Swedish-American visual artist Charlotte Bernstrom creates acrylic paintings that are poetic explorations depicting nature and humanity’s place within it. Taking queues from Abstract Expressionism and American Impressionism, through juxtaposing nature-inspired fields of color over earth-like stained and textured canvas, the autobiographical works are rooted in landscape and lean toward abstraction. Bernstrom’s paintings, with their complex, earth-like surfaces, evoke an emotional response that directs viewers toward a consciousness of their place in the natural world, and perhaps also encourage better care of the Earth. This is the artist’s first exhibition with Andra Norris Gallery.
German-American photographer Nina Dietzel’s work oscillates between intense, fast-paced photojournalism and intimate snapshots of contemporary daily life. Her new Dreamland series — which inspired the title of our group exhibition — captures the abandoned yet still enduring quality of a wild space in transition, and it concerns the fate of California’s largest lake, the ever-changing Salton Sea, which is historically and environmentally complex.
Though fluctuating water levels have shaped the area for thousands of years, the Salton Sea formed following the rupture of a manmade canal in the early 1900s, flooding an area located about 160 miles east of Los Angeles, and fed by the Colorado and other rivers. The accidental lake was made into a bustling tourist hub in the 1950s, and there is a distinct sense that the manmade vestiges of the Salton Sea are being gradually swallowed back into the land. Nature is taking over where humans left off. Dreamland can be seen as a post-industrial record of the American West. Dietzel’s intimate desert still lifes comprehend the aesthetic nuances of the ever-increasing precariousness of the Salton Sea, and they critically contemplate human-precipitated and naturally occurring imprints on the land, the beauty in transitional spaces, and an awareness of how we connect to a place.
Mixed-media paintings are introduced from multidisciplinary visual artist Kim Frohsin, who created her new Dancers and Athletes series from acrylic paint, glazes, ink, collage, pencils, and dry pigment. The small-scale “assemblage paintings” — primarily monochromatic in black and white with touches of silver, pink and red — are built upon photographic images culled from the artist’s archives and popular culture. A dancing theme pervades these small works, depicting dancing feet, well heeled girls and women, and abstracted billowing skirts in full swing. The viewer is advised to look closely and take in the complex surface qualities and ambiguous abstractions, while simultaneously recognizing the underlying “real-life” photographic images. There are endless mysterious, poetic, and nostalgic surprises to be found. Each work is professionally framed either to hang on a wall or stand on a table or shelf.
Color reigns in Stephen Henriques' oil on canvas paintings that bridge contemporary landscape with abstraction, and convey rhythm and movement through the gestural lines of nature, including Japanese Wisteria and desert flowers. Influenced by Bonnard and Vuillard, and inspired by music — specifically Western jazz — and the natural vibrancy of South American culture, where the artist lived and worked for many years, the artist says his works are best experienced slowly, like good music, food, or dancing. His joyful paintings are in brilliant color and represent a toast to life. This is the artist’s first exhibition with Andra Norris Gallery.
We are thrilled to have new nature-centric oil paintings — specifically of birds, including Scarlet Tanagers, Hawk, Lazuli Bunting, and Ravens, from Diana Tremaine, whose dynamic, figurative and still-life oil paintings reflect a search for truth and meaning. By developing brushstrokes and marks, by adding and then obliterating some of the story in a free-association editorial process of discovering what is most important and lasting, the artist echoes her experiences in an autobiographical fashion, but her images are also universal and touch upon our collective experiences. Created with a limited palette, there is visual poetry in her surfaces, including the tension that exists when simultaneously holding on and letting go. The bicoastal New York City-born artist studied and taught in Berkeley and Southern California. She later moved to Montana — in a search for spiritual space and room to breathe — where she works and lives with her family, dogs, and horses.