SURFACES: Works by Kate Jackson, Dana Mano-Flank, Denise Oyama Miller and Michelle Park

Visit the Lobby Galleries now through April 25 to experience the work of four talented women from our Northern California region.

Plush or firm. Sleek or weathered. Silky or prickly. Certain art media have inherently tactile surface textures. We see them and immediately want to run our fingers over the work to make a physical sensory connection. Other media can be used to create implied surface textures that engage our senses through suggestion, memory or metaphor.

Denise Oyama Miller, Sanctuary, textiles

Denise Oyama Miller’s patterned fabrics work together to create the illusion of diverse physical surfaces like flower petals and stone pillars; subtly different in color or pattern, they allow the artist to develop highlights and shadows. At the same time, most of us respond to the comfort and warmth we associate with quilted materials; we may also feel the pull of memory in examining the small details – a swatch from grandmother’s apron or a fragment of pillow covers long since discarded.

Dana Mano-Flank, Pathway, mixed media on canvas (triptych)

With a fractured stone, delicate flower or fading leaf, Dana Mano-Flank’s paintings speak to us of nature and transience. These thoughtful combinations of materials slow us down and provide space for quiet reflection. Her muted color palette allows our eyes to focus on the surfaces of the natural objects as well as the paint beneath. The textures vary; some are brittle, dusty or dull, while others are light, dewy or sparkling. Each surface evokes emotional responses that connect to the objects embedded within.

Kate Jackson, String Theory, fluid acrylics on canvas

Fluid paints can swirl or soothe us with their varied interactions. Kate Jackson allows her medium to wash over the canvas and through our view, taking us on a visual journey through each painting. We are pulled in to the twisting vortexes of whirlpools or black holes. We are carried away on waves of color cascading like waterfalls. We are buoyed up, floating into distant galaxies and sunset skies. Colors suggest emotional response, while the lines and shapes created by the movement of paint across the surface stimulates our imagination.

Michelle Park, Nesting, tea bag, dryer lint, red bud pods, embroidered cloth mounted on wood

Michelle Park is, perhaps, the artist here who is most drawn to unexpected materials and textures. Her surfaces make direct reference to ideas and issues. Fired clay shows us strength gained through transformation. Transparent and delicate, animal gut and hair reference the fragility of our physical existence. Used tea bags, dryer lint and other found objects suggest that we are all too ready to discard when we should examine. These textures – hard or soft, permanent or ephemeral – elicit our scrutiny and arouse a “gut level” reaction we cannot ignore.

The four artists in this exhibition use surfaces and textures that invite us to examine their work closely. They also use layers of surfaces to suggest layers of feeling. We are asked to dig below the surface – the visual surface – to explore depths of meaning and emotion.

The exhibition is on view in the Carnegie Arts Center’s Lobby Galleries January 27 – April 25, 2021

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