Summer 2016: Artwork
In this summer's art, I see layers. I see pieced memories, blurred boundaries, and repeated forms. I see processes revealed -- processes at least as important as the final products. I also see, via four different mediums, four women for whom layering and process are metaphors for life beyond art.
Katherine Mead's collage materials are many and varied. Her act of combining the collage medium with painting makes for imagery that is both architectural and organic, material and memory driven at once.
Layers of color, repeated geometric forms, and the tactile nature of textile make for a rewarding viewing experience when it comes to Sarah Laird's dyed fabric pieces. Organic forms on the fabric and the structural angles of the hand-pieced products form a satisfying dichotomy.
Carolyn Campbell's photomontage portraits concern identity and kinship, shared experiences and concerns through the employment of cloudy overlays. It came as no surprise to learn that some of her other artistic interests include mask making and theatre.
Feature artist Jeni Lee lets memories of the natural world bubble out and emerge through paint on panel. We don't just see her work -- we experience it. The veil between art and life thins, and we get lost in the best possible way.
Featured Art by Jeni Lee
The first time I saw Jeni Lee's artwork in person, it was an unseasonably cool and rainy day. I ducked into her basement studio where paintings greeted me with soft bursts of diffuse, bright color. I thought of reflections on a windy pond, or dappled sunlight peeking through gaps in a forest's leafy canopy. I spent the afternoon soaking up the artist's encounters with the natural world.
Inspired by land, sea, and sky, Lee's work (largely acrylic paintings on panel) abstracts her impressions of landscape. An absence of definitive outlines merges boundaries not only between forms, but between viewer and painting: The work can seep into us like a distant memory.
Artist residencies in Kauai, New Mexico, Vermont, and Central Oregon have helped fill Lee with experiences of "rich landscapes" to fuel her paintings, but Portland has a continuing importance to her artistic life as well. Lee is a regular participant in the annual Portland Open Studios event, received her BFA from Portland State University, and has been known to take paintings outside in the infamous Portland rain to let the weather literally interact with her work.
Jeni Lee has lived and traveled in the some of the most diverse landscapes of the West, including the coastal countryside, high mountain valleys, and the lush Northwest. Jeni works daily out of her Portland art studio and shows her work locally and beyond. Follow on www.jenileeart.com and Instagram @jenileeart.
Of her own work, Jeni says, “I often roam the landscapes, collecting colors and forms for my work. I invite those experiences, with the paint, to emerge on the canvas, unfolding layers and evoking associations. Mary Oliver’s poetry reminds me of this process, of not only surrounding oneself in the emotion and elements of nature, but allowing the work to be about our relationship to it.”
Enjoy a sampling of Jeni Lee's work in VoiceCatcher's Featured Artist Gallery:
A sampling of the powerful female creative force thriving in our region.
Six women dazzle us with both their honesty and humor.
Four artists use layering and process as metaphors for life beyond art.
Meet the fabulous women behind the voices and visions of our ninth issue.