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Translucent Revelations: Christina Bothwell

3 May

With the increasing sophistication of technology, we have become more and more aware of the realities of what was once mysterious.  We know what the inside of our bodies look like, it’s even possible to see an unborn baby in 3-dimensional form.  We can know what our children will look like before they ever take their first breath.  Yet, what remains to be revealed is their personality.  How they will evolve spiritually and emotionally remains a mystery.  Sculptor Christina Bothwell‘s figures illustrate for us the metamorphosis of our beings, our deliverance into who we are become.

Deer Girl, cast glass, raku, clay, antlers, and oil paints, 28x27x11

In her cast glass sculptures, Bothwell incorporates figures within figures.  We see smaller figures nestled into the glass, most often in the shape of a newborn.

Octopus, cast glass, raku clay and oil paint, 48x23x23

From the artist: “I think of these pieces as souls, each being pregnant with their own potential, giving birth to new, improved versions of themselves.”

Hair, cast glass, raku clay and oil paints, 10x31x8

As long as we are breathing, we are constantly evolving, hopefully into a better version of ourselves.  Wouldn’t it be fantastic to know that at the end of your life, you had become your most strong, your most loving, your most compassionate, the very best version of you?

Centaur, cast glass, raku clay, oil and found objects, 21x21x11

Phoenix, cast glass, raku fired clay, oil paints and wood, 33x60x21

Bothwell’s work shows us, not the end result, but the transformation.  We see the adaptation and evolution of the spirit as translated into the material.  To see more of Christina Bothwell’s work, please visit her website.

Featured image is Dawn, cast glass, ceramic, wood and oil paint, 38x10x7.  All images are via the artist’s website.

The Wild Selves: Anne Siems

24 Apr

As I mentioned before, there were certain shows I knew I wanted to see while we were in Seattle last weekend.  I’ve loved the work of Seattle artist Anne Siems since first seeing it online and was excited to get my chance to see her work up close and personal.  Her solo show, Guidance is showing at Grover Thurston Gallery, just up ( or down? Still don’t have my Seattle geography down pat ) the street from Foster/White, so away we went.

Wolf Girl, acrylic on panel, 48x48

Siems’ inspiration behind the show was the evolution of her daughter from childhood into adolescence and the idea that wild animal spirits may help children navigate their way through this transition.  In each of us there is a wild, animalistic-like spirit that, as we grow up and grow older gets buried under years of suppression and training in proper behavior.

Antler Girl, acrylic on panel, 40x52

In Siems’ work, we see children taking on historically grim expression and formal, constricting garb, reminding us of centuries of children whose innocence is lost all too soon.  Children whose natural wild spirits may fight against the constraints of social tradition and custom.

Bison Boy Drawing, mixed media on paper, 38x50

I was particularly drawn to Bison Boy ( above ), perhaps for the way the figure is isolated starkly against the white paper background.  He has been taken out of his environment, out of his element.  His garments are in the somewhat effeminate style of his era, yet his bison head & skin seem to be reminding us to not forget the wildness within.

George’s favorite work in the show was Lynx Cap ( below ), as this figure retains a sprightly, little girl expression in contrast to the other figures’ more suppressed, even haughty countenances.  She is still an innocent.

Lynx Cap, mixed media on paper with embroidery, 22x30

Guidance Tree, mixed media on panel, 48x48

I could go on and on about these and talk about every one– they are so interesting, visually and spiritually.  If you’d like to see more of Anne Siems’ work, please visit her website.  If you’re in Seattle, I highly recommend a visit to Grover Thurston to see these in person, a truly stunning show.

Featured image is Heart Branches, mixed media on panel, 30×30.  All images are via the artist’s website.

Artsy on Escape Into Life: Robert Townsend

17 Apr

Take a look back with me on Escape Into Life today!  I’m in love with the nostalgic pop culture work by California artist Robert Townsend.

Bill Connor by Robert Townsend, oil on panel, 72 x 48

Robert Townsend on Escape Into Life

April Facebook Featured Artist: Steve Williams

16 Apr

When I launched the Artsy Forager Facebook Featured Artist program this month, I was thrilled when Steve Williams agreed to be my inaugural artist. Like me, Steve is a native of our hometown, Jacksonville, Florida and has long been a fixture on the art scene there.  Steve, along with his then gallery partner, Jim Draper, encouraged a young Artsy Forager  to continue painting just out of college.  Even though I allowed myself to get sidetracked, I never forgot their kindness.

Marco Polo, mixed media

As he splits his time between being president of his family’s successful sign business, Harbinger Sign, the gallery he has created at the business’s headquarters, Florida Mining, his own work as an artist AND being a devoted father of three, Steve is a busy soul.  Which makes it all the more amazing to see the quality of thoughtful work he creates.

Jackson, mixed media

His experience in the sign business is evident in the strong graphic quality and balance evident in his compositions.  His most recent Money series ( images above ) explores currency as symbolic of all that we strive for as a society yet ensnares and imprisons us.

Into the Goodly Land, mixed media on panel, 60x72

While I love this current direction, my personal favorite works of Steve’s are those that incorporate layers of texture and color in which graphic signs and images are enshrouded.  These works, as well as the Money series, invite us in, asking us to look more closely at not only the world around us, but the motives and desires within us.

TV Exploration of Mars II, mixed media, 12x12

Revolutionary Exploration: Shallow Discovery, mixed media, 11x19

I hope you’ll check out more of Steve Williams‘ work on his website.  And do yourself a favor– don’t miss his blog, Making Cheddar, or his Twitter feed.    He’s as hilarious as he is insightful.

Featured image is Grant, mixed media, 60×36.  All images are via the artist’s website.

Lee Price

10 Apr

Sometimes, I find an artist’s work so powerful, that I can’t write about it immediately.  When I found New York artist Lee Price’s work, I wanted to share it as soon as possible, but just couldn’t write about it yet.  So I featured her on my Artist Watch over on Escape Into Life, where I can simply post images, a bio and a link.

Asleep, oil on linen, 38x56

Having been naturally thin and active almost my entire life, up until recently, I’ve never really had weight issues.  There were times I actually wished to be a little more curvy, more womanly.  But as I approach the big 4-0 next week (!), I find myself struggling more than ever with my body image.  Having listened to every woman I know complain about her body at one time or another, I know that I am not alone.

Self-Portrait in Tub With Chinese Food, oil on linen, 44x44

Lee Price’s work speaks to food obsessions and compulsions so common, especially among women.  Her pastel, candy-colored palette belies the darkness at the heart of each painting.  Her women are isolated, surrounded not by friends, family or lovers, but by piles of food, rarely untouched.

Full, oil on linen, 54x44

Constantly bombarded with conflicting media, we, as women, are often left feeling inadequate and confused.  We retreat into ourselves, indulging when we are alone so that the only judgement we’ll feel is our own.  Will we ever stop condemning ourselves so harshly?

Lemon Meringue, oil on linen, 72x32

Boston Cream, oil on linen, 65x48

For me, its still a struggle to make the right choices.  Gone are the days of being able to eat whatever I like and still be a size 5.  But also gone are the days of eating like a bird and obsessing over the way my body looks in a bikini.  I may be a bit more curvy, but I’m choosing to be happier than ever.  For me, it’s been a choice worth making.

To more of Lee Price’s work, please visit her website.

Featured image is Ice Cream, oil on linen, 62×31.  All images are via the artist’s website.

Sometimes the Waiting is the Hardest Part: Brett Amory

9 Apr

Does it ever seem like you are always waiting for something?  An answer to a question, a check in the mail, the pizza to be delivered.  At times, it can feel like life is just a series of waitings.  Oakland artist Brett Amory has created an entire series of work based on the monotony and futility of our waiting.

Waiting #66, oil on wood panel, 48x48

There are times when we get so caught up in anticipating what we are waiting for that we miss out on what is happening right in front of us.

Waiting #54, oil on wood panel, 48x24

It’s easy to get caught up in what might be around the next corner or where that next bus might take us.

Waiter #10, oil on mylar, 14x17

What might happen if we all lived a little more in the moment?  Instead of tapping our feet in impatience, let’s look around at where we are while we are waiting and those we are waiting with.  We may find that we love where we are.

Waiting #71, oil on wood panel, 48x48

Waiting #64, oil on wood panel, 71x48

To see more of Brett Amory’s work, please visit his website.  What are you waiting for? 😉

Featured image is Waiting #77, oil on wood panel, 96×48.  All images are via the artist’s website.

Fragile Ambiguity: Kris Knight

4 Apr

Sometimes, in a world filled with sarcasm and cynicism, we can easily forget the vulnerability of the human spirit.  How one wounding word can hurt and haunt us.  Toronto artist Kris Knight’s portraits remind us that the strength we so often feign is not impenetrable.

Waves ( Augustus ), oil on canvas, 30x40

The pale pastel palette Knight employs translates to us the inherent frailty of our psyches.  Though each subject takes a strong stance, often looking straight into the gaze of the viewer, their faces tell a different story.  Beneath the facade, we see flushed cheeks, downturned mouths and eyes that seem to be bright with unshed tears.

Caught, oil on canvas, 12x16

Some wear netted masks, hiding in plain sight.  While others at once stand defiant under our close attention, yet their eyes are pleading.

Winter Wheat, oil on canvas, 30x40

Mischief, oil on canvas, 14x18

They are the faces of loved ones and strangers.  People we think we acknowledge but who are longing to be known.  To see more of Kris’s work, please visit his website.

Artist found via Escape Into Life.

Featured image is Run Deep, oil on canvas, 16×20.  All images are via the artist’s website.