new ultra active urban paintings by Jennifer Mercede
May 4 – May 29, 2007
Launch Pad Gallery
534 SE Oak, Portland, Oregon
Outpour is an apt title for the collection of bold, vibrant, stream of consciousness mixed media panels that Jennifer Mercede creates under the guidance of Little Jenni LaLa (Jennifer’s intuitive inner genius).
She freely mixes rose pink, lime green, sky blue, and is not inhibited about gouging into the wood panels with pens to create drawings and incise lines of text, text that sometimes shouts, and sometimes whispers. While the drawings are loose and gestural, Jennifer also shows off her drawing chops in a few well crafted faces in one of the panels. Titles like I copyright my R’s and This Pencil give a sense of the playful and spontaneous nature of her work.
Standing in front of these panels gives one a sense of soaring over the cityscape, here a newly seeded lawn, there a rose garden, a forest park, a high-rise apartment. Each vista is full of life, and we’ve been given the privilege to eavesdrop on the collective chatter.
Below, Anything Goes, mixed media on panel, by Mercede.
Jennifer Mercede has recently settled in Portland after traveling the country and is now a working artist who’s fully engaged with the community. She shows her work in many alternative spaces and teaches art at after-school classes at Buckman; she also co-founded and participates in a women’s art marketing group. She is one of two Portland Open Studios Scholarship winners for 2007.
The Glenn & Viola Walters Cultural Arts Center
527 E Main St., Hillsboro, Portland, Oregon
May 1 – May 31, 2007
There are still two more weeks to catch the exhibit of paintings and prints by Theresa Andreas-O’Leary and Shu-Ju Wang at the Glenn & Viola Walters Cultural Arts Center; the exhibit is up through the end of May, 2007.
Andreas-O’Leary and Wang met in 2006 during Portland Open Studios and hit it off right away. Both have traveled and lived all over the world and are both inspired by the natural and man-made worlds that they live and travel in. Both work in vibrant and layered colors, Andreas-O’Leary in acrylic on canvas and Wang in gouache and screen prints.
Above, Figs and Cardoon by Theresa Andreas-O’Leary.
Andreas-O’Leary, a Portland native and self-taught painter and muralist, has worked in all paint media over the years but recently has focused on acrylics for its vibrant color and translucency. Her canvases range from a few inches by a few inches to large pieces that measure in feet and take up most of the wall. When she returned from South Africa to Lake Oswego in 2000, she set up Andreas Studios where she paints and displays her work. In her studio, one wall is painted black, allowing her vivid canvases to bask in their full glory.
She once called herself a ‘stripe-y’ painter, referring to how she prepares her canvases for the final image. Taking a page from impressionist painters where light is literally represented as the composite of the color spectrums, she paints a layer of segmented colored stripes over the entire canvas. From there, she builds the image layer by layer while controlling the translucency of the paints to allow the original color spectrums to show through at places, or to only vibrate silently underneath at others.
Theresa Andreas-O’Leary received the Chronicle Public Art Award for her composition, “Vine Light”, which now hangs in Lake Oswego’s City Hall.
Shu-Ju Wang was born and raised in Taiwan, but settled in Oregon after stays in Saudi Arabia, California, and New Jersey. Originally trained as a engineer, she left the high tech industry in 2000 to become a full time studio artist working in painting, printmaking, and artist’s books.
Above, Cobwebs in the Fetish Cabinet by Shu-Ju Wang.
Like Andreas-O’Leary, Wang has worked in many painting media but has recently focused on gouache, an opaque watercolor used in many traditional painting techniques throughout Asia, particularly Indian and Persian miniatures and Chinese paintings where she draws much of her inspiration. She also favors working on a small scale, another influence of the miniatures. Of gouache, she can’t praise it enough, “you can paint in thin, thin layers, glazing and building up the image, or you can take advantage of the opacity and make bold statements; and you can come back and re-work the paint after it dries.”
Wang also has several screen prints in this exhibit. She is nationally known for her screen prints using a Japanese made children’s toy, Print Gocco, to make large and complex imagery. She has taught the technique locally and nationally. The toy-factor makes her studio visit a fun event for the whole family, and she plans to do Print Gocco demo again for the 2007 Portland Open Studios event.
Shu-Ju Wang is represented in public and private collections throughout North America.
Tupper Malone (Portland Open Studios artist 2002-2006, and 2007 applicant) is exhibiting her watercolors at Portland City Hall, Commissioner Dan Saltzman’s office from March 1 through April 2. Tupper primarily works in watercolor and collage at this point in her career, but has a BFA in Sculpture from PSU where she studied under Don Wilson (Sculpture) and Jim Hibbard (Printmaking). She switched from 3D work to 2D when she suffered an injury that forced her out of sculpture, and although she has since recovered, she found herself ‘completely swallowed up by paint.’
Tupper is a full time studio artist who has enjoyed Portland Open Studios tremendously over the years, finding the experience of demonstrating and interacting with visitors exhilarating.
This is a brief interview with Tupper, conducted via email. You can see more of her work at her web sites:
Q. As an experienced participating artist, what are some of the best parts of Portland Open Studios?
Receiving feedback from the visitors to my studio and sharing the techniques that I develop and use in my work.
Q. What do you hope visitors take away from the experience? Besides art, that is.
The sense that art is something they can do, too. It’s not just a chosen few who can be an artist. Everyone in their everyday life is an artist – when they stop to see clouds form, a sunset, the light on water, to appreciate the arch in the neck of a horse, to see the beautiful movement of muscle in the running dog, the stateliness of a purring cat – all of is artistic appreciation.
Q. Can you give us a brief description of your work process?
The kind of work I’m doing right now begins with a “watercolor pour” – pouring liquid watercolor through tissues that are lying on top of watercolor paper. The color that seeps through creates a pattern of color. The second step is to take that patterned watercolor paper, superimpose an image over the colorful pattern, and emphasize that image through positive and negative painting.
Q. How about a brief description of your studio environment, which I happen to know is beautiful?
I am very fortunate to have an amazing studio. I rented studio space as a sculptor for nine years. The idea was that I would have a studio at home and be able to give up the rental. I jokingly tell people that we found a studio and a house came with it. The studio was built by the artist Thomas Yerxa, an accomplished oil painter. The space is about 400 sq. feet plus storage. There are skylights and a view of the garden. It is a wonderful and quite place in which to paint and meditate.
[Note: Here’s a photo of the garden and studio that Tupper sent us.]
Q. Do you think that your background in sculpture has influenced the way you work in 2D?
I feel my background in sculpture has made work in two-dimensions somewhat easier for me. Many times I work from my imagination or a photo that I’ve taken. When I’m stumped about which way a line should go, I imagine how it would be if I were sculpting the figure and the lines go where they should. Although, at the same time, I must point out that just as sculpture is part of art, skiing is a part of winter sports. A skier just doesn’t start ice skating and a sculptor just doesn’t start painting. There are techniques in watercolor that I went back to school to learn.
Q. I know you’ve been working with the images of the long horns, can you talk about that a little bit?
On a visit to my brother who lived in the Santiam Canyon east of Salem, I discovered a herd of longhorns in a pasture. I stopped and photographed them and have returned several times to capture them again on film. Initially I painted the animals in traditional transparent watercolor. Subsequently I depicted them in the bright colors of pours and watercolor crayon and named the series of paintings “Technicolor Cows.” I admit that I am enchanted by longhorns. There is a massive strength in the animals that is completely contradicted by the leisurely, steady gaze. I feel that there is something that they know and could share with me but, to date, have chosen not to. I cherish what I consider a connection to animals – an empathy and envy all at once. Perhaps this is just my ego projecting itself onto the animals I paint but I prefer to consider it a gift of seeing, of sensing.
Q. Anything else you’d want our readers to know about what you’re doing/showing?
I try to enter as many exhibitions as possible. The reasons are two-fold: feedback on my work – if it is meaningful to others, and as a means of validation – what I’m spending my life doing makes a difference to others as well as myself. In that way it’s a two-edged sword. I would continue to paint and create no matter what the results might be but not being accepted into competitions can be difficult for an artist. But everybody has to face rejection at times and I am no exception.