Angels and Icons Exhibition on View at New York Folklore in Schenectady

The National Herald

Iconographer and artist Efthimios Stoja with some of his works. Photo: Facebook/ Greek Orthodox Church of the Assumption Windham, NY - Catskills

SCHENEDCTADY, NY – The works of Efthimios (Altin) Stoja are on view in an exhibition titled Angels and Icons at New York Folklore Shop & Gallery, 129 Jay Street in Schenectady, The Daily Gazette (TDG) reported April 21. The exhibition opened on April 16 and runs through October 15.

Stoja is an iconographer and visual artist based in Albany County. First inspired by ancient frescoes that decorated the church walls in his father’s Albanian village, Stoja trained under master artist Tsuni Spilio in Nea Makri, Greece, the native country of Stoja’s mother, before opening his own studio. He later moved to the U.S. where he continues to work full time as an iconographer. His iconography in the Macedonian tradition - which shows more movement and facial expressions than other styles- can be found within Albany-area Orthodox churches, including St. Nicholas Church in Cohoes and St. Sophia Church in Albany. His non-religious pieces can be seen at public venues, such as in the recent (December 2020) Albany Center Gallery’s Member show. In his paintings, Stoja often draws inspiration from the natural landscapes of the Capital Region.

“One work on view at New York Folklore features an unframed canvas that stretches from floor to ceiling depicting vivid gold wings spilling from the back of an angel,” TDG reported, noting that “the gold color is juxtaposed with a lush green cloak, draped over the angel’s body,” while “other icons are featured with bright orange halos, eyes looking just off to the side of the viewer.”

Also on display in the exhibition are Stoja’s sketches and studies, “showing the process of how these figures are created,” TDG reported.

Among his landscapes on view is Cohoes Falls, depicting “the local roaring waters,” while “a more impressionistic-style painting depicts Peebles Island, featuring golden and deep red leaves and a lone figure canoeing on the water,” TDG reported.

Kateri Tekakwitha, given the name Tekakwitha, baptized as Catherine and informally known as Lily of the Mohawks (1656-April 17, 1680), a Catholic saint who was an Algonquin-Mohawk laywoman, is also depicted in one of the paintings by Stoja. “Unlike the Greek Orthodox figures, her gaze is aimed directly at the viewer,” TDG reported.

Another landscape, filled with flowers, was “inspired by his time in Greece,” while “other works reflect vibrant seaside vistas with blue-green waves lapping at the shoreline,” TDG reported.

Angels and Icons: Greek Orthodox Iconography by Efthimios Stoja is on view through October 15 at New York Folklore. Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 10 AM-3:30 PM, and Sunday, 10 AM- 2 PM.

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