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Susan Bourdet and Pat Spark are the featured artists for October at Gallery Calapooia. The show runs from September 28 to October 23. With a reception (low key) on October 1st.
Susan Bourdet is offering a new collection of animals and birds this October, including some of the world’s most endangered species like the polar bear and the cheetah. This new work was inspired by the dramatic changes in the natural world and the sad impact of those changes on all creatures. Isolated and stressed by the pandemic, we humans need our connection to the wild more than ever. Outside, we can escape the worries of the pandemic and enjoy a little freedom. Yet we’re seeing many signs every day of stress on the wild places where we seek refuge and on the animals that enliven our world.
Susan has always painted birds and wildlife and been restored and uplifted by nature. Seeing some frightening changes to our local environment, she has become more inspired to paint familiar species. We all know of the plight of the polar bear, but our local songbirds and wildlife species are also having a hard time because of the extreme dryness. “ I am painting now for a little different reason, wanting to make each painting speak for its subject and for the beautiful, distressed habitats we all love. A painting is like any other kind of communication, sharing an idea or a memory. My paintings are my efforts to share the respect I feel for these amazing wild creatures.”
Wild animals and birds survive and thrive in difficult and dangerous environments, not just by adapting genetically, but by understanding and interpreting the subtleties of the world around them. Theirs is a different intelligence form ours, much more closely connected with the natural world. It’s pretty awesome when you think about the way they’ve existed in the harshest settings, surviving not just because of the mystery we call instinct, but because of learned behavior passed from one generation to the next over eons of time.
In her paintings, Susan tries to create a connection between herself, the subject and the viewer, a task accomplished by focusing on the eyes and the body language. “As with any portrait, the personality and intelligence of the individual is illuminated by the expression in the eyes. When I paint the little transparent wash of color for the iris and then add the spark of highlight, the image – if I’m successful – seems to come to life and something of the character is revealed.” This little application of color and light is hard to get just right. “A tiny error in one direction or another changes the direction of the gaze or creates a comical expression where I was striving for dignity! This is a challenge I love more than any other part of the painting because, when it works, the eyes make the connection I’m seeking”.
These paintings are Susan’s efforts to reflect a little bit of the intelligence and awareness possessed by each amazing creature and her awe at the fragile, beautiful complexity of living things. Susan’s new 2022 Songbirds, Hummingbirds and Cats in the Garden calendars and planners will also be available in limited supply.
Like many artists during the Covid Isolation time, Pat Spark has been taking online and more recently, in person workshops to broaden her knowledge of feltmaking and textile dyeing techniques. Three of these workshops have been very influential on the latest work that she is presenting as one of the featured artists in October at Gallery Calapooia. Interestingly enough, all of these workshops involved the idea of making folds to create either actual dimension or the illusion of dimension in cloth. One of the workshops was with Hungarian hat artist, Zsofia Marx. Zsofia, who now lives in the Netherlands, has been teaching online workshops from her studio. Pat became intrigued with the workshop called “Origami Hats’. Ms. Spark created several felt hats for this exhibit using the folding techniques she learned during this workshop.
Pat also studied with Alejandra Prieto Garcia in an online dyeing workshop called Shibori Techniques. While Ms. Spark has worked with these techniques since the late 1960’s. the workshop Ms. Prieto Garcia taught gave her new inspiration and introduced her to the special fold called the “Asanoha” (also know as the Hemp Leaf Fold). This fold and dye technique produces a 12 point star that is pretty spectacular as a repeating image on cloth. Pat combined this folding technique with a different kind of dyeing technique she learned in person from textile artist, Elin Noble. Ms. Noble was teaching a class called “Subtraction and Addition”. The class was about the idea of starting with a dark cloth, removing color in areas of this cloth and then adding other colors back in. This creates an intriguing look with the brighter colors being enhanced by the original dark colors. The effect is quite different than when a person dyes over white cloth.
In all cases, the folds create the area of interest. Without the folds, there would be no patterned surface. Which is why, the pieces for this show are “All About the Folds”!
Marjorie Kinch will be showing at Sybaris for the month of October.
442 W 1st Ave, Albany, OR 97321
Galleries from Salem to Eugene
Take a look at the Art Map of galleries in the Mid-Willamette Valley along the I-5 corridor. You can get a great new paper version of the map at Gallery Calapooia.
Gift Registry and Gift Certificates
Remember that Gallery Calapooia has gift certificates if you don’t know exactly what to get for your friends or loved ones. We also have a gift registry for those of you who really know what you want from the gallery and would like to be able to stop dropping hints! When your significant other says to you, What do you want for Christmas, Hanukah, or….?; You can say you put it in the gift registry at Gallery Calapooia. In addition, we have a great selection of artist made cards and we can wrap your gift for you so you can relax and enjoy any celebration.
Gallery Calapooia is currently looking for new artists to be a part of the gallery. All applications are juried by committee (see links below):
Visit our Events Calendar to keep up with classes and events that will be
occurring at the gallery.
222 W. 1st Ave.
Albany, Oregon 97321
Google Map to the gallery
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 11 am – 3 pm
Gallery Calapooia is a 501(c)(3) organization.
Donations to the gallery are tax-deductible.