Each artist in the exhibition Contemporary Perspectives offers a unique take on nature: both nature in the surrounding world and the nature of humanity. In the form of experimental figuratism, these works refuse to be pinned down by the standards of representational art with a playful use of color and technique. Each painting pulls the viewer into a distinct and unforgettable variation of their own environment, allowing an escape within that which they already know.
Jerry Anderson’s acrylic paintings explore the relationships between nature, the human form, and the divine. His work, which is informed by the California hills where he lives, features skyscapes, landscapes, and the human form in strong reds, oranges, and blues. The edge of a cloud might share its shape with the curve of a woman’s back, or with the waves of her hair. The paintings, which collectively make use of similar colors, shapes, and moods, are derived from Anderson’s exploration of shamanism, religion, philosophy, psychology, and music. Though generally abstract in nature, Anderson's work offers a tangible subject, radiating out as a sensory invitation that he hopes will “remind the viewer of the wonder and oneness of all things, and especially the sacredness of their own divinity.”
Anderson studied at Rice University and The University of Oklahoma. His work has been featured in Art Tour International, Energia Creativa, and Rivierart. He has also received the Premio Bertelli award at the 2013 Little Treasures exhibition in Bologna.
Dianne Bernstein’s haunting portraits of women represent a new class of female iconography. Working in acrylic on linen, Bernstein paints women of different ages, shapes, and backgrounds. Some are sophisticated, some complex, and some earthy. What they share is a tangible confidence and a more mysterious air that is harder to define. These women often stare down the viewer, both confrontational and vulnerable, yet not afraid to share their emotion. They are not passive subjects, but alive with minds racing. Stylistically, Bernstein is not afraid to experiment. She is an energetic contemporary painter with bold color contrasts, vigorous gestural lines, and a feeling for atmosphere. Certain pieces are more realistic and contain much detail, while others are loosely constructed explosions of vitality. A particular work may feature a different sketching approach, or an expedition into symbolism, or a unique way of texturing. This diversity of techniques reflects the individuality of each and every woman.
Dianne Bernstein has practiced plein air painting in Italy and Cape Cod. Today she maintains studios in West Palm Beach and Philadelphia.
The oil and acrylic paintings of Canadian artist Grace Dam are as intriguing as they are stunning. Combining a figurative approach with modern abstract elements, Dam seeks to uncover the emotions and beauty found in familiar settings. For her subjects, Dam seeks out that unforgettable memory or compelling moment, an unspoken emotion, or even a quiet glance between strangers.
Through her art, Dam strives to create a story and convey a message to the viewer. As she explains, “The story can be personal or common, but each is that nagging turmoil we sometimes wish someone could tell.” Focusing on the details, she builds layer upon layer in her painting in the areas of color, line, and composition, all of which work together to develop characters, individuality, and a meaningful narrative. Thus, every component in the tableau has meaning and purpose, and invites the viewer to see the world in an entirely new way.
Grace Dam currently lives and works in Toronto, Canada, where she is enrolled in a BFA program at Ontario College of Art and Design University.
The paintings of British artist Gerry Defries carry the aesthetic beauty of the French Impressionists into the twenty-first century with bold colors, unusual textures and a visceral awareness of place. Defries' biggest inspiration is the sea and his love for sailing, as evidenced by his numerous beach and coastal scenes. This theme employs an immediacy that allows his paintings to appear both charming and arresting. Utilizing both brush and palette knife, Defries has a gift for creating atmospheric landscapes with a unique sense of escapism.
An accountant by trade, Defries started painting after his late wife persuaded him to join her in art school. Thirteen years later, the artist says his goal is to fill each of his pieces with positive memories, so that viewers may find his paintings calming and reminiscent of warm summer days.
“Painting allows me to express my theories of color and attitudes toward life,” artist Bill Greiner says. In his paintings, done in watercolors on paper, he uses his skill at handling color, line, and composition to express nature’s ever-changing qualities. With their vivid effects of light and subtle blending of shades, his images have a three-dimensional sense of depth and openness. Whether he is depicting a snow bank, a forest, or the surface of a lake, he gives the elements of his images life and movement. His views of the natural world bring out nature’s harmony while also highlighting its contrasts.
Greiner’s eye for proportion and scale also adds to the effect of his images. His panoramic compositions have a vastness and scope that are balanced with well-chosen details that draw the viewer into each scene. That balance makes what the artist sees as the polarities of nature, its continual exchange of energy and movement, feel vital. “It is this higher level of activity that I strive for and hope to provoke with my work,” he says.
Artist Nancy Klos works in a variety of media: mixed media on paper, oil on board, Sumi-E (Chinese painting with ink). These varied techniques all inform her meditative exploration into line, texture, hue and form. The natural world is also an important influence, particularly the complexity of plant structures and textures – as she says, “there are no straight lines in nature.” Certainly her art captures the beauty of curvilinear lines, spirals and flourishes. Ms. Klos is also a writer, especially of poetry. Her recent work with Sumi-E painting brings her practice full circle toward a unique creative rhetoric grounded in a more spiritual approach to creating artwork.
Nancy Klos earned her BA degree at Connecticut College in Painting, Art History and French. She trained professionally in France at Parson's School of Design and studied for five years at the Oregon College of Art and Craft. Ms. Klos is the Fall 2015 Artist-in-Residence at the Hawk Creek Gallery on the Oregon Coast where she will be producing and showing her current paintings in oils and mixed media.She is currently the Resident Artist at the Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland, Or., preparing for her one person show in November/December 2015.
Riding the line between painting and sculpture, Loovan has created a medium all his own. He formally studied to become an interior decorator in his native Belgium. As a result of the meticulous nature of his design practice, he realized the importance of simplicity in his personal artistic practice. Although he works primarily in concrete and metal, Loovan tries to infuse his materials with a thoughtful human touch, softening the otherwise industrial materials.
Many of Loovan’s works are intended to exist outdoors to beautify and enhance outdoor environments. Inherently, the concrete and metal exhibit a quality of changing over time, assuming distinctive and evolving patinas. Material concerns are the keystone of Loovan’s work. The color in his work is quiet and understated; Loovan’s compositions are often divided horizontally, organically dividing the sculptural paintings by color and material. The materials used in the compositions do not allow for retouching because they set very quickly, which makes each of Loovan’s pieces unique and impossible to replicate.
Alexandra Weidmann’s saturated scenes are direct, graphic images that draw on both meaning and abstraction. Her works are oil paintings on Belgian linen canvases, primed with white chalk for the maximum reflective quality of the material, and then stacked with thin layers of paint that build into multifaceted scenes. In some pieces, dry brush work creates soft forms, while other areas isolate minimally textured expanses of bright blue or green. Weidmann enters into a dialogue with diptych or triptych panels, fragmenting scenes and introducing strong vertical and horizontal elements. She pushes and pulls foreground and background until the story she wishes to convey becomes an exercise in the surreal. Some pieces balance the violence of sport with competition and performance, with each panel part of some larger drama of war, justice, and inequality. Weidmann explores space, time, and the illusion of movement through her manipulation of panels and depth.
A native of Germany, Weidmann has a great appreciation of a broad variety of painting traditions of the areas in which she has lived and worked, from her home in Berlin to Istanbul and beyond. Analyzing those traditions and developing them further she has created her own painting style.