If the drive through the Palouse doesn't inspire your feelings of belongingness to our uniquely western landscape, perhaps these painters will

October 16 – December 5, 2009

Six innovative contemporary painters from four different Western States exhibit work featuring diverse approaches to technique and media.

Squeak Carnwath--A UC professor whose work comes across as a cross between outsider and Pop Surreal, with a hint of lyricism. She works in sculpture, but mostly painting and also printmaking, layering and interweaving images, works, icons and symbolism in a deceptively unschooled-looking, flattened style. Right: Fly, Fight, Fugit.

Roll Hardy--Portland artist whose unsentimental paintings of detritus-filled spaces capture the quiet drama of urban places in transition. Devoid of people, the impact of humans on his landscapes are nonetheless everpresent. There's often a surreal light quality and hazy paint-handling that lends to their overall feeling of inevitable evolution.

Travis Ivey--A younger Wyoming painter whose earlier realistic style has evolved to address the impact of human development on the formerly wide open lands of his native state. Fences, oil rigs and other signs of humanity invade Ivey's distinctly western landscapes.

Mary Josephson--Also from Portland, Josephson's works channel Frida Kahlo's subject matter and outsider-art approach to the figure, with a little bit of Picasso, perhaps. There's an apparent joyfulness to her color use that is undermined by what feels like analytical distance or maybe even skepticism. The results are portraits that attempt to get at the elusive inner quality of the subject.

Kasey Keeler--With a background in Wyoming, New Mexico and Montana, there is an openness to her work that reflects the sense of space we traditionally associate with the west. Yet there is nothing sentimental about her use of color and shape. Instead her style tends toward consummately painted, luscious surfaces that are extremely conscious of the fragile balance between the land and steward.

Michael Schultheis--From his home in Seattle, this cerebral artist transforms color and shape into mathematical notations, resulting in abstract layerings of paint that still retain a sense of expressionist movement. If they were likened to landscapes, one could easily see the gray weight of a Seattle shoreline or the golden glow of a western sunset--albeit expressed in his enigmatic artistic script.

Recording to Scale still on view at Lorinda Knight, Spokane

Bad weather and end-of-week apathy kept me from going to this opening for Lanny De Vuono and Linda Kraus-Perez but fortunately the work is still up until October 31. De Vuono is on sabbatical from Eastern Washington University in Colorado right now, presenting here some new work and a few pieces from 2008. Kraus-Perez is an EWU alum and has taught at various colleges locally.

From Lorinda Knight Gallery press release:

"Lanny De Vuono and Linda Kraus-Perez explore the relationship between nature and culture. DeVuono’s paintings often come in several parts as diptychs or triptychs. Kraus-Perez uses caulk to build varied low relief before she adds pigmented oil paint.

DeVuono is interested in how we construct interpretations of nature. Her subjects include the sky (with planes flying among the clouds), the earth (often with buildings dotting the landscape) and water (with helicopters hovering over the dark waves). Sometimes she takes a distant view of a flooded landscape or mountain range. Sometimes she focuses on individual trees or building elements. The variation in scale among parts and the box-like construction of the paintings reinforce the idea that we create cultural artifacts in order to reflect our own perceptions of what exists in the world.

Kraus Perez invented a process that recalls the way remains of previous events have been embedded in the strata of the earth. She might take notice of her grandmother’s knick-knacks or wilted flowers or the crumbs left over from last night’s dinner. It’s all material for her invented calligraphy. She builds up fragments of color, texture and line to create varied levels of content. The shapes and colors seem to be in flux, emerging from and sinking into the background layer.

Both artists are recording to scale artifacts and features that may be distant in space or time and yet tug at our attention because they matter here and now. "