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Otherworlds Beckon at Inside, Outside, and Undersea

Updated: Dec 15, 2022

- Written by Sally Vermillion, SPACE Volunteer

A triple treat awaits you at the Magnuson Art Gallery where “Inside, Outside, Undersea!, an exhibit of 3 painters, is currently on display. As students of Valerie Collymore’s Oil Painters Atelier, the painters couldn’t be more different with their distinct styles and themes. The exhibition is free to visit Thursdays & Fridays 11-3 pm and Saturdays 12-3 pm, now until June 18th! Join us for an artist reception on Saturday, June 4, 1-5 pm during the Building 30W Open Art Studios Event.

Colleen Hoffenbacker

How do antique statues, a fountain, giant vases, an ottoman, stylized tables, chairs and bookcases, oriental rugs, a bird bath, garden trellis, and a tray with tea cups all exist harmoniously in a verdant, flower-filled interior space? Come see Colleen Hoffenbacker’s Ufloria collection of paintings to find out! Reminiscent of Henri Matisse’s Impressionist scenes, Hoffenbacker’s exuberant canvases are celebrations of vibrant color, decorative elements, and textile patterns. Each painting is a kind of mini still life that invites us to enter a garden of delight. Plant lovers will be enchanted by the profusion of flora such as hydrangea, orchids, irises, climbing roses, amaryllis, orange trees, and more. But there’s more - magic awaits in these intimate spaces where a guitar is strummed, a dancer pirouettes, or a butterfly takes flight. For in Hoffenbacker’s paintings, THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENS! With a background as a classically trained painter of still-lifes, as well as a digital artist, Hoffenbacker explores the intersection of art/technology/nature. Her lush canvases are virtual environments where the use of computer animation and her color energy theory enliven imaginary compositions. Download the Artivive app to view floralscapes and garden follies become multidimensional experiences of augmented reality, perhaps leaving one to ponder: Is it a still-life if it moves?

Leigh Fulwood

Leigh Fulwood loves the stories old buildings tell. In her Gothic Barns series, currently on display at the Magnuson Art Gallery, we are treated to visual narratives of our region’s agricultural past. Built in the 1930’s, the barns are characterized by iconic ogival roofs, a feature of the Gothic period. Fulwood’s 7 barn paintings introduce us to architectural relics that inhabit nearby Snohomish Valley. As a cyclist on those rural roads, Fulwood has witnessed these monumental 90 year old farm buildings gradually deteriorate. Her paintings are a kind of historical record harkening back to a time when life on working farms was more commonplace. Spend some time with these paintings, and the barns become as old friends, full of personality and character. It clear that Fulwood cares about these old buildings - the past they represent and their continuity into the present. With titles like “Old Protector,” “Sentinel,” and “Heart of the Barn,” we can appreciate the connection Fulwood feels to her “elderly” subjects. Each barn garners a personal identity that makes you curious about life in the Northwest when speed, distraction, and the machine-made were not a matter-of-course. Fulwood uses the buildings’ massive scale, textured brushstrokes, and the magical light and shadows of our region to create figurative narratives that celebrate a legacy of time and place. After viewing her paintings at MAG, you might be inspired for a spring excursion to behold the Barns!

Christine Krauss

After seeing “Aquaria” you’re going to want to pull on a mask and snorkel, don rubber fins and a wet suit to plunge under the water’s surface, to enter a deep undersea realm. Christine Krauss’ collection of paintings provide a gorgeous window into the magical marvels of marine life. Her colorful canvasses make immediate the ecological conditions of a salt water world - the incessant pull of a tidal current and the life-giving light that supports unique symbiotic relationships. In the surge and swirl of rhythmic wave action you find tangled bull kelp, colonies of resplendent fish, and the otherworldly botany of our oceans. Indeed, you might begin to sway with the kinetic effects of the surf standing in front of the painting “Kelp Forest I: Sea Stream.” Krauss’ paintings reveal a fascination with the interplay of light and shadow, how light diffuses in water and how the sun’s rays diminish with depth revealing less to our eye, and perhaps carrying more imaginary weight. A fan of Georgia O’Keeffe’s work, Krauss similarly explores the line between abstraction and representation using point of view in painting marine foliage. These aquarium-inspired compositions (Monterey Bay Aquarium is a favorite source of inspiration!) go beyond depicting our planet’s oceanic inhabitants. They are captivating aquatic reveries that enlighten the many mysteries of the ocean’s bounty. Swimming gear in tow or not, you won’t want to miss seeing gorgeous Aquaria!

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