Terry Grant here. I don't really subscribe to the Julia Cameron art date, where you go off by yourself and do something fun and arty. I spend a lot of fun and arty days by myself in my studio, so a special art date for me is hooking up with an artist friend to go look at art and then discuss it. If we can fit a decadent lunch into the trip as well that makes it all the better!
A couple of weeks ago my friend Jeri and I went downtown here in Portland to see a new show by Portland artist, Gwenn Seemel. I was vaguely aware of Gwenn and her work. Jeri has the good fortune to be a friend of Gwenn's, so Jeri was my guide to Gwenn and her work. The show we saw is called "Crime Against Nature." The underlying premise and themes involve issues of infertility and reproduction and the sexual and reproductive characteristics of animals. You can read her statement here. A serious subject, with resulting work that can be viewed at many different levels.
The show consists of about 56 10" square paintings of animals, which she has put together as the illustrations of a children's book. The printed book is actually available for sale. The exhibit we saw showed all the paintings hung side by side around the gallery space.
Unfortunately, what you see in these small photographs look like nice, competent animal illustrations. What you miss, until you see them in closeup, is the sparkle and clarity of her work. Her technique of layering transparency in the paint and adding a kind of cross-hatch-like layer of colorful marks gives her work a depth and energy that excites and transfixes the viewer. I wanted to stand and carefully study each piece, and each piece was a new discovery and a deliciously colorful new delight.
this page. Click for the closer view and enjoy! Gwenn's portraits are also wonderfully quirky and insightful. If you want even more, check out the video interview with Gwenn on Oregon Public Broadcasting's wonderful "Art Beat" show here.
"Crime Against Nature" is at the Place Gallery in Pioneer Place, downtown, Portland, OR. through January.
What a great day Jeri and I had! The weather was frightful, but sharing an art exhibit with a friend warms me from head, to heart, to toes. That's my kind of art date.