An exhibit of my new oil paintings with ceramics by Brian O’Neill
My biggest show yet. I am so grateful to the gallery and their support of my art practice. I’m also grateful for the people who encourage me to make the paintings. Thank you all.
Smith and Vallee Gallery
In the beautiful Skagit Valley town of Edison, Washington
Feel free to contact them. Everyone is really nice.
My Artist Statement for Growth Patterns
I’m an analyst who paints. I am constantly searching for new ways to interpret my Pacific Northwest surroundings. I’ll use several approaches to my subject, just as an analyst takes several cuts at the data to discover its richness over time.
I love forests. I’m charmed by the moss, spellbound by the dancing light. But it’s really challenging to capture that magic using art supplies. Most painters will focus on the light conditions, simplify the forms, and create a beautiful piece of art. “It’s not like you are going to paint all the leaves!” I remember my instructor laughing as I grimaced.
It’s not detail that I’m after, but more the need to explore the potential of all the small spaces. The tiny combine to create a small, several smalls combine to larger shapes, and the whole must feel balanced. There is infinite visual information in the woods I can use as my base, each object with its own X,Y and Z coordinates in the space. The plant forms rise from the soil and descend down from branches. Some leaves are alive and others dried up. Some face away from me, others toward me, others show in profile. The plants and branches intersect and create really fantastic negative shapes through which I can see sky and ground. It’s way too confounding to depict an individual object, I need to depict a network. I start with the intersections.
I encourage my painted spaces into coherent armatures of color and pattern. I don’t use the color I see in real life. I want neighboring colors that define spatial relationships and make the painting vibrate just like Josef Albers’ squares. This pattern-making and color exploration gives my art a devotional quality which is meditative to create.
The analyst in me loves thinking about big populations of data, and how I might approach the forest with the same curiosity as a scientist. I assume the role of a gentle visual organizer, letting the natural elements speak for themselves on the panels. Like a good analyst I don’t want to insert myself too early, making conclusions and simplifying, when the real forest is way more interesting.
My art history studies ranged widely for this body of work. I focused on color and pattern from Europe, especially the Northern Renaissance, Wiener Werkstatte, the Bauhaus School, Art Nouveau and the International Arts and Crafts Movement. I enjoyed studying textiles from Italy and England, and was thrilled to see an extensive collection of rare Italian silk in person. My art book collection grew with Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Mariano Fortuny, William Morris and Charles Rennie Mackintosh. I rediscovered my love for the works of Albrecht Durer, MC Escher, Andrew Wyeth, Neil Welliver and Piero della Francesca.
I am honored to share this work with you.