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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"My idea is that narratives sacrifice intuition, gut feelings and the profound experience of mystery that a painting has the potential to provide. My forms and marks, with their apparent weight, particular vitality, and inertia live in a luminous and transparent environment. Their primary focus is on rhythm and cadence that I try to convey through color, line, and forms. As such, they are purely expressive or lyrical, not narrative. My paintings are there to let the mind of viewers run free and float through colors and patterns, moods and emotions.
In addition, the most recent paintings are moving toward an openness, letting color and space within the piece play a more prominent role in achieving a balanced yet lively environment, coexisting with forms, line and marks. I am interested in relationships forms, marks,color and depth have and how they interact to form the painting . "
Inez Storer was chosen to exhibit newly commissioned works along side sixteen other contemporary artists in response to a selection of tales from Jewish folklore. Acting as modern maggids—storytellers, transmitters of knowledge, secrets revealers—they explore the many facets of these stories’ characters, themes, and metaphors. This latest exhibition features Inez's work from Jewish Folktales Retold: Artist as Maggid. The exhibition was held at The Contemporary Jewish Museum from September 28, 2017 to January 28, 2018.
Artists featured include: Linda Christensen, Pamela DeTuncq, David deVillier, Bean Finneran, Gary Komarin, Laura McPhee, Cole Morgan, Alexander Rohrig, Julie Speidel, Therman Statom
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. Pamela DeTuncq turns taxidermy into a playful and lively version of itself by using vintage tapestries. David deVillier’s paintings use color and human forms to evoke messages of dreams, relationships, alternate personalities, desires, frustrations, seductions, and suggestions. The liveliness of Bean Finneran’s hand rolled ceramic sculptures resembles the creativity of nature. Gary Komarin’s abstract painting style visually engages the viewer with richness of color as a primary message. 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. Working between logic and imagination, Cole Morgan’s paintings have a quality of randomness, yet he meticulously controls every inch of his canvas. Alexander Rohrig’s work stems from the memory or a feeling that something gives him rather than its detailed portrait. Julie Speidel’s newest work features bold colors matched with her iconic forms influenced by ancient artifacts. Therman Statom is considered one of the most influential artist in glass. The glass sculptures he creates incorporates colorful imagery with a sense of fragility.
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.
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
A major group exhibition that will showcase a wide variety of the gallery’s internationally recognized and emerging artists who will all have one- person exhibitions at the gallery in 2018.
"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
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