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.
Marcia Myers utilized the formal elements of artistic expression—color, light, texture, shape, and space, to capture the essence of an experience. Her paintings are relics of a creative process where the act of creating supersedes the product of creation. The subject has been reduced to color. The viewer is propelled into a realm where past and present commingle. As a conveyer of truth, her paintings explore the realm beyond the recognizable subject, a place devoid of word and imagery, where all is distilled to its very essence. The result is pure indulgence in the sensory aspects of color, texture and space. Her paintings tantalize, inviting the viewer into ineffable dialogue with color. It is purely through the power of color that an emotion is triggered and the viewer is transported through space and time to arrive at a present interpretation of the past.
Myers who passed away in 2008, is included in many prestigious private and public collections throughout the world.
This exhibition features the last frescos from Myers’ personal collection, including historical works on paper and the body of work that she was creating at the time of her death.
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
Michael Gregory • Sheila Gardner • Laura McPhee • George Harkins
Michael Gregory’s work is immediately recognizable with its American icons of barns, homesteads, and imagined fields. Gregory says of his work: “I think the concept of the icon is important. I’m using it in the traditional sense of a picture as a vehicle for transcendence, something to meditate upon. I’m not telling a story, rather suggesting a point of departure for a topic for conversation." For Sheila Gardner the moods of nature seem infinite; the season, the hour, the wind, the sun or lack of it, even pollution, are some of the factors that make for constant change. That constant change fascinates her. Laura McPhee has been photographing Idaho and the greater Western States for decades. McPhee displays her color images shot with a large format Deardorff box camera in galleries and museums across America. George Harkins is known for his rich watercolors which examine nature and its patterns as if through a close-up lens. His work is somewhat abstracted but still imbued with the beauty of seasons and relationships of life and water.
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