by, Bill Baran-Mickle
Roby King Gallery has mounted an exhibition of three painters with strong, well developed personal styles. “Three Visions of the Northwest: Brooke Borcherding, Taralee Guild, Paul Polson” offers a wonderful display of complimentary landscapes.
It seems fitting to highlight Paul Polson’s artwork first. After all, he has been painting since he was 12 years old and is now over 70. The works in this exhibition are landscapes, mostly from his new home area of coastal Astoria, Oregon. He lived in Kitsap for several years after a long stint in Seattle. These works have a somewhat chunky brush stroke which he refers to as a “staccato rhythm” or “strata paintings.” Some of his landscapes have horizontal layers that visually recall the crosscut depictions of earth. He can imbue his personal observations and opinions within this build-up of layers.
Of interest, to me at least, is his approach. For him, the layers often begin at the tabula rasa stage. Rather, avoiding the bright white, blank, starter page stage. He described beginning by splashing the canvas with paints and turpentine, then smearing and blotting it away. What is left is a random, already tinted surface that he then uses to help him bring out the ultimate surface image in a sort of collaborative authorship process. He has said it feels more successful to partner with the paint that to try to fully control it. The results seem serene as if you are a part of that landscape.
Brooke Borcherding’s acrylic paintings have a gestural, expressive result. Her brush strokes have the viewer entering her scenes with a quick sense of capture, as if you were passing by and almost missed it. Borcherding’s strong horizontal swatches with stacked and dotted color mixes are engaging. Their light and color are very fresh. The works are post-impressionistic with a hint of Fauvism, a la Cezanne, Braque and Gauguin for the late 1880s into the turn of the next century.
Borcherding studied painting formally, but the plein air painting that she does exclusively is self-taught. Plein air painting puts the artist “on the spot” quite literally and demands decisions be made rapidly. One can study others’ painting styles, but it takes time to then develop a style where personal taste and the history of landscape painting flows through the mind and hand to be distilled rapidly, one canvas at a time. Boorcherding achieves a unique style that works well for our modern times.
Taralee Guild is a Canadian artist, working in Vancouver, B.C., who also started her interest in art around age twelve. While she works on two distinctly different ongoing series, she is exhibiting a great one to start with for Bainbridge Islanders, especially as she is a new gallery artist for Roby King.
Guild’s acrylic paintings are immediately reminiscent of cathedrals, especially if they could be built entirely of stained glass. This is most felt by “Cedar Riot” as the view perspective is straight up, land to sky, and the feelings magnified by the colors, the sense of light, as well as its scale, six by four feet. The viewer is standing in the forest. Aptly titled as a series, “Cathedral Forest Series,” these paintings are rather breathtaking. Although these particular tree canopies are located further north in British Columbia, I think Bainbridge Islanders can relate to a forest’s spiritual uplift in the Grand Forest and other locations on the island, and our Olympic Peninsula offerings. Guild’s images refer to site specific locations from “protected forestry in British Columbia, including Stanley Park in Vancouver and Cathedral Grove outside Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. In any case, Guild’s series definitely invites or advertises frequent visits for forest experiences. Everyone could use a visit to these “cathedrals” about now.
Three Visions of the Northwest: Brooke Borcherding, Taralee Guild, Paul Polson
June 3 to 26, 2022
Roby King Gallery
176 Winslow Way E.
Bainbridge Island, WA
Open: Wednesday – Saturday 12 – 5 PM, Sunday 12 – 4 PM
CLICK HERE TO READ OTHER FIRST FRIDAY FOCUS & EBB and FLOW ARTICLES BY BILL
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Ebb & Flow: The Art of Jan and Chris Hopkins
Ebb & Flow: “Threads of Connection” Jason Devinney and Caroline Cooley Browne
Ebb & Flow: Tracy Lang
ABOUT BILL BARAN-MICKLE: 2020 Island Treasure Awardee. Recently, Bill has enjoyed exhibiting in several international art biennial exhibitions. Of the three in which he has participated, he won Third Place for Sculpture from the European Confederation of Art Critics in the Chianciamo Biennale, at the Chianciano Art Museum in Italy in 2011, and First Place in Applied Arts in the London Biennale of 2013. In 2013 alone, he will have participated in eight exhibitions: from London to a two-person exhibition near home. In addition, Bill was asked to be a representative for CCAC’s exhibition celebrating 100 years of the Metals Department, and a mix of group shows in New York City, Miami, Seattle and Las Vegas. Bill is the designer of the 10 foot Equitorial Bowstring Sundial located at the Richie Observatory in Battle Point Park on Bainbridge Island, WA and completed in 2015.