June 5, 2007 > Drawn Conclusions
By Pavani V. Kaushik
Springtime witnesses a profusion of art and culture in the Bay area and Fremont certainly has its fair share to display. Olive Hyde Art Gallery is currently a temporary home for "Drawn Conclusions" featuring the work of three artists, Kate Phillips, Samantha Wall and Jeff Phegly. The show which opened Saturday June 1, showcases varying representations of the theme.
"As Curator of the Olive Hyde Art Gallery my main objective is always to present artists to the local community whose work will hopefully broaden the viewer's ideas and perspectives about art." says Sandra Hemsworth who has been instrumental in showcasing some truly interesting and thought provoking art exhibits over the past six years.
Although she enjoys offering both solo and group shows, Ms. Hemsworth finds group presentations more challenging because there is often a wide range of accomplishment and professional skill in the work submitted. This poses an editing challenge. In "Drawn Conclusions," Sandra selected three "mark makers" who reference the body, portraiture, intimacy, emotion and art history, but from very different perspectives.
Kate Phillips, a Scottish artist, currently resides in the Bay Area. Having studied printmaking, she graduated to working in Encaustic, an age-old technique of layering beeswax or resin and fusing pigments with a careful application of heat. Kate creates whole new worlds between layers of wax using found objects, old paper and thread, inviting a closer look. Her 'worlds' tell stories of places and moments long forgotten, suspended in translucence.
In her artist statement, she describes the personal meaning behind her creativity with poetic feeling, "When I paint, I travel to a little world where the light is like that of a late sunny afternoon just as summer is becoming autumn and the glaring sunshine becomes a warmer sleepy glow. It is an in between place where things are not quite as they seem."
Kate states that the ambiguity of the title, "Drawn Conclusions" allowed her to gather freely from a range of materials, creating an interesting series. Her work, inspired by wax, old paper and the invisible workings of time and the universe, is loosely based with the title in mind. This creates scenarios from which viewers can draw their own conclusions. She cites Max Ernst, Joseph Cornell, and Andy Goldsworthy as artists that she admires.
Portland, OR based artist Samantha Wall presents her figurative series of drawings done in graphite and conté crayon. Influenced by the Great Masters she also lists contemporary artists Jenny Saville and Chuck Close as her inspirations. Samantha's work is a reflection of her observations and study of feminine beauty and sensuality. Bearing an "up close and personal" sort of appeal, the larger figures in particular do justice to the artist's intent behind their creation. They force the viewer to do more than just 'see' them. They beg for a detailed 'examination' of their content and creative process.
The drawings evolve with methodical layering of lines applied to the surface of paper to create large, richly textured areas of the female body. This type of mark making serves to abstract the subject matter. The viewer is drawn into a personal dialog, recording the 'in your face', raw physicality of the image, traveling into the realm of the psyche.
"Drawings have always moved me but it wasn't until after a combination of black and white photography and a lithography class in college did I begin to experiment with line and scale," says the artist.
Samantha's work is more than just a representation of female forms. It is an examination of the impact of media on feminine identity itself. The language of her work is intensely personal. But the viewer will find a resonance in its many-layered surfaces.
Jeff Phegly's resume and list of exhibits reads like an adventure. The Portland, OR based artist has degrees in both Graphic Design and Painting. Having tried his hand at oils, encaustic, watercolors, etchings and woodcuts, his journey has led him to explore the medium of Found Object art.
"Over the last few years I have increasingly incorporated found objects into my art." says the artist.
He was first inspired to use cigar boxes as a mount for paintings after viewing nineteenth century daguerreotypes. The idea of tiny separate worlds inside these boxes intrigued him. Each posed different challenges that dictated the size and composition of the painting.
Jeff is inspired by faces, flying machines, found objects, crowds, old photographs, cigar boxes, boats and a host of other materials, many of which find their way into his art. He cites Goya, Rembrandt, and German Expressionists and Leonard Baskin as some of the many artists whom he admires.
"The title [Drawn Conclusions] is a clever play on words," says Phegly. In the process of creating artwork, there is a great deal of investigation that goes into technical processes and subject matter in order to convey a particular idea. The goal is to produce a lasting impression on the viewer.
This show certainly fulfills the intent of Ms. Hemsworth. Presenting current and contemporary approaches to art creates a broad and diverse experience for visitors to Olive Hyde Art Gallery. It also serves to place the Fremont art community in a larger context, connecting it to the Bay area art scene.
"Drawn Conclusions" is open from June 1 to June 30.
Olive Hyde Art Gallery
123 Washington Blvd, Fremont
(corner of Washington and Mission Blvd)
Thursday through Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.