Time for an art stroll
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Mount Vernon begins its seasonal Art Walk events Thurs, April 6. Many businesses and storefronts along First Street will feature displays, which in most cases, can be seen all weekend. In a valley dedicated to the love of nature, there will be not only beautiful landscape painting, but also first-rate color abstraction and portraits.
At the PNMAA martial arts academy, Gene Jaress offers large Skagit Valley scenes and also portraits of boxers, based on photos taken at the Hillman City Boxing Gym in south Seattle. Some are printed on canvas and others are enhanced with oil paints.
Jaress is already well known for his devotion to tradition in his oil canvases of land and sky, in which he expressly pays tribute to the great 19th century English Romanticist landscape master, J. M. W. Turner. He begins by transferring the outlines of a landscape, for example, to a massive, stretched linen canvas. Then he applies up to 15 layers of semi-transparent oil pigment, cold wax and alkyd gel to achieve memorable brilliance and luminosity.
The Front Gallery, off First Street, is at the corner of Main and Myrtle streets, facing the Riverwalk. Here, Dee Doyle and Maria Wickwire join to show their paintings and sculpture under the rubric of “Private Scenes and Brilliant Dreams.”
Wickwire’s intriguing clay sculptures of the female figure bring to view emotions of anguish and longing. She was a successful, published poet until she first touched clay and discovered a direct connection between damp earth and her feeling hands.
For Wickwire, clay is female. As it takes form in her hands, it reveals a personality to which she intuitively responds. “I feel as if I am simply a conduit that allows her to step forth to tell her story,” she says. Each masterfully modeled form reveals its nature in gestures and expressions and finds a name from snatches of remembered song or ancient myth, as “Daphne,” “Cassandra,” and the marvelous “Persephone” (in her private collection).
Doyle, a popular teacher, is known for colorful landscapes and abstractions. Her portraits, some whimsical and some haunting, echo the sculptures. “I developed some faces that challenge where we are—things are not wonderful, but my girls will hopefully evoke a few smiles,” she says.
Showing work at the historic Lincoln Theatre, Linda White expresses a similar artistic experience when creating her paper collages—surprised by the way the papers interact and blend together: “Some of the papers ‘talk’ to me,” she says. “I see a tree trunk, fall foliage, mountains, sand dunes, a field of flowers, sky or water.”
At 504 1st St., the Perry and Carlson gallery opens its April show: “Color Theory—Contemporary Abstraction,” which assembles canvases from a nationwide artist call.
It’s fitting that among those selected is Mount Vernon’s own Deirdre Czoberek, whose wondrously inventive compositions have been seen at the Lincoln Theatre and may be found online in the form of women’s clothing and scarves.
I have mentioned only a few of the dozen or more fine artists whose work will we be on view. Enjoy the spring weather, browse and socialize in the revitalized downtown Mount Vernon.
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