‘Modern Landscape’ debuts at Danville | New

“I use color to elevate my abstract landscapes, they are representations of places that always come back to me,” he added. “It’s this powerful connection that drives me to use bold colors because I’ve found it’s the best way to convey my affection for the land I see and experience daily.”

Karen Olsen-Dunn lives in San Francisco and has seen her work featured in a number of exhibitions there. The San Francisco State University and California College of the Arts alumnus has a background in psychology as well as art, and uses a wide range of materials in her work.

“Treasure Beyond the Blue” by Karen Olsen-Dunn. (Image courtesy of Village Theater Art Gallery)

“My process is multi-layered. It’s a hybrid between analog and digital, painting, one-print etching, and everyday iPhone shots,” Olsen-Dunn says in her artist statement. “My work is not precious. With bold colors and plastic by intention, the final composition is a complex symphony of contemporary clutter, celebrating the vaguely dark effects of a frayed society.”

New York-based Brian Rutenberg is among the more distant artists featured in the exhibition, with works inspired by his hometown of South Carolina.

“Brian Rutenberg has spent 40 years perfecting a distinctive method of compressing the rich color and shape of his native South Carolina coast into intricate landscape paintings that imbue material reality with a deep sense of place” , indicates the biography of its artist.

Sonoma-based artist and architect James Shay is a more local artist in the exhibit, having transitioned from his passion for architecture to painting after a decades-long career in the latter.

“Break” by James Shay. (Image courtesy of Village Theater Art Gallery)

“In the mid-’90s, Jim’s focus shifted from architecture to painting, and he never looked back,” says Shay’s artist bio. “He has had many solo exhibitions and is represented by many galleries across the country. Jim enjoys skiing, playing tennis and studying ancient Egyptian building and painting techniques. He occasionally does architectural projects, including homes, studios and interiors.”

Shay uses casein and tempera in his paints, described as “two of the oldest painting mediums in existence”, which dry to a matte finish similar to fresco paints and enhanced with a matte varnish. He uses scratching and abrading techniques “to make time seem like it’s passing.”

Liana Steinmetz grew up just south of Shay in Marin County and specializes in landscapes like those wanted for the upcoming exhibit, as well as botanical and abstract subjects.

“Mt. Tam Blues” by Liana Steinmetz. (Image courtesy of Village Theater Art Gallery)

“Painting is a spiritual experience for me,” Steinmetz said in her artist statement. “I don’t know who listens to me when I pray, or who sees me when I look at the stars at night. But I have deep gratitude for Mother Earth, and her natural beauty of which I am a part every day. I can’t think of a more fulfilling way to spend my time on earth, than to make paintings in her honor, each one a tribute to this wonderful planet of wild things we call home.

Dodd, another North Bay artist, plays both a curatorial and an artist role, “Modern Landscape” being the third exhibition she has curated at the Village Theater – following “Color Play 1” and “Color Play 2”.

“I started drawing and painting when I was little and never stopped,” Dodd said on her website. “I studied painting, photography, and papermaking at Clark University and Massachusetts College of Art, and graduated from Sonoma State University in California. Currently, I work full-time in as an artist in my studio in downtown Novato, painting, printing and teaching studios.”

Dodd is also the founder of the Bradford Gallery in San Anselmo, specializing in landscape art.

“Modern Landscape” runs through October 8 at the Village Theater and Art Gallery in downtown Danville.

“Until Tomorrow Becomes Today” by Ellen Levine Dodd. (Image courtesy of Village Theater Art Gallery)

About Margaret L. Portillo

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