Featuring Jonathon Hexner, Hung Liu, Robert McCauley, Ed Musante, Gwynn Murrill, Deborah Oropallo, Rob Putnam, Mary Snowden & David Wharton
Artists in our annual exhibition visually address man's relationship to nature as a primary concern, while art history, environmental ethics, beauty and aesthetics still resonate in their work.
Jonathon Hexner creates delicate imagery of animals using the destructive force of dynamite fuse and black powder. Hung Liu’s mixed media prints and Robert McCauley’s oil paintings create narratives about history, deforestation and ecological issues. Rob Putnam collects and forms recycled materials to create his signature animals. Sculptor Gwynn Murrill transforms stone, bronze and wood into animals both domestic and wild. Ed Musante’s small-scale paintings of birds and animals, painted on his signature ‘found cigar boxes,’ are intimate portraits of wildlife, as are Mary Snowden's meticulously stitched & embroidered animals from domestic farmyards and the wilds of nature. Deborah Oropallo has been in the forefront of digital artwork since the beginning of the medium. She combines images of her farm with hand painted elements to form her distinctive artwork. David Wharton’s watercolor paintings are influenced by his humor and creative mingling of juxtaposed objects.
Artists in this exhibition use color as a predominate component of their artwork. Linda Christensen’s figurative paintings deal with life’s everyday occurrences. Her work features contrast of extremes in color and ambiguity of space. The liveliness of Bean Finneran's hand rolled ceramic sculptures resembles the creativity of nature. The encaustic medium allows Raphaëlle Goethals to form layers upon layers of subtle color, which take on a luminous quality. Rana Rochat's new paintings use scrawling lines, rhythms of dots and texture, and sophisticated color to create an uplifting atmosphere. Gary Komarin’s abstract painting style visually engages the viewer with richness of color as a primary message. Marcia Myers utilized natural pigments to capture the essence of her Italian experiences. Julie Speidel’s newest work features bold colors matched with her iconic forms influenced by ancient artifacts. Allison Stewart's paintings reflects her training as a biologist and her love of the bayou's of Louisiana.
Featuring Victoria Adams, James Cook, Sheila Gardner, Michael Gregory, Laura McPhee & Theodore Waddell.
“Honoring our Landscape” features the aesthetic interpretation of our lands by Nationally renowned painters Victoria Adams, James Cook, Theodore Waddell, Sheila Gardner and Michael Gregory. Laura McPhee presents her photographic views of our western region.
Photographer Rachel Cobb has photographed current affairs, social issues, and features in the U.S. and abroad for the past 25 years. She has been published in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Sports Illustrated, Time, Rolling Stone, Natural History, Stern, Paris Match among others on assignments ranging from U.S.-led sanctions in Iraq, a Kosovo Liberation Army soldier’s journey from a U.S. college to his war-torn homeland, the Evangelical movement in Guatemala, and a papal visit to Cuba. Cobb's work has earned her recognition with Picture of the Year awards for her work during the 9/11 attacks in New York City and in war-torn Sarajevo, a nomination for the ICP Infinity Award for young photographer, and a Marty Forscher Grant for Humanistic Photography for documenting New York City's homeless. She has exhibited her work in solo and group shows at the Miami Museum of Art, the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian, the Parrish Art Museum (Southampton, New York), Visa Pour L’Image (Perpignan, France), and in galleries across the U.S.
As a child, Linda Christensen was always in tune with the subtle shifts in mood of those around her. This sensitive observation of friends and strangers has continued to inspire her work as an artist. Christensen catches people who are in a “private place” and are turned within. This is usually a brief moment, but something that we all do without being aware. Christensen finds something magical in seeing the humanness in others as they turn inwards, reflectively but uncritically.
Linda Christensen’s painting captures inspiration from the Bay Area Figurative Movement, but her work also has the extreme contrast of color and ambiguity of space seen in Mark Rothko’s work. The solitary figures in her paintings are also reminiscence of Edward Hoppers figure. Although Christensen finds inspiration from many different artists, her paintings are purely her own voice.
My goal is to make beauty. The impetus to make paintings is motivated in part by my desire to the express the inexpressible: the inescapable dualities of existence.
I use botanicals as archetypes in my work. I was aware of the suggestiveness of, and psychological meaning attached to some flowers. They are ambiguous, mysterious, a way to get to the paint. and in large scale represent heads, beats, landscape. I use these objects as subject matter, in silhouette. I also refer to my imagery as ‘girlie’ as the motifs and even mere suggestions of flowers and hearts are usually associated with being female, and feminine. My work addresses issues of power, solipsism, hierarchies by presenting imaginary orders, arrangements that would not occur in the natural world; I am working in response to and partly inspired by both external and internal chaos. I have turned them- flowers, seed pods, skeletons of pine cones, thistles into icons. The motifs are beards; their arrangement a poetic depiction of the internal self.
“I had always wanted to paint a show with only animals as the protagonists. In most of my previous work the animal is always paired with a human and I felt it was time to give the animal the sole focus.
I have been involving myself with Shamanism and animist belief systems for several years. In this belief system there is no boundary between humans and animals. Animals play also a large role in my shamanic journeys in which they reveal themselves as companions that carry, sometimes, specific messages or tasks.
The bear in particular plays an important part in my life as a spirit animal that accompanies me over and over again, especially when faced with new, sometimes leadership tasks. I sense the bear as my guardian and guide. Other animals, like the Jackal were firstly inspired just by their look and may reveal themselves later. I do not need to know.
Painting is an ongoing inquiry in the desire to transmit a sense of energy, a state of being and feeling. When one inquiry feels completed I move on, often revisiting places in my older work, but finding new ways to interact with it.
In my work I try to be as honest and true to myself as I can without losing discernment. I aim as best as I can for sincerity, intimacy and openness in my paintings. In them I find the beginning of something that touches the universal. It is a place where others can touch the magic and sensuality that gets exposed in the process.
I think deep inside of us lives a longing to experience a sense of 'falling in love'. A visceral experience without words. For that to happen, this place needs to be free of irony, social commentary or conceptual humor. I am looking in my work to find the point in which we feel a certain ache – the ache caused by the knowledge that life is full of light and dark, sacred and profane, beauty and ugliness, life and death.
Michael Gregory’s work is immediately recognizable with its American icons of barns, homesteads, and imagined fields. These structures, while forefront in his previous works, now play evenly with the powerful imagery of the landscape and light. The light, as seen over American soil, is captured from the landscapes of our enigmatic Midwestern and Western fields to the luminescent nighttime sky overlooking cityscapes.
Gregory’s work is included in many private and public collections including The U.S. Trust Company in New York, Microsoft Corporation, General Mills Corporation, Bank of America and Champion International Corporation, and The Denver Art Museum.
Hung Liu is primarily known for paintings based on historical Chinese photographs. Given the epic, often tragic subject matter she represents, and the way her images sometimes dissolve in veils of linseed oil, her style is a kind of weeping realism. Liu’s newest paintings, however, are based upon the Dustbowl and Depression era photographs of American documentary photographer Dorothea Lange, whom she has long admired.
At first, the shift from Chinese to American subjects may surprise Liu’s audience. Having grown up in revolutionary China, however, she is familiar with landscapes of social struggle and displaced humanity.
In her paintings for the Gail Severn Gallery, Liu continues her interest in Lange’s Dustbowl subjects, focusing on individual portraits of children, their parents, and family groups. Suggesting the vast scale of their migration, Liu has also painstakingly painted an expansive scene of an Idaho landscape marked by burned tree stumps and abandoned mail boxes, as if bearing witness to the devastation of the 1930s in the American west.
Speidel’s inspiration draws, in part, from her connection as a child with the ancient megaliths she encountered living in Europe. While attending boarding school in Sussex England, she went to early morning services at the Arundel Cathedral. The images of the saints from the stained glass windows have stayed with her in a special way. As she began working on Japanese Kozo paper, which she brought back from Japan in the 80’s, she incorporated sacred imagery that harkened to the windows from her past and drew from her travels throughout Asia and Europe.
From her studio on a picturesque island off Seattle, Speidel works in bronze, oil on paper, stone, glass and wood to create art that graces collections throughout the world. Speidel's art engages an extraordinary array of cultural influences, reaching back through antiquity to the stone and bronze-age peoples of Europe, the early Buddhists of China, the indigenous tribes of her native Pacific Northwest and on into 21st century modernism
Photographer Laura McPhee is noted for her stunning large-scale landscapes and portraits of the people who live and work in them. She is currently working in the desert west of the United States where she is chronicling visual stories about time, both geologic and human. A serpentine river cuts deep incisions in the land over ages. A gold mine on the edge of the Black Rock Desert has the earth slashed open and its ruddy interior revealed. A still-life found at the edge of an alkali flat reveals intricate details of daily life—a tiny plastic toy among shards of glass and rust, a penny, machine parts, and desert varnished tin cans. All contemplate the unintended consequences of humanity’s attempts to control and manage nature and how we use the earth and to what ends. A meditation on our material lives, the images depict our paradoxical approaches as we at once protect, alter, and extract from the land.
Alyssa Monks is blurring the line between abstraction and realism by layering different spaces and moments in her paintings. She has flipped background and foreground using semi-transparent filters of glass, vinyl, steam, and water over shallow spaces in her 10-year long water series. Today, she is imposing a transparent landscape of infinite space over evocative subjects.
The tension in her paintings is sustained by the composition and also by the surface quality itself. Each brushstroke is thickly applied oil paint, like a fossil recording every gesture and decision, expressing the energetic and empathic experience of the handmade object. “I strive to create a moment in a painting where the viewer can see or feel themselves, identify with the subject, even be the subject, connect with it as though it is about them, personally.”
Squeak Carnwath draws upon the philosophical and mundane experiences of daily life in her paintings and prints, which can be identified by lush fields of color combined with text, patterns, and identifiable images. She has received numerous awards including from San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, two Individual Artist Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Award for Individual Artists from the Flintridge Foundation. Carnwath is Professor Emerita at the University of California, Berkeley.
Ed Musante captures the soul of the solitary animal. His primary subject is the bird, which he paints with exquisite detail. They are painted on cigar boxes and cigar box lids that make reference to another time and place.
Often Musante’s subjects are floating in an undefined space or on a field of color. Interested in surface and texture, his works offer depth and beautifully painted surfaces. His manner of isolating his subjects, be they animals, birds or people, is reminiscent of Morris Graves’ approach to making the subject an icon.
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