Fall color at River Gallery
What: "Small Works"
Where: River Gallery, 19313 Landing Rd., Mount Vernon
WHEN: 10am-5pm Fri.-Sun., Oct. 5-7 and 12-14
Monday, October 1, 2018
Maggie Mason takes my breath away. In the autumn “Small Works” show at River Gallery, Mason’s collages stand out for exquisite craftsmanship and inventive design—whether it’s “Paris in Winter,” or my favorite, “Winter Swans.” How does she put them together and where does she find such marvelous materials?
Mason and watercolorist Margaret Carpenter Arnett were both trained in their native Britain. Arnett’s misty landscapes, “Magic” and “Tonal Reflections,” reflect her belief in the healing power of art. With a background in both nursing and art, Arnett is a valuable art therapist in hospitals and schools.
British values are also evident in the work of Lavone Newell-Reim, whose stunning English country garden on Fir Island opens to the public during Skagit Symphony fundraisers. But painting, she writes, is the way to understand her role in the web of life. Her subjects range from landscapes and nature studies to abstractions based upon music. Her “Fir Island Sunset” evokes a fine Japanese woodcut. “Arnie’s Tree” is a tour de force in heavy impasto.
Among new contributors to this season’s show are Kent Nord, Linde Husk, Lani Schonberg, and Leslie Strong. Nord’s oil panoramas of mountain and water are beautiful. “Starry Night” is exquisite, although I overheard one visitor question the tiny human shape beside the campfire. Linde Husk’s “Reaching,” (acrylic) offers a wonderful sunlit madrone.
Dedrian Clark and Coizie Bettinger are virtuosos with pastel. Clark, self-taught, reaches perfection with “The Falls.” Bettinger’s aspen portraits blaze with fall color.
Robert Gigliotti continues his familiar sculptural meditations on balance and the human form in motion; they are backed by Charlotte Slade Decker’s abstractions, which burst with color for the length of a gallery wall,.
Brooke Borcherding has emerged from the confines of a cubistic style with a more free brush and a mixture of subtle shades in “Neighborhood Butte,” “Santa Fe—Burro Alley,” and her bright and inviting “Overlook.”
Denise Takahashi, Terry MacDonald, and Denise Le Blanc all offer bird portraits. MacDonald, a choice of impressionist or realism; Le Blanc, owls with attitude. In Takahashi’s portrait of a grosbeak, you can almost hear its song.
Gary Giovane is remarkably prolific. His new delights include “Eelgrass Nursery Rhyme,” a swirl of fish in a handcrafted wood frame and “Circle About the Moon,” a colorful symphony of waves and rising stalks of grain beneath a luminous orb.
Paul Blum’s bright and enigmatic oil portraits resemble stained glass, concealing a face or a story amidst colorful abstract elements.
With 38 artists represented (including myself) and more than 200 works on view, I recommend visiting more than once to appreciate so many works in painting, pastel and collage, metal, glass and stone.
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