Archive | June, 2011

Gallery Hopping PDX-style

30 Jun

PDX is slang for Portland, apparently.  I kept seeing it everywhere in Portland this weekend and being from Florida, of course had no idea what it meant.  Was it some sort of secret code?  Some inside joke only super-hip Portlandians knew about?  Nope, just Portland’s airport code, which has become short for Portland, just like JAX is short for my hometown of Jacksonville.  I must admit, I was a bit disappointed that there wasn’t some sort of subversive meaning to PDX, at least not one I could find on Google.

After a month in the Northwest, George & I finally made the 2 1/2 hour drive from Aberdeen, WA to Portland last Saturday.  We’ve already hit a couple of smaller artsy destinations nearby ( Olympia, WA & Astoria, OR ), but finally worked our way up to the mac-daddy of them all, Portland.  The home of hip.  We were only in Portland for the day, so decided it would be best to limit ourselves to one section of the city.  So we chose The Pearl District, for its galleries for me and its proximity to Powell’s Books, Stumptown Coffee & Rogue Brewery for George.  I try to make sure that when I drag him gallery-hopping, there is always the promise of beer.  This makes for a much happier husband.

Work by David Slader at Gallery 903

Gallery 903 was filled with contemporary painting, sculpture and mixed-media work.  I can usually tell the minute I walk into a gallery whether or not I’m going to enjoy my visit and find artists to blog about.  As soon as I saw wonderfully textured abstracts and thoughtfully placed sculpture, I knew Gallery 903 was a good stop.  The work of the artist above, David Slader, got George’s attention before than mine.  Slader is a former high-powered attorney turned artist and after reading his tongue-in-cheek artist statement, I had a better appreciation for him.  His work has deep texture , a powerful palette and expression.  Here’s an even better shot of “You Want to Dance”, that gallerist Herschel was nice enough to email me..

You Want to Dance, Oil on canvas, 24x24

This was just the first of the delights to be found at 903.  While George continued to admire the Sladers, I rounded the corner and happily came across a little niche and what was to be found there?  Some thrilling little Salvador Dali prints!

Salvador Dali prints at Gallery 903

Complimenting the Dalis in the same little space were two epoxy-resing pieces by Alan Fulle.  One of my favorite things about working in a gallery was designing & creating tableaus of artwork that coordinate together in unexpected ways.  Virtual congrats to whomever hung the work in this gallery.

Artist: Alan Fulle, Gallery 903

Here are some more treats from 903:

Artist: Chuck Gumpert, Gallery 903

Artist: Natalia Petrova, Gallery 903

Artist: Georgia Gerber, Gallery 903

I absolutely loved this bronze geese sculpture!  George wasn’t quite as enamored.  What’s not to love about lovey-dovey, fat bronze geese?  I mean, really, how could you not love them?!  Oh well, moving on..

Augen Gallery had two interesting exhibitions showing, the first, work by Wendy Franklund Miller– I am a sucker for encaustics.  There is just something about that waxy texture that I adore.

Artist: Wendy Franklund Miller, Augen Gallery

The kind-of cosmic feel to Franklund Miller’s work was a great complement to their other exhibition, Light Drawings by James Minden.

Artist: James Minden, Augen Gallery

These “light drawings” are scratched/etched PETG ( plastic ) reflecting light.  They are totally trippy in the best sense.  We had so much fun looking at these from all different angles.  Check out this slide show to see better photos than I could have taken:  James Minden on Vimeo.

Continuing the equestrian kick I seem to be on lately, Froelick Gallery happened to be showing Equine, a juried group exhibition showcasing the horse.  A diverse showing of work centered around our four-legged friends, it was fun to see the variety of interpretations, including a plate from the famous Muybridge Animal Locomotion series.  George was drawn to the work of Miles Cleveland Goodwin, which while beautifully rendered, was a bit on the dark side for my tastes.  I love how the differences in our tastes spark lively discussion!

Artist: Miles Cleveland Goodwin, Froelick Gallery

I, on the other hand, fell in love with the giant below. White Shadow by Rick Barstow is pastel on paper, 74″ long and it is fabulous.  I’m not sure what I love more, the lovely layering of the pastel, the unfinished, sketchy-quality or the scribbled “HORSES” at the bottom.  It’s all workin’ for me.  Or maybe it is that the straight-on gaze of the horse reminds me of an illustration of a story my grandmother used to read me as a little girl, The Goose Girl.

Artist: Rick Barstow, Froelick Gallery

Our next stop, Bullseye Gallery has a kick-a$$ space.  Two levels, full of exposed brick and metal work, rustic wood and these amazing little installation rooms.  I got so caught up in admiring my surroundings that I failed to take many pictures.  I know, bad little blogger.  The gallery is part of Bullseye Glass Company, maker of colored glass for art & architecture.  Oh, that explains why there was so much incredible art glass!

Artist: Dante Marioni, Bullseye Gallery

Artist: Silvia Levenson, Bullseye Gallery

Our final destination was Butters Gallery.  Are ya’ll tired yet?  Because I sure was by this point in the day. ( We’d also hit the Saturday Market, Stumptown Coffee, Powell’s Books and Rogue, in addition to all the galleries. )  Butters reminded me of some of the Chelsea galleries in NYC, as it was kind of hidden away, on the 2nd floor of a walk-up building.

Butters Gallery

Artist: Susan Hall, Butters Gallery

Butters had some really interesting work on display, I hope to bring you more on those artists very soon, especially the one whose work is pictured above, Susan Hall.  I fell head over heads for her work– my crappy picture doesn’t even begin to do it justice.  I’ll feature her more in depth in a separate post in the next few weeks.

So ends our little jaunt through Portland’s Pearl District galleries.  I can’t wait to go back to PDX and explore the other art districts.  This weekend we’re headed North!

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The Poetry of Shapes: Susan Melrath

29 Jun

“Rich colors draw me in, patterns guide me through, and flat, poetic shapes allow me to rest.”  — Susan Melrath

It is just these rich colors and flat, poetic shapes that drew me in to Susan Melrath’s work.  Susan takes complex forms like flowers, architecture and figures and condenses them to their most basic shapes.

Crimson Kiss

By doing so, the viewer becomes more drawn in by the emotionality brought to the surface through her use of vibrant color applied to the forms, rather than by the subjects themselves.

Going Home

 

Cafe

Though I love ALL of Susan’s work, it is her Garden series that speaks something to my soul.  Perhaps it is how I am amazed by the flora to be found here in the Northwest.  ( Wildflowers!! )

Spring Flowers

She takes what could be a mundane subject and with the use of pattern and color creates something extraordinary.  It’s a little bit Pop-Art, a little bit Fauvist, kind of Cubist without the hard edges ( Cone-ist? ).

Moon Flower

The flowers seem to be underwater, floating in a happy haze of pattern.  Or maybe it’s drizzly rain?  We ARE in the Northwest..

Out of the Blue

Sometimes it seems that we are seeing the flower’s shadow, rather than the plant itself, looking through the shadow to the play of patterns and light beyond.  Which makes the work groovily mysterious.

Susan created a floral series called “Bloom” for a recent Art & Sustainability show at the Sightline Institute in Seattle, integrating technology and traditional painting, posting a mobile tag by each painting providing more insight and information about each work of art.  You can see the progress of one of these works and hear Susan speaking about the work here.  And because I always personally find these things to be so much darn fun, here’s a time-lapse video of Susan completing a painting.  What’s up next for Susan after her technology driven show?  Unplugged, artwork created during a one-week period in which artists went without TV, internet, social media and texting.  Because great art is always about finding balance.

Be sure to check out Susan Melrath’s website to see more of her work and learn more about the artist.

Masterworks Monday: Madame X

27 Jun
She has been a source of fascination, scandal and intrigue for over a century.

Madame X, 1884

John Singer Sargent’s masterpiece, Madame X, while initially a source of pain and frustration to the artist, proved to be his most recognizable and memorable work.  The portrait’s subject, Virginie Amelie Avegno Gautreau, was a Paris socialite renown for her beauty and though it is a remarkably beautiful work to contemporary audiences, at the time of its Paris salon debut, the portrait was greatly criticized by critics, the public and Gautreau’s family ( her mother was outraged ).

The characteristics that appeal to our modern eyes are some of the same characteristics by which it was condemned upon its debut.  The elegant lines of her simple black dress create a decidedly contemporary feel to Madame Gautreau’s ensemble, but this would be years before Coco Chanel’s “little black dress” would become ubiquitous with timeless fashion.  The expanse of almost translucent white skin may not seem provocative to our 21st century eyes, to show such a sweep of bare skin, especially the beautifully turned neck and decolletage would have been quite provocative in 1884.  Though artists had long been painting nudes of mythical and fictional figures, showcasing the body of a real person in such a seductive way would have been scandalous.  ( Even if said person was infamous for her infidelities.. ).

Madame X, detail

The most scandalous component of all though may be her dress strap.  The strap as pictured above laying rightfully upon her shoulder is not how Sargent originally painted it.  In looking at his sketches for the portrait, it would seem that her strap had a tendency to slip off her shoulder..

Sketches for Madame X

So, painting the truth in beauty, Sargent originally depicted the strap as having fallen casually from Gautreau’s shoulder.

Madame X, recreated as may have originally been painted

This detail caused such a backlash, that when Sargent picked the painting up after the Salon showing, he took it back to the studio and repainted the strap well stationed upon her shoulder.  Despite the outrage the painting incited when it was first shown,  Sargent would eventually come to realize the importance of the portrait, describing it in a letter to the director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art as “..the best thing I have ever done”.  He would sell it to the museum in 1916 and it is there that I saw it in person in 2007 during the “Americans in Paris” exhibition.  Photographs online do not do this painting justice in any way.  In person, it is commanding in scale, mesmerizing in presence and breathtaking in beauty.

Friday Forager Faves: Horsin’ Around

24 Jun

Artists have long held a fascination for horses.  Some of the earliest cave drawings were filled with equine imagery.  Modern artists are no different.  Today’s faves feature artists with a penchant for ponies.  Enjoy!

Maribel Angel

Thomas Hager

Marsha Glaziere

Jim Draper

Dolan Geiman

Laurie Pace

Happy Friday!  Hope your weekend is filled with lots of horsin’ around and such.

To see more work by these Friday Faves artists, check out their websites:

Maribel Angel

Thomas Hager

Marsha Glaziere

Jim Draper

Dolan Geiman

Laurie Pace

Pick of the Crop: Heralding Hager

23 Jun

In this digital age, it seems like you can’t spit without hitting a self-proclaimed “photographer”.  I don’t begrudge anyone a creative outlet– if you want to take photos with your digital SLR, slap ’em up on Facebook and call yourself a photographer, I guess that’s your beeswax.  But for me, there is a point where photography ends and artistry begins.  There are photographers who are truly artists of their craft and Thomas Hager is a master.

Tom takes the simplest of forms, like the sweetgum pods above and isolates them and infuses them with a ethereal quality.  These are no longer those annoying, sharp little balls that litter the sidewalk, they are now magical spheres where fairies reside.

A simple floral stem becomes a beanstalk for a boy named Jack.

Shore birds become ghostly apparitions in a watery tableau.  Are they really there or are our eyes playing tricks again?

Is the water moving or is it the earth?  Where does the reflection end and the reality begin? Does it even matter?

Check out more of Tom’s work on his website and be sure to stop by the site for his brilliant limited edition line, Town Editions.  Oh and did I mention he has a show opening tonight at the University of Maine Museum of Art?  Now I just have to get him out here on the West Coast..

Artfully Audrey: The Work of Sarah Ashley Longshore

22 Jun

In the interest of full disclosure, I think there is something you should know.  I love Audrey Hepburn.  Adore her.  Want to be her when I grow up.  Her style, her intelligence, her philosophy of living and her legendary kindness all inspire me.  So it will come as no surprise to you that I actually gasped with glee when I saw stumbled upon these paintings by Sarah Ashley Longshore.

Audrey With Tulip Peonies

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness

Audrey With Monarch Butterflies

For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people

Audrey in Paris

For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry

A Moment Between Moments

For beautiful hair, let a child run their fingers through it once a day

Audrey Underwater With Lilies

For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone

As you grow older, you will understand you have two hands

One for helping yourself

And the other for helping others

— Audrey Hepburn

Visit Sarah Ashley Longshore’s website to see more of her work and learn more about the artist.   Her work is carried by New Orleans gallery, Gallery Orange, they have fabulous taste in artists, check them out!

Batik Storyteller: Lisa Telling Kattenbraker

21 Jun

The Matisse post yesterday got me in the mood for color.  AND it’s the first day of summer, perfect for sharing work that is bright, colorful and full of whimsical goodness.  George & I took a day trip to Olympia, WA this past Saturday to scope it out a bit.  In Childhood’s End Gallery, we both fell in love with the imagery of Lisa Telling Kattenbraker.

U-Turn

Lisa works in batik, an ancient process of wax-resist dyeing.  Her work juxtaposes traditional Batik patterning with simple, stylized childlike imagery.

Language Convergence

Most of her figures are faceless, so that the viewer can apply their own experience and emotions to the scene, which reminds me of another favorite artist, Yvonne Lozano.

Dress Rehearsal

These just make you smile, don’t they?  Wouldn’t you love to see this gal every day?  Doesn’t every good goat need a yellow rain slicker and wellies?

Lorelei the Pacific Northwest Goat from the New Moon Goat Rescue and Sanctuary

I would love to begin a tradition of collecting one piece of artwork from each of our travel assignments.  Thinking a Lisa Kattenbaker might just be The One for this summer.

Find out more about Lisa and her work, including originals and ( very affordable! ) limited editions on her website, here.