INTRODUCTION by Erin Lindsay Dodson
In this exhibition, Melissa Powlas, Lisa Rogers, and Jeanne Rittmueller share their explorations in the interactions between colors in paint through various forms of abstraction – finding the energy in edges, layers, and shapes.
Each of these artists uses color as a tool, with differing results. Rittmueller finds inspiration in the traditional patterns of quilts, but uses them to create simple, geometric abstractions with vibrant color interactions. Rogers employs color as one of the elements of her visual vocabulary, using it along with shape and line to convey her reactions to real events. Powlas’ colors also refer to memory and experience, and she assigns emotional value to colors and their reactions to each other.
Humans have been mixing pigments with binding agents and applying them to surfaces for thousands of years. The viewer may tend to take color for granted, and perhaps viewing this selection of works can inspire him or her to consider what color is: an experience of the human eye and brain interpreting the spectrum of light bouncing off objects or particles. The works in this show call special attention to color, both its physicality and the ideas it can convey.
My work is formed through conversations with color. Introducing an awkward shade of pink to an introverted grey, or giving a particularly loud hue of orange a quiet place in the corner to rest is all a part of the fun. Colors will argue then agree and often times find themselves with the most unexpected partner.
The colors I tend to use are usually references to childhood memories or current day experiences. The apron my great aunt wore, a page from an old recipe book, or an afghan on my grandmother’s couch may all find themselves inspiring my work. My paintings are a secret code of colored memories. I work with the hope that others will find their own relationship with color and how it relates to the world around them.
I am attracted to imagery that draws a viewer in through color and shape – architecture, abstraction in nature, haute couture fashion. Form and function can interchange with palette to impart a primary message or at its most basic, the beauty of colors at play. Inspired by geometric abstracts found in basic quilting forms, this series is a playful take on those tenets: graphic, modern, often complex, and timeless… shapes dancing gracefully, or combatively, side by side. The true art of quilting lies in its ability to satisfy the needs of many via its startling, universal language: craft, form, detail, timeliness… the same values intrinsic in many of our great works of art. With this collection of ‘Bits & Pieces’, I quilt in homage to that influence.
My artwork uses a personal vocabulary and mark making, and includes drawing, painting and printmaking techniques. Each piece is a response to an event – a particular moment or feeling. There are elements of planned overlaps and separations, as well as accidental collisions. They express a need to be autonomous yet connected, to be suppressed while maintaining touch with another, to be alone but vitally linked to Nature. Each piece has its own voice. Each painting holds the possibility of change.
This group of paintings is inspired by the progression of winter into spring.