"Beyond the Usual"
September 9 through November 8
132 Petaluma Boulevard
Reception Saturday, September 12 from 5-9pm
Music with Michael Hantman on guitar with vocals
Enjoy Sonoma County wines and finger foods
Featured Show: Beyond The Usual
A Four-Artist Featured Show
In a kind of topsy-turvy, defying-expectations kind of Featured Show, four long-standing Riverfront artists are addressing a single theme: "Beyond The Usual". The show title is due to the fact that each one is going beyond her usual medium into something quite different and totally unrelated. In true artistic spirit they have been willing to put themselves on the line, daring to step out of their sphere of expertise, even agreeing to feature the medium that is not their mainstay, and showing us where they currently are with their new endeavors.
Who are these artists who have dared to challenge themselves, evolving as artists by taking on yet another complex set of skills?
❖ Painter Karen Spratt put away her canvases and is showing photography.
❖ Photographer Cathy Thomas took out her scissors and paste and is showing collage.
❖ Photographers Jerrie Jerné and Sharon Feissel have put down the camera and picked up the paint brush.
Ah, yes, you agree. This is a topsy-turvy kind of show--and all the more unusual and interesting for that reason. We celebrate their spirit and creativity and the evolving "persona" each has as an artist. On the following pages, you will see examples of their chosen "other" medium and will read their own thoughts on going beyond the usual.
Painter Karen Spratt
Karen Spratt is a well-known Petaluma painter whose works are collected regionally. She is also appreciated for the delightful sense of humor she imparts to many of her works. However, for this Featured Show, Karen is venturing into the realm of photography where she feels a bit vulnerable, but she says, "Becoming aware of such photographic issues as contrast, color saturation, and focal point encourages me to remember those qualities when I go back to painting. This illustrates that mediums, no matter how different, can inform each other."
Explaining her connection to photography, Karen says, "I rarely paint straight out of my head. Sometimes I look at the actual object I'm painting, like a teapot or a flower. Most of the time I look at photographs of what I want to paint. I refer to the collection of photographs I have taken or sometimes to images from the Internet. As a painter, I consider my iPhone camera an important tool. When I see something I'm thinking of painting, an interesting object or setting, I start clicking away."
However, you will not see Karen's painted scenes in this show. She has other reasons for these photographic selections. "Every once in a while I get a photo I really like, but I don't think it will translate well into a painting. A really unique object can just look wrong when painted, such as the wonderfully-sculptured gardens at "Château Marqueyssac, France" (above). It's a place where the real thing is unusual enough. It simply wouldn't look real as a painting. And Pere LaChaise Cemetery in Paris is a place I love to photograph, but it isn't a good subject for painting.
Shakespeare & Company is such a charming Paris bookstore, but none of the many photos I've taken there would make a good painting. Other places I have been to are visually stunning, but a painting can't do the scenery justice. So, I leave them as photographs and am showing some of them here."
Photographer Cathy Thomas
Cathy Thomas is mainly a photographer with collections of photographs on themes that might be termed Social Documentary, such as her series on tattoos adorning Petaluma residents. She does, of course, do more standard subjects, such as gardens and landscapes, especially of Ireland. However, like two other artists in this show, Cathy reached beyond photography to a totally different art form to further express her creativity. She opted for collage.
Although collage was being done for centuries, the Cubists, Picasso, Braque, and Gris, are credited with its use as an abstract art form, with Picasso taking it into three-dimensional forms. Collage is considered abstract work even though the individual objects are generally recognizable. It is their juxtaposition and unique combinations that make the whole image not a direct representation of reality. A collage certainly can express political, environmental, or sentimental realities by revealing those messages through the combination of items.
Cathy began with three-dimensional pieces, such as "Peacock Sea" (above). She says, "I have friends with wild peacocks on their property where an abundance of feathers lie. I love the sea that offers so many glorious shades of blue and green. The idea of combining those colors with the feathers inspired "Peacock Sea". This piece took quite a while- possibly a couple of months. I just couldn't get the 'right' effect and moved the feathers and papers around a lot with numerous additions and deletions."
With Cathy's part of the Beyond The Usual show, we see that she, like the other artists in the show, is still searching, experimenting, exploring, and evolving in ideas, mediums, and techniques.
Photographer Jerrie Jerné
Showing Acrylic Paintings
Movement, color, and a certain flair are intrinsic to Jerrie Jerné, being natural to her as well as being essential for her. "I love dance. I always have. Color is a close second," she says.
But let us backtrack a bit from the upcoming show. Jerrie has been toting a camera around for a couple of decades. While she has done the usual landscapes and flowers, she has also often sought out patterns and abstracts in such things as architecture, rock formations, and bark patterns. Needing to be a bit more expressive, Jerrie began taking selected photographs and using digital programs to distort, twist, turn, and recolor the image into genuine abstracts. Her digitally-produced series echoed Jerrie's love of movement and color and were definitely done with a certain flair. Often she just started playing with the static form and ended up with something quite unique.
Fast forward to 2015 and we find Jerrie with tubes of paint and a stack of canvases. She says, "Walking into a painter's life has come easy for me. As a photographer I have always used my camera as my brush, searching for the pattern or shape that is usually unseen by most. Creating an abstract using my photography as my palette was my direction for almost 6 years, but somehow starting with an existing image seemed a bit confining. Actually, when it comes to self expression, painting is definitely easier than photography! It isn't hard to let the painting tell me where it wants to go. This has been a great experience."
Referring to specific pieces, Jerrie comments, "I am finding my intent and the outcome are always different. My paintings take on a personality of their own, which I love! But with "Infinitis" (above) it was a bit startling. I intended to work in a different direction, but on its own the piece became so dark, angry, and intense that it almost scared me, especially when a screaming face emerged. I actually stopped and left it alone for a while. Adding turquoise seemed to pull it out of the darkness. That piece eventually seemed cathartic. I had a sense of release from some things I had been feeling.
Photographer Sharon Feissel
Showing Paintings & Mixed Media
"I didn't exactly take a flying leap into painting," Sharon Feissel comments about her recent move from photography to acrylics and mixed media. "In fact, I was interested in painting decades before I picked up the camera. When my children were small, I signed up for a watercolor class. During critiquing, the instructor remarked that my sense of proportion was no good. I didn't have things, size-wise, in the proper relationship. I assumed that such a disability was a 'fatal flaw' and that I couldn't be a painter. Then I tried stone carving with reasonable results, but my allergies got much worse from breathing stone dust. That medium also went by the wayside.
Now I have paint tubes and brushes, canvases and collections of potential "stuff" in my kitchen. I have not found acrylics to be easy exactly, and a blank canvas stares me down and intimidates me, but I have at least gotten started, having done a few realistic pieces, some geometrics, and some mixed media works and abstracts. This too is simultaneously satisfying and dissatisfying.
The satisfaction is considerable; the dissatisfaction due mostly to, at times, being stumped for ideas and to needing to perfect my handling of the paints and figuring out how to incorporate things I want to attach to mixed media pieces, such as the coffee grounds and egg shells in "Meanderings" (above). But satisfaction leads to complacency. Complacency isn't known to produce art, so I don't mind the dissatisfaction...much."
"Meanderings" is a four-piece work that will be the center piece of Sharon's show. In addition, she will have geometric pieces, and pieces with beaded accents. She says, "It isn't exactly a cohesive show, but it represents where I am in this recently adopted medium."