Thursday, February 5, 2015

Exposed: Dual Perspectives in Paint and Pixel

The exhibition, Exposed, presents the two diverse perspectives of painter Mary Dorrell and photographer Thomas King as they venture through mountain ranges and foothills across untouched corners of the United States. The juxtaposition of these works provides the viewer with a reassuring reminder of monumental and microscopic natural wonders existing beyond twitter notifications and the concrete jungle. Curated by Rebecca George and exhibited by The Art House, a gallery and classroom for two-dimensional studio art studies, the exhibition’s opening reception included an illuminating lecture by guest art historian, Ginny Voedisch.  Art Institute of Chicago lecturer, Voedisch, discussed replication versus interpretation and concepts of timelessness regarding images of natural entities and wilderness.

Mary Dorrell’s fauvist color palette and lyrical brush strokes convey a contemporary perspective of ancient places. Her works articulate the aesthetics of falling autumn leaves and expansive valleys, but the pieces also evoke an impressionistic conveyance of the feeling of autumn, the feeling of beholding a vista. In painting, color blocks, and watercolors, Dorrell captures birch trees and beaches, bison and tree spirits. Her oil on wood piece, Tree Spirits II, reflects an ineffable, ambiguous spirituality in a Kandinsky-like conversation of color that flows with cadence and complexity.  

Tree Spirits II

In cohesive contrast, Thom King’s majestic black and white photographs on metallic paper shimmer with demanding fortitude. Stark and detailed, vast and intimate, these beautifully composed landscapes document King’s 9,000-mile journey across 15 sites of the American West.  The texture of the metallic paper lends an additional component of authenticity in the shimmer of the photographed water, snow, and sky.  Wild stallions and contemplative bison engender powerful energy into these photographs of Devil’s Tower, the Grand Tetons, Yosemite, and Yellowstone. These are monumental works for quiet rumination.
The Narrows

Up next for The Art House is Art By America, a national juried exhibition of two-dimensional artwork with awards up to $1,000. Participating artists will receive all sale proceeds. Click HERE to learn more. For additional information on exhibitions and courses offered at The Art House, please click HERE.

Artists Mary Dorrell and Thom King discuss magical places, their creative processes, and visually capturing powerful animals of the archetypal Southwest in the interview below...

A conversation with painter, Mary Dorrell

-You have described exploring wild and magical places of our natural landscape in your painting. Can you expound on this process?

Looking for the wild and magical is about being close to elements of nature and to my own internal spirit. I begin with slowing down enough to become quiet within myself. Allowing an opening into the un-manifested creativity; the resulting inspiration /idea always ties a connection between the meaning and the image. Much of my work has been about capturing the mystical elements inherent in untouched nature.  Once engaged in the process, I suspend the expectation of outcome which allows me to be purely in the moment, evaluating choices, both instinctual and conscious; decisions that maintain the conversation with the work as it progresses to resolution.

-Your highly textured oil on paper piece, Misty Verdues, is one of the most visually compelling works in the exhibition. Can you speak a little on the context of the piece? 

Misty Verdures (Wet Leaves) is a mono-type (oil painting on zinc plate, transferred to paper with a printing press) on being captivated by the randomly unique patterns of fall leaves on a wet ground. Throughout the making of this piece I was continually captivated by the texture and dynamic contrast.
Misty Verdues

-How do memory and elements of heritage affect the aesthetics of your work? Would you say they are the foundation of your painterly instinct? 

Memory and heritage weave the fabric that provides a foundation of who I am as an artist. I am compelled to create and have been since three years old. I like to think that my pioneer ancestors gave me the determination and connection to nature and that my distant Dutch heritage fuels the creativity and drives my instinct to represent the environment as it interacts with collective memory. 

A conversation with photographer, Thom King:

-Does the title of the exhibition, Exposed, allude to some intimate, raw quality of the rugged landscapes you photograph? 

I feel the title Exposed has many meanings for me; my love for photography began long before digital cameras, smart phones and social media. I learned photography on film, processing and printing photos in a darkroom. It was a multi-step process that really made you think about the image you were about to capture, from the composition of the image to the final print. For Exposed I wanted to return to the roots of landscape photography and the photographers whom I admire. Like in the days before digital cameras and Photoshop I tried to create the final image as much as possible with the proper exposure and composition in camera with minimal post processing in Photoshop. I thought of the process much more for this series than in much of my previous work. 
General Sherman Sequoia

-Can you describe your energy when photographing stallions and bison, powerful animals of the archetypal Southwest? 

The Bison are truly a majestic and impressive animal; they roam Yellowstone National Park and are often seen walking down roads creating traffic back-ups. (Oddly enough, they always seem to walk the roads in the correct direction with the traffic). Being within a few feet of a bison you get the sense of just how powerful they are, seemingly unaware or not caring that we are there. The real gem for me was seeing the wild horses, traveling a 14 mile unpaved road in southwest Wyoming I thought I would reach the end of the road before seeing any wild horses. Then in the distance I spotted them, a group of about 8-10 adults and one colt. I quickly began photographing them as we slowly moved closer. Much to my surprise they did not run away and only moved a little from the road as we approached. The true joy was getting out of the car and walking to within 75 feet of them, I felt like that was close enough for me (after all they are large and wild) and they seemed Ok with my proximity. After I felt like I had enough images I put down the camera and just watched, taking in the scene with all of my senses until they slowly moved away.

Read more on Mary Dorrell and her painting HERE.
Read more on Thom King and his photographs HERE

Photos courtesy of Thom King. 

1 comment: