Mind Gardens follows layered dreams, relationships, alternate personalities, desires, frustrations, seductions, and suggestions as they gestate, grow, evolve, reflect, and affect the psychological world roiling inside of our human heads. In my current artworks, tiny feet and legs trek around in obscure, neutral landscapes – toting male, female, and gender neutral maskheads - that are out of scale to their lower appendages. Unknown figures disappear inside of private worlds where they can exist freely, and wander about without the viewer knowing – or even needing to know - who these people really are, what they are really doing, or where they might be going.
On the path of Women Who Know, I continue to be affected by ongoing discussions related to political, social, and gender issues. Non specific personalities of semi-abstract and alternately constructed women inhabit complex mental spaces, stand proudly on stages, and exist in worlds where the scale and color and texture of their existence might suggest pride, knowledge, intelligence, boldness, security, and comfort in their own choices of how to participate in the world. -Excerpt from artist statement
"As a visual artist, I express my worldview through the creation of objects, bringing my personal observations into three dimensions. Transforming these internal ruminations into sculpture is at the core of my art practice. Driven by creative content and drawing from many sculptural materials and disciplines, I strive to produce visually compelling and thought-provoking works of art."
-Excerpt from Artist Statement
A major group exhibition that will showcase a wide variety of the gallery’s internationally recognized and emerging artists who will all have exhibitions at the gallery in 2018.
Themes of Ecological logic and what is important in life, ie. peace, nature, happiness, balance, protection etc. become symbolically referenced in her newest body of work titled OF WHAT IMPORTANCE. Through life size assemblage figures of beautiful women manikins with objects, construction, and painting, she explores the many impressions of nature and her immersion in it, creating a large impactful installation beckoning the viewer to see beyond our own selves and self interest to look at the grander picture of life and to what is truly important to the future. The figures are beautiful, frozen in time. At first glance they look like ancient statues deteriorating under the weight of time and struggle to survive. Yet they are beautiful, quietly and gently presenting an idea of perseverance amidst the struggle for existence.
The paintings are wall hangings, floating over the surface of the wall, each telling a story through paint, abstraction and drawing continuing the dialogue and backdropping the figures. Kindler speaks of life around her, not in a direct or obviously literal way, but through her unique language and vision presented as a large over arching installation composed of the many silent connotative stories of nature.
“This group of work stems from the memory or a feeling that something gives me rather than its detailed portrait. A glance from the corner of your eye repeated over time, a gesture, a personality, a relationship can often reveal a truer likeness than a photograph. You have to be paying close attention, sifting out nonessential details in order to arrive somewhere both simple and true. I’m finding the more ordinary something seems, often that is when it can also become most interesting to me. I tend to enjoy humor in art. It welcomes a viewer in to take a closer look without being off-putting. The playful aspect of these sculptures seems native to me and are the type of work I most enjoy making and looking at. It also allows me access to play around with the formal aspects of sculpture without making purely formal work. For instance, I love Richard Tuttle’s work, but I can’t make his kind of work. Figuration, at least at this stage, is important to me although it’s often arrived at through abstract means.”
Focusing on painting as a space of exploration, Raphaëlle Goethals has used wax and resin as her signature medium for more than fifteen years. Probing the physicality of the materials, Goethals works in a process of layering, pouring, scraping off, scratching into the surface, effacing, leaving traces of earlier information, all of this eliciting from the viewer a continuous shifting in the perception of forms, a build up and overlap of successive stages which demands that his or hers attention continually adjusts. The physical history of the piece, however, is buried underneath the smooth surface, its presence felt rather than seen.
Goethals is preoccupied with space, depth, and the fundamentality of light. Testifying to her continuing interest in the evolution and history of painting and in the point at which language originates, these vast surfaces refer to a Jungian space, a semiotic world, an uncoded, unarticulated space of interpretation.
The Dance Card
An urbanite in his youth, Komarin absorbed the visual cacophony of sidewalks, brick, sandstone, gravel and the myriad qualities of rough surfaces that were alternately hard, hot, hazardous or cold to the touch–but nothing like grass. Kids by nature are closer to the ground than adults and hence, become more concretely attached to and identified with constructed surfaces. So it was with Komarin.
Roads and the way that newly painted lines meet old and faded lines, attracted his attention. The juxtaposition of new and old asphalt patched here and there, left indelible impressions. The painted and repainted surfaces of cabanas and wooden walkways that he experienced at summer retreats at mountain hotels and beachfront clubs along the Atlantic Ocean, influenced his preferences and provided emotion-laden memories.
The early Italian painters such as Giotto and Cimabue made quite an impression on his young mind. The curvy and elemental drawing of Japanese and Chinese painting figured into the mix. Last but not least, the drawings and paintings of young children and the outsider art of Bill Traylor, were tucked into his creative mind.
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.”
Gwynn Murrill's internationally recognized sculptures in primal forms, are reminiscent of ancient sculptures, but made from bronze, wood, or aluminum. Her creatures prowl stealthily or gaze back at us with haunting expressions. Some animals are serene and wise, others are slick and sensual, and some burst with energy. Her majestic deer will be featured along with a number of her elegant raptors and other creatures.
For the past few years, my sculptures have been repeatedly glazed, stained, and fired to give the surfaces the look of disintegrating paint over weathered wood. This softening and reduction of form so that its essential nature is revealed is a metaphor I use for a life being lived, an exploration of the process of growing up and growing older. I love the combination of innocence, trust and openness, combined with the knowingness and authenticity of an older age and am inspired by American folk art, “Santos” figures from South and Central America, and utilize molds of 19th and early 20th dolls to achieve a timeless image.
Much of my work pays homage to our coexistence with the natural world. Those of us who are encased in cities sometimes have a longing to experience this connection more closely. We also mourn the loss and threatened existence of many species.
Birds, dogs, cats and other creatures have magic to them, that as children perhaps we see more clearly and do not question. Linda Ganstrom, Professor of Art observes of my work “The subject conveys a sweet sentimentality twisted into melancholy that touches my emotional core and helps me remember the complexity of childhood and life”.
Born in Venezuela but raised between Cumana, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Beijing and San Francisco, Daniel Diaz-Tai has always defined himself as a Latino-Asian male.
Daniel Diaz-Tai presents us with a series of Abstract Paintings layered with stories, emotion and texture. In these paintings, you can feel competing emotions stemming from the artist’s international journeys. His subconscious compositions embrace the ups and downs of life. They encourage us to note the temporal nature of life. If you think about it, nothing is reality as each moment is fleeting. Each line completes and complements the intensity of the other to unfold bold emotions and tell layered stories using asemic language.
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.
The work has evolved over the last twenty years into a personal iconography, a world of glistening, minimalist surfaces, with floating objects employed as signs. The paintings play with bridging the two worlds of the conceptual and the representative, delicate, minimal amounts of paint oozing and floating on the muscular chalk and oil surface while the subject matter exists in deep space. I am making a beautiful image and simultaneously commenting on the nature of paint and the act of making. This is, in part, the text and the subtext of my work. Influenced by work as a surface designer I have come to see repetition as a type of abstract structure; one which infers less linear narrative even as a narrative is added by the inferred denial of it. I imply pattern as a way of giving meaning- suggesting a rhythm, and then breaking that rhythm. I am interested in the edge, dark on light, and its stark effect of push and pull, the situation of figure on ground. Color is subtle, implicitly referential. The paintings are formal in orientation. I think of my work as situational haiku: a rare, tightly held moment. Ultimately the works must succeed formally, hold the surface, have a discreet narrative, and be beautiful.
I am inspired by the nuances of texture and light found in nature and in urban environments. All the media I work with come from nature: ground marble, wax, and crystals from the sap of fir trees. The natural ingredients are more appealing to me than synthetics – I love that they come from the earth. I love the luminous quality of encaustic paintings. Some have an obfuscation to them, like that experienced when enveloped by the mystique of fog.
Following the ritual of adding and subtracting what may be twenty or thirty layers of color and material, and when I have captured and expressed the essence of that which has inspired me, my paintings arrive at the eventual visual and tactile end of their journey as I arrive at the end of my personal path to convey the evocative quality of water in all its myriad iterations.
In Universal Solvent, I have sought to capture the translucence of watercolor and the fluidity of tides, currents and ripples. I have also been influenced by water in its frozen forms of ice and snow and by the glaciers I have climbed with my husband. Water figures prominently in the memories and imaginations of all cultures, and my paintings invite the viewers to bring their own narratives.
"In this series, 'Metamorphose', it is the combination of fallen tree limbs; their simplicity and elegance that have inspired me. Empty birds’ nests arranged in crevices and niches of the barren trees suggest an element of mystery and history, of life in nature.
For me, through the alchemy of bronze casting, each composition tells a story."
The act of absorbing her environment is crucial to Carolyn Olbum's process — her family and her surroundings are her inspiration. During walks she gathers dried vines, branches, seedpods, and other objects of nature that may then hang in her studio for months, lived with and studied, before the act of translation begins. She combines various materials and textures in her search for expressive forms, lines, and evocative moments, and the original material is transformed, losing its identity as a "stick" or a "vine," becoming instead an original composition, an iconic, enduring work of art.
Elisabeth Roark, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Art
After completing an MFA at Indiana University, Lynda Lowe began a fifteen-year teaching career at Wheaton College and Northern Illinois University. She left her academic position and began painting full-time, then soon after moved to Washington State. The surrounding environment and travel abroad profoundly impact her work. Additionally, Lowe’s interest in the relationships between art and science, perception and consciousness is evident in her imagery that layers text and poetry fragments, scientific observations and mathematical formula, alongside highly rendered recognizable objects.
Lynda Lowe’s artwork has been widely exhibited nationally in galleries and museums. She’s the recipient of numerous grants including two Illinois Arts Council Fellowships. She has had over forty solo exhibitions and is included in many corporate and public collections.
Throughout the exhibition, as in much of Lowe's work, examining approaches to human perception and themes of paradoxical union - darkness and light, stillness and movement, gesture and geometry, the concrete and the ephemeral – continue to be investigated. She finds herself often playing on the edge of the frontier, examining what is knowable and familiar, and speculating about the infinite and enigmatic.
While Robert McCauley’s paintings, drawings, installations and mixed media works are rooted in the tradition of 19th century American Romanticism, his narratives are contemporary, timely and relevant. Through the metaphorical juxtaposition of found objects, inscribed texts on frames and ambiguous titles, McCauley addresses a wide variety of contemporary themes and issues, including cultures in collision, environmental ethics, humankind’s impact on nature and the appropriation of nature in art.
McCauley’s paintings are sometimes ambiguous, but not so much that no meaning comes across. Returning to his childhood haunts each summer has shown the artist how much things keep changing. “The salmon streams I fished in are silted up and have no more salmon,” he says. “The Native Americans used to set a trap of chicken wire a half mile out to sea, and I would watch the salmon in the trap in awe. That’s gone. Even the huge fishing resorts are gone because the fish are gone. Clear-cutting is still common. A small greenbelt of ten feet on either side of the roads makes you think you’re looking at forest, but beyond that it’s just devastation.”
The annual Preview exhibition features artists who will have solo exhibitions in the upcoming year.
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.
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