An exhibition of four Bay Area Artists
Monet once said, “When you go out to paint, try to forget what objects you have before you, a tree, a house, a field or whatever. Merely think, here is a little square of blue, here an oblong of pink, here a streak of yellow, and paint it just as it looks to you…”
In this exhibit four artists from the Bay Area hope to show how each painting, no matter how abstract or recognizable the images may be, is made up of the same visual building blocks—shapes of color.
Shawn Vales ~ Ned Axthelm ~ Ellen Zucker ~ Carol Jenkins
What is so intriguing about the visual language of painting is that the same basic values, shapes and marks, handled by different artists, can lead to such a wide and exciting array of results—from subjects we recognize to images we have never seen before.
Each artist has written a short description of the shapes they either deliberately or intuitively repeat in most of their paintings. By highlighting these shapes, the viewer is invited “backstage” to see something about the process of painting. Not only that, the distinction between the abstract images and the representational ones is blurred. They are all made up of pieces of paint and shapes of color.
In my paintings I often utilize circles, spheres and other geometric shapes. I also incorporate silhouette shapes of figures, considered positive space, which can appear as a cluster of organic shapes with unique texture.
When designing these compositions, I emphasize the shapes formed by the space between and around these figures; also known as negative space. Making both positive and negative space shapes equally interesting is a significant part of a painting’s development.
When I start a painting, I rarely have a fixed goal in mind. I apply swirls and gashes of color without thought to a final direction. Sooner or later the suggestion of a human figure begins to call to me from the jumble of shapes and colors and lines. Then I paint more deliberately, so that the marks gradually become something that looks “kind of” like a head (oval shape) and “kind of” like a body (vertical shape.)
These are the abstract figurative shapes that appear repeatedly in my paintings, sometimes easy to recognize, sometimes more abstract
Empathy dominates my work. My paintings unpack flashes of emotional connection to strangers in public. We share intimate experiences and spaces with strangers daily; how we see each other, or fail to, is complex and often unexamined.
The paintings reframe common occurrences in a new context, bringing fresh attention to everyday interactions. The distinction softens between viewer and viewed.
Relationships between figures within a painting draw attention to our shared experiences and the connections between us.
In exploring empathetic responses to people, dwelling in simple moments of being human, we see the vulnerable parts of ourselves.
I am deeply stirred by wild places—alpine streams, rocky shorelines, hidden meadows. Wilderness can be both quietly expansive and dense with riotous energy.
The horizontal and diagonal shapes that repeatedly emerge in my abstract landscapes evoke both of these. Horizontal shapes suggest the horizon, a sweeping view of the space around us.
Diagonal shapes create intensity and movement, the unruly nature of all that is alive. Sometimes these shapes create a recognizable landscape, sometimes just the feeling of one.
In conjunction with Yreka Art Hops
Photography by Sharon LoMonaco
Exhibition Installation by Maureen Williams
Liberty Arts Hours of Operation
Liberty Arts, 108 W. Miner Street in Historic Downtown Yreka, CA 96097
OPEN ~ Wednesday through Saturday, 10:00 – 5:00
Sunday, Monday & Tuesday ~ CLOSED