FROM THE FOREST FLOOR & ZEUXIS; FLOWERS AS METAPHOR
November 17th through December 15th, 2016
Opening Reception: Thursday. November 17th, 4-6 PM
Artist Talk: November 22nd. 1:30 PM in the Art Gallery
FROM THE FOREST FLOOR
From the Forest Floor
In this series of still life paintings, I have arranged found objects from the forest floor on a tabletop to create a landscape type of space. Although the objects are painted from observation, I extract the color from memories of landscape, times of day, the sky at evening, noon, or dawn.
Much of the work in my sabbatical exhibition is a result of a residency at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in Amherst, VA. While there I began hunting for objects in the forest near the campus. One day I found a deer skeleton, drying in a ravine, and I came back with vertebrae from the cervical spine. I also picked up rocks, pods, and tree blossoms. The writers and artists at the residency began leaving natural objects at my studio door or in my mail box. Their contributions found their way into my paintings.
My approach to the watercolors in this show comes from many experiences painting outdoors on the site, when the elusive conditions of light and weather make it necessary to work quickly, getting things down with the right tone or the right mark. Painting from direct observation in the studio I work like a landscape painter. I go all out without making many corrections, and at a certain point things feel right.
The color charts are part of my working method and act like notes on the keyboard. I refer to them when I am trying to come up with the right colors and tonal aspects for paintings. The colors themselves inspire me to paint.
ZEUXIS: FLOWERS AS METAPHOR
by Deborah Kirklin
ZEUXIS; Flowers as Metaphor
Flowers in paintings, whether they are displayed in baroque, towering masses, or simply, as in the image of a lone daffodil leaning in a glass of water, have held a centuries-long appeal. Beginning with Dutch still life paintings of the 16th century, artists painted flowers for a growing middle class of patrons who wanted to display these works of art in their homes. The verisimilitude and craft of these paintings included details down to droplets of water and tiny insects crawling on leaves. The flowers themselves, tulips for example, could be seen as metaphors for wealth. There were symbolic uses of certain flowers and colors as well. Flowers in paintings can be metaphors for the fleeting nature of life, for youth, love, cultural identity, female anatomy, and death.
In Jane Kenyon’s poem, the memory of delphiniums and burgundy lilies conjure the warmth, movement, and sensuality of summer and relieves the reader of the colorless landscape of winter and despair. The poet creates a visual image, much like a painter, and the flowers are a metaphor for hope.
February: Thinking of Flowers
Now wind torments the field,
turning the white surface back
on itself, back and back on itself,
like an animal licking a wound.
Nothing but white—the air, the light;
only one brown milkweed pod
bobbing in the gully, smallest
brown boat on the immense tide.
A single green sprouting thing
would restore me…
Then think of the tall delphinium,
swaying, or the bee when it comes
to the tongue of the burgundy lily.
Credit: Jane Kenyon, “February: Thinking of Flowers” from Collected Poems. Copyright © 2005 by The Estate of Jane Kenyon. Reprinted with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc. on behalf of Graywolf Press.