Pamela DeTuncq, Betsy Eby, Michael Gregory, Morris Graves, Valerie Hammond, Hung Liu, Kenna Moser, Kathy Moss, Gwynn Murrill, Carolyn Olbum, Anne Siems, Jack Spencer, and Allison Stewart
“Flora and Fauna VI” is a celebration of Spring by our contemporary artists. An extrinsic dialog emerges between each artist and their personal depiction of the wonderful world growing around us. These artists present us with unique perspectives of the traditional symbol of spring and countless other concepts, like beauty, sensuality, and vitality. Each of these artists evokes responses and emotions through their work.
Helen Steele compositions are never preconceived, yet her themes are recurrent: the use of the figure as the means of investigating various psychological states: harmony, serenity, anxiety, and isolation. The figure is her starting point, not the true subject. The subjects are human presence and absence. Steele’s approach is intuitive, suggesting rather than detailing.
As she works and reworks the canvas the image appears sometimes only to elude, then to reassert itself much later. Working in multiple layers with buried images and words, paint is wiped off and layers are peeled yielding the emerging image with symbolic markings, personal imagery, shapes and words appear, causing questions arise.
Steele creates intimacy through the sensuality of line, the simplest and subtlest of her tools. The line can be bold and assertive or sublime and quite sensual.
Gail Severn Gallery has devoted it’s largest gallery space to celebrate Women’s History Month. Artists in this exhibition use color as a predominate component of their artwork. Jenny Honnert Abell’s artwork is filled with fantasy and imagination. Loving nature, Abell’s imagery of birds on old book covers resembles the illustrations seen in early childhood fairytale books. Linda Christensen’s figurative paintings deal with life’s everyday occurrences. Her work features contrast of extremes in color and ambiguity of space. Pamela DeTuncq turns taxidermy into a playful and lively version of itself by using vintage tapestries. Using oils, knives, blowtorches, and waxes she formulates herself, Betsy Eby creates encaustic paintings as rhythmic compositions. The liveliness of Bean Finneran’s hand rolled ceramic sculptures resembles the creativity of nature. Focusing on painting as a space of exploration, Raphaëlle Goethals has used wax and resin as her signature medium for more than fifteen years. Valerie Hammond maintains a fluid artistic practice, distinguished by for her organic approach and deft interaction with different mediums. Suzanne Hazlett follows a ritual of adding and subtracting what may be twenty or thirty layers of color and material - her paintings arrive at the eventual visual and tactile end of their journey. Margaret Keelan’s ceramic sculptures of dolls / children and animals are both compelling and disconcerting. There is an immediate and visceral reaction to the heavily textured surfaces. Judith Kindler is an American multidisciplinary artist working in sculpture, installation, photography, and photography-based mixed media works. Lisa Kokin’s sculptural collages, with a literary foundation of western novels, environmental and self-help books, are transformed with the addition of stitching and other objet trouvé to create intriguing story lines. Hung Liu’s paintings and prints often make use of anonymous Chinese historical photographs, particularly those of women, children, refugees, and soldiers as subject matter. Lynda Lowe paints poetic worlds with a power and a delicacy the blend imagination and intellect. Laura McPhee is known for her stunning images of the Northwest. Her trips to India bring us photographs rich in color and culture from the city of Calcutta and beyond. Alyssa Monks is blurring the line between abstraction and realism by layering different spaces and moments in her paintings.
Kenna Moser’s delicate work with beeswax, vintage envelopes, stamps and collaged pieces are filled with beauty and poetic statements. Kathy Moss is drawn to botanicals for their emotive and symbolic potential, for their mysteriousness and suggestiveness. Marcia Myers utilized color to capture the essence of her Italian experiences. Her paintings are relics of a creative process in which the act of creating supersedes the product of creation. Deborah Oropallo refines her artistic transition from painting to digital imaging by incorporating the multimedia of printmaking, photography, digital technology and painting. Jane Rosen transforms stone, bronze and glass into animals both domestic and wild. Her animals and birds of prey project grace and solitude. Anne Siems has gathered a large following of her youthful cast of animal and human characters, who celebrate the joys and mysteries of life. Kiki Smith’s tapestries address the themes of sex, birth and regeneration. Mary Snowden meticulously stitched & embroidered animals from domestic farmyards and the wilds of nature. Working between logic and imagination, Julie Speidel’s newest work features bold colors matched with her iconic forms influenced by ancient artifacts. Allison Stewart has gained recognition for her mixed media paintings that express the restless balance between man and nature. Through stunning black & white portraits of rodeo riders, a six-man high school football team, and the Hutterites of Montana, Laura Wilson dramatically explores débutante tradition, border issues, isolation, poverty and other symbolic images of the American West.
Victoria Adams’ recent body of work includes both her large-scale landscapes and small intimate jewel like paintings of oil on linen. Featuring her signature interest in sky, weather, and watery reflections, Adams’ focal point is the inherent radiance of light found in nature. She often highlights the transforming effects of light filtered through clouds falling on the land and water below. In her masterful hands, light reflected from sky to water and back again forms a subtle interchange between evaporating wetness and the atmospheric qualities of air itself. Adams creates images that connect us with our own past experiences of place and more often than not evoke personal moments of stillness and meaning. Adams’ landscapes are found in Museums and private collections through out the country.
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.