“Color,” say the artists of the Winthrop Gallery, “makes life pop.” That sentiment has not, perhaps, been truer than it is now, in this cool, somewhat rainy July.
In a time when the hills are typically turning to brown, instead the Methow Valley is unseasonably verdant, forming a lush backdrop to a riot of wildflowers. “It’s so much more green than usual,” said gallery co-op president Patty Yates. “There are so many different colors of green right now.”
“The colors tell a story all day long,” continued Yates, answering, pre-emptively, what might be the reasonable question of whether “I Love Color” is a legitimate theme for the new exhibit at the gallery opening on Wednesday (July 24). After all, isn’t it self-evident that artists love color?
But color is nuanced, said Yates. “There’s the way sun hits a hillside and the colors shift. Or shadows — and then the range of colors within the shadows. If we can capture the story of color in a brushstroke, it’s just so exciting,” she said.
Even if you specialize in black and white, said Yates, you see the subtleties of color, and you get excited about it. And, of course, “Everyone gets excited about the colors of that first balsamroot in the spring.”
“It’s a broad topic,” Yates said of the exhibit’s theme, “but it’s better than saying ‘let’s all focus on the color purple.’”
The show “encompasses photographers, painters and other artists,” said Yates. “Everybody provides a hit of color.”
Featured art pieces include seasonal paintings by member artists Laurie Fry and Paula Christen, a large abstract by Yates, and what Yates refers to as “wonderfully colorful encaustics.”
A reception will be held at the gallery on Saturday (July 27), from 6 – 8 p.m. Refreshments will be served.
“It’s such an interesting group of artists,” Yates said. “A wide variety of talent.”
This group of artists is the product of a cooperative gallery started 19 years ago by the late oil painter Betsy Williams. Yates, who has been with the co-op since the beginning, said “When Betsy passed we all said, ‘let’s make this work,’ and all these years later we’re still going. We’re not a novelty.”
Member artists and volunteers manage and staff the gallery, sell art on consignment, and determine exhibit themes. “We’re not so official with show committees or anything like that,” said Yates. “We talk about ideas and figure out what excites people.”
Yates said that in the process of becoming a cooperative gallery, the group of interested artists “went on a scavenger hunt of other art co-ops to learn from them.” And over the years, she said, “We discovered that ours works: we all get along together, we all participate.” It’s serendipity, Yates said. “It’s a wonderful group of people.”
Everyone is welcome to visit the “I Love Color” exhibit, Yates said. “Families, kids — everyone will have a good time. There is art at kids’ eye level. Everyone has art in them, as artists and as audiences.” It’s an exhibit that is inspiring to artists and accessible to audiences, to both sophisticated and untrained eyes.
“I Love Color” runs through Sept. 16. The Winthrop Gallery is located at 237 Riverside Ave. in downtown Winthrop. The gallery is open every day, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. For more information call 996-3925 or visit www.winthropgallery.com.