The new exhibition at RiskPress Gallery in Sebastopol is Scenic Journey: Sonoma County and Beyond, paintings by Terry Sauvé. Terry begins her landscapes by painting en plein air, which is a French expression that means “painting out-of-doors”. Typically when an artist works in this way they must be quick and keen observers to capture the scene directly before them, as the light and other conditions can change rapidly. While Terry paints what she sees, she does not simply record the view. By also being attuned to the sounds, smells, and mood of the moment, she interprets the essence of the location with greater depth and insight. For example she may intensify a color, or adjust the composition of shapes and patterns to direct the viewer’s eye. Her soft-hued oil paintings are classic in their composition but contemporary in their uncluttered imagery. A good example of this is California Hills and Fields, where, in the foreground, arcs of freshly cut hay are gently bathed by the late afternoon sun, while the last rays glance off golden hills in the background. Sauvé uses the arcs of cut hay to direct our eyes to the homestead, now in the shadow of the hills. The colors and composition evoke a sense of peace and stillness at the end of a good day’s work. The exhibition continues through January 29. For more information check the gallery’s website, www.riskpress.com, or go to the artist’s website, www.terrysauve.com.
Then at the Seager Gray Gallery in Mill Valley, the current exhibition is Inez Storer: Made up Stories from an Imagined Past. Inez is an accomplished and fascinating artist who lives near Point Reyes Station in West Marin. Her mixed-media work makes use of digital technologies along with traditional methods of painting, drawing, and collage. Using a story-board flatness of space, she combines illustrative renderings with bits of text. In this way she narrates her personal stories, blending them with popular imagery as well as imagined and real histories. The artwork suggests various aspects of her life, including objects in her daily surroundings, her connections to Russia, and a mixed cultural background that had been kept hidden from her as a child. The work occasionally makes art historical references to the likes of Matisse, Velasquez, and Rauschenberg. Each of the medium- to large-scale canvases or panels is like a page from a travel journal or postcard—layered with notes, stamps, and other markings collected during its journey through time. In Sailing with Matisse to Tahiti, from 2012, a steamship chugs jauntily through a blue-gray sea, with only a simple horizontal line distinguishing sea from sky. An oversized easel with a canvas is stationed on the back deck, suggesting that the Master may be on board. In the foreground a small green sail boat announces the title in its wind banner, as it sails toward a still life with vase of flowers and pot of brushes, curiously floating on the sea—perhaps some jetsam from the ship. A tiny image of a reclining nude is adhered to the upper right corner of the panel, like a postage stamp assuring delivery of the message. Overall, the collection of work reflects a life long-lived, well-travelled, and mulled over with wry amusement. A reception for the artist will take place on Friday, January 11 from 6 to 8 p.m. The exhibition will be on view through January 31. For more information check their website, www.seagergray.com.
Terry Sauve image from www.riskpress.com.
Inez Storer image from www.seagergray.com.