Exploring Abstraction

September 1, 2022



Gallery One is pleased to announce the September show, “Exploring Abstraction,” which opens September 1 through September 27, 2022.

Abstract words are used to describe notions, concepts, and things that can’t readily be observed by your five senses, words like good or bad, truth, bravery, are examples. Likewise, abstraction in art is an expression that uses visual language in the form of colors, geometric shapes, gestural marks, and non-representational imagery to express a message to the viewer. The movement is all about intuition and freedom for the painter and invites the viewer to interact. In contrast to landscape paintings or traditional realism, abstract art focuses instead on the pure visual quality of the work, allowing colors and shapes to do the talking about what an image represents.  For centuries, artwork was always expected to be representational. It had to be a picture of something – a tree, a person, a bowl of fruit. Deeper subtext relied on very literal interpretations of the images depicted. For example, if an artist wanted to evoke feelings of freedom, they might paint a bird, because of the visual characteristics associated with birds, like flight or wings. In contrast an abstract artist accepts the challenge to evoke those same feelings of freedom without showing the viewer a literal bird or any recognizable forms at all. The artist isn’t called upon to render a photorealistic rendering of a bird, but instead, to take their viewer on an emotional and aesthetic journey without the shorthand of the bird to rely on.  This month the artists of Gallery One are inviting us on just such an exploration of the abstract. In artist, Eileen Olson’s acrylic, “The Tide Rushes In,” we experience her morning inspiration.  “My daily morning visits to the ocean is where, and when I meditate. Meditation is my way of quieting my spirit to allow a free flow of energy onto the canvas.” In swirls of navy and turquoise we experience with the artist the morning sea in its waves and tumult as the water’s edge meets the sand and the distant surf touches the sky. In Cheryl Wisbrock’s acrylic painting, “Convergence.,” we are similarly invited, with the vibrant shades of blue and organic patterns in the artists brushwork, into the flow of water and the movement of clouds across the sky, or perhaps the wake behind a boat. The viewer is encouraged to bring their own feelings, and personal interpretations.

Abstraction need not be unrecognizable, however. To abstract also means to coalesce the most important parts of something into its most concise rendering. This can be seen in artist Dale Sheldon’s, “Wetland Abstract,” in acrylic, soft greens suggest plant life, while diagonal lines in shades of blue represent water. Varied shapes, sizes, values and colors create a slightly abstracted landscape. While in Lesley McCaskill’s oil painting, “Into the Woods,” we are immersed in the greens, and yellows of the forest in full bloom. In artist Laura Hickman’s oil painting, “Village with Blue Doors,” Hickman has carved the painting into graphic shapes and high key colors to convey the essential elements of a lovely village street, while in Cindy Beyer’sRockin Flame” a pastel, the art evolved into an abstraction after her visit to a national park outside of Boston.

In “Sierra Sunset,” a watercolour painting by Joyce Condry, the shapes and colors found in our western states:  the warm tones of the buttes, mesas and desert sands and the cloudless blue skies offer an unforgettable contrast to our cool eastern landscapes. Mary Bode Byrd’s acrylic, “Above the Indian River Bridge,” affords us a bird’s eye view of the bridge and ocean. We see, in her crisp graphic style, beautiful deep blues, and turquoise green, juxtaposed with warm coral and golden shades, possibly sand and sea, and sky, but open to your interpretation.

In Marybeth Paterson’s oil, “Market Sunflowers,” the artist has honed her love of summer into the simplicity of a jaunty floral. Golden sunflowers overflow from a vase, their faces seemingly each vying for our attention before summer slips out of our reach.