The March Featured Artist, Marsha Connell, presents works that articulate an artistic evolution initiated in collage and leading to the "Murder of Crows" still-life oil paintings. Connell had long been a painter and sculptor when her daughter, Reba, invited her to make a collage for shared communication while she was having her junior year abroad in Israel, a year that coincided with the first Gulf War. The collages became an unexpected healing process, fueled deeper by a dream of war preparations that suggested she bear witness. The collage "letters without words" to her daughter grew into a series of 150 "Dream Vessels" that speak with a visual vocabulary, like "Vanitas" paintings, symbolically merging awareness of death and the passage of time with the beauty of life.
When words finally came, they emerged from the "dreaming in the day" dance practice of Authentic Movement. The resulting poems were often written in the presence of the collages and arose from a similar place of finding connections among discovered fragments. They accompany the Dream Vessels, but do not describe or explain them.
The arranging and rearranging of found images in collage making laid the groundwork for assembling and staging objects in the "Crow" series. "Spirit birds" and wings play a supporting role in the collages; birds star in the still-life series. "Through this work, I found a way to bring hope together with darkness. Assembling these found images was like taking the broken pieces of the world and putting them back together."
Both the collages and the crow paintings entice the viewer to look closer and follow a path of discovery. The paintings are also homages to other painters, such as "Thinking of Emily Carr." And there is humor, Connell confided, "The longer these crows were in my studio, the more trouble they got into!" evidenced by their activities and positions in the paintings.
FEBRUARY EXHIBIT: CLOSE TO THE HEART
EXHIBIT DATES: February 1 – February 28, 2021
Sonoma County artists, Linda Baretta, Beverly Bird, Sally Cataldo, Marsha Connell, Karen Miller, Tosya Shore, Michelle Hoting, Jo Tobin-Charleston, Carolyn Wilson present “Close to the Heart,” a new perspective on this Valentine season – things that are uniquely special to each individual artist. Shore’s “Walk this Way” is a watercolor showing a tender moment in an older couple’s day – a scene that would touch anyone’s heart. Miller’s contribution is “Cat in a Quandary,” a pastel painting of her quirky cat in her favorite room where all her best creativity lives. Barretta brings us “Schoolhouse Beach,” an oil painting of a favorite local scene along the Sonoma Coast, painted with blooms beneath her feet. Her piece glows with sundrenched color and the vibrant beauty of the red wildflowers. Wilson’s choice, “Yosemite Valley Winter,” is a mixed media piece that takes us to this magical place in the peace and tranquility of a snowy winter scene. Bird’s “Seeing Reds” is an acrylic painting that highlights traditional tokens of love – flowers and sweets – in delicious shades of red. After the past crazy, dark year, the warm feelings expressed through this exhibit open the door to a beautiful spring and hope for better times. “Because each artist’s choice is special, they resonate with the viewer,” noted Wilson.
New Artist: The Gallery is pleased to announce a new member artist, Sally Cataldo. A water media artist, her expressive abstract paintings are a reflection of observations of her environment. Working in acrylic, watercolor, gouache, her paintings are forceful designs of sophisticated color combinations, dynamic shapes and unique use of line. Whether purely abstract or a subjective interpretation, they catch the viewer’s eye and don’t let go. Internationally renowned, Cataldo is a published, award winning artist who has exhibited widely and participated in Sonoma County Art Trails for a number of years. Sallycataldoart.com
The Small Works Showcase on the stairway features a members’ show along the same theme, ”Close to the Heart.” The exhibit highlights a variety of takes on this theme in watercolor, acrylic and oil. In addition to the artists named above, Willow Laland, Donna Schaffer, Gail Morgan, Ron Sumner, Victoria Kochergin, and Laura Roney are showing their work in this exhibit.
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