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In just a week I’ll be at the reception for my show at SMINK in Dallas.  Jennifer Smink asked me to make something really big for the exhibition, and here it is – Water Chart – about 53 x 64.”  It was a great challenge to work on this scale, especially because the supports (foam core and mat boards) had to be specially ordered and everything took longer than I expected.  Getting the whole composition to flow and connect and to balance depth with expanse presented new problem at this size.    There are multiple dimensions to perceive here, not just height and width but layered depth, as some squares are three layers deep – hard to convey, really, in a photograph.

The reception will be next Saturday evening at SMINK, 1019 Dragon Street, Dallas.  Please come by if you are in the area.  sminkinc.com

 

 

Dara1

My work will be in an exciting show in the Palm Springs, CA, area over the next couple of months.  Artist friend Joe Novak has curated an exhibit of his favorites from the 20th century and beyond.  Well-known names include Odilon Redon, Robert Rauschenberg, Larry Bell and James Turrell.  There will be works by several New Mexico modernists like Agnes Pelton, Emil Bistram, Bea Mandelman, Louis Ribak and Lawrence Calgano.  Also included are Santa Fe-based artists  Larry Fodor, Gregory Frank Harris, and August Muth and others from California and elsewhere.  Great company to be in!

You probably can’t read the quote above, but Joe writes: “Art is …a living and breathing force that lives within us, a force that has captivated artists and for which we have a passion that in a sense has conquered us.”  I agree.

If you are in Southern California in April or May, I invite you to visit Rebecca Fine Art Gallery.

Release #2

Release #2/Wayne

I have been thinking of the pleasures of tradition as I’ve been listening to new music at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival this summer.  Yesterday, in particular, during a concert of works by young composers-in-residence, the new sounds elicited from classically trained musicians on their conventional instruments had my ears perking up.  The music sounded both old and fresh, familiar and newly introduced.  This dichotomy engages one’s deep memories while surprising us into paying complete attention.   Nothing, not rhythm, tonality, harmony or melody can be taken for granted, and yet the format (in this case) was the string quartet, as well-established as can be.

Something similar operates in my paintings, with their traditional framed formats.   The watercolor medium still employs gum arabic from acacia trees and many of the pigments have been used for centuries, altho some are now synthetic.  On the other hand, the translucent synthetic paper I use (Yupo) has only been available since the end of the last century, so the ability to layer transparencies is new, and Yupo’s non-absorbent surface causes the paint to behave in unprecedented ways.   Abstraction itself now has a grand tradition of over a hundred years but offers plenty of unexplored territory.

Release #2/Wayne is another in the series of elegies for my husband.  There’s something about the color and softness, the upright format and upward-rising visual flow that feels to me like an abstract portrait of him.

Elegy #18  watercolor on layered translucent Yupo paper 40 x 41

Elegy #18
watercolor on layered translucent Yupo paper
40 x 41″

I’ve added a new page to this site, a “gallery”showing a selection of paintings from this past year.  Altogether, there are over 30 Elegies and Releases.  Not only was it important to honor Wayne’s memory in this way, these were also the only paintings I could have made while grieving.  The series has taken me into some new territory of emotional expression.  Without any deliberation on my part, they reflect the range of my feelings and provide images of spiritual movement and change.  As you will see if you click on the “Elegy” page button (above) I have also in some cases dropped the repetitive elements that have been mainstays for several years.

2009, watercolor on layered synthetic paper, 40 x 60"

                       Galisteo #2 – 2009, watercolor on layered synthetic paper, 40 x 60″

This large painting, inspired in color by glorious autumn cottonwoods along the Galisteo River, has been selected for purchase by the Farmington Regional Animal Shelter.  Facilitated by the New Mexico Arts, Art in Public Places Purchase Initiative, the placement seems so appropriate to the life-affirming mission of the shelter.  I’m really pleased and proud to think of my work hanging there.  Actually, they are buying two paintings, but I thought I’d show you this vibrant, exuberant one.

Galisteo #2 was made in 2009, obviously a good year for cottonwoods.  Looking at it again I’m reminded of how much my work depends on forces beyond my conscious control.  Although I had no plan for this piece beyond the color, somehow it conveys a sense of trees in sunlight that is purely fortuitous.  I find that the more I allow life, paint, events, to arrive of their own accord, the richer my experience and the better my art.

Elegy #9

Elegy #9 – watercolor on translucent Yupo paper – 30 x 35″

Gebert Contemporary on Canyon Road here in Santa Fe is showing some paintings from my Elegy series.  The Elegies, in honor of my late husband Wayne Gibson, have been a way of resuming my art practice after Wayne died.  They are mostly black and white, with blue coming to predominate in the latest ones.  This is a particularly intuitive series in which I’m allowing feelings and impulses to guide me down some new paths.  Elegy #9, above, for instance, is simpler and more graphic than previous work.

I am honored and pleased to have work on Canyon Road once again – it has been nine years, I think, since EVO Gallery closed at that location.  Driving up the historic and lovely road has been bringing back some wonderful memories, and a sense of being once again in the “heart” of Santa Fe’s art community.  Gebert Contemporary has for some time now offered a premier roster of both local and international artists that I’m proud to join.

Santa Fe friends, you are invited to Gebert now and over the holidays to see this group show, which includes work by local artists Dirk DeBruycker, Ricardo Mazal, Munson Hunt, Grant Hyunga, Cov Jordan and others.  My paintings are in the old house, both first and second floors.  Enjoy the exhibit and have a joyful holiday season!

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Every once in a while someone says something about my work that absolutely floors me, and I know  I’ve succeeded in what I set out to do, which is to present the beauty of being.  Recently, Devon Lind wrote that “it’s as though the fabric of the universe is woven through your work.”   Thank-you so much, Devon, for putting into words what I have a hard time saying.   This painting, Driftwood #1, seems the perfect expression of her idea, with its vertical rhythms and horizontal visual flow.

Wayne and I had a lovely time in Sun Valley.  Andria Friesen and her gallery crew gave us a warm welcome, and Kaley Pruitt, the talented dancer who interpreted my work at the opening reception, presented dances that were spot-on and engaging.  My paintings are hung with great care and look beautiful in the space.  As a bonus, the Sun Valley Wellness Festival held a party in the gallery the next night, with face-painting and music.  Dara Mark evite

Chi Gong #4
With color as soft as a breath, Chi Gong #4 embodies the flowing energies of chi. Just looking at it helps me breathe more deeply and freely. But you don’t have to understand the concept of chi to “get” this painting; its expansive vertical flow and airy blues are there for anyone to feel. Or simply enjoy its beauty in a visual way. This is my gift to you, posted just before Christmas.

Chi Gong #8 – watercolor on synthetic paper

My fourth one-person show at SMINK in Dallas opens on Saturday, October 13th.  I’ll be exhibiting work from the Chi Gong series as well as other paintings with repeating horizontal bars of color.  If you are in Dallas, please come and see the show.

As explained in the post before this, I do chi gong, or energy practice, before beginning to paint in the studio.  Among the many forms of chi gong, I was lucky enough to learn a very yin, or allowing, form that addresses not only the physical but also the mental/spiritual self.  It’s the perfect preparation for the art I do, centering and opening me to the energies of the present moment.

The chi gong practice begins with specific postures and the mantras that accompany them, then the body is simply allowed to move of its own accord.  Lately I’ve been appreciating how much this form has influenced my art process, which is to set up specific rules of shape and size, etc., then let the paint move.  It requires a certain faith that the outcome will be appropriate, and it’s never the same twice.

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