaca, mingle while admiring the art at the opening reception for 'Southwestern Light: Works in Oil by John G. Constantine', held in the St. Vincent Gallery at St. Vincent College in Unity Township on Thursday evening, February 11, 2016.
Kim Stepinsky | for TRIB TOTAL MEDIA
St. Vincent College students, (from left), Maria Franey, of Murrysville, Sierra Nagel, of Bellefonte, and Billy Vana, of Monaca, mingle while admiring the art at the opening reception for 'Southwestern Light: Works in Oil by John G. Constantine', held in the St. Vincent Gallery at St. Vincent College in Unity Township on Thursday evening, February 11, 2016.

“Southwestern Light, Works in Oil,” by John G. Constantine, is on display through March 13 at St. Vincent Gallery in the Robert S. Carey Student Center on the Unity campus.

Constantine studied architectural engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder and became a field engineer with Stearns-Roger Corporation in Denver. He also studied painting and sculpting, and while working in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah, he began painting what he saw.

Constantine was 82 when he died in Boulder in 1993. Though he'd been asked many times, he was too modest to show his work publicly.

His son, the Rev. Cyprian Constantine, academic dean at St. Vincent Seminary, arranged his father's first exhibit with the help of seminary student Brother Etienne Huard, visual arts professor Brother Mark Floreanini, St. Vincent students and administrative director Ann Holmes.

The Rev. Constantine said he took his father's work out of storage because he thought others would enjoy it.

He was right. There was a steady stream of visitors at the Feb. 11 opening.

“I wanted people to see the kind of work he did. He'd be embarrassed, but he'd be pleased to see people liked his work.”

Holmes is sometimes skeptical of “talented relatives” referred to her for gallery space, but when she saw Constantine's landscapes a couple of months ago, she was “entranced.”

“The works convey light and freshness with bold, at times almost abstract, shapes and vibrant color,” Holmes said.

Janet Schempf, a retired biologist from Juneau, Alaska, flew in to spend a week with her cousin, the Rev. Constantine.

“We've had a wonderful visit,” said Schempf, who remembered seeing some of the paintings in the Constantine home. “It's nice to see people enjoying the art and enjoying being with each other.”

Seen at the opening: Lou and Barb Steiner, Theresa Timmons, Paul Gnatkowski, Maria Franey, Sierra Nagel, Billy Vana, Rob Karl, Caroline Karl, Ryan Karl Jr. and Father Wulfstan Clough, a St. Vincent professor of English named for an 11th century saint and Benedictine bishop.

— Dawn Law

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