Just in the nick of time for the autumnal equinox, the Winthrop Gallery opens an exhibit celebrating the glorious colors and textures of fall.
The “Autumn Elements” exhibit, which runs through Nov. 11, showcases fall-inspired pieces in a variety of media: painting, photography, drawing, ceramics, glass and textiles. The public is invited to a free reception at the gallery on Saturday (Sept. 21) from 6 – 8 p.m. Refreshments will be served.
Artists are excited by autumn, says Patty Yates, artist member and president of the cooperative gallery. “One of the things that turns artists on in the fall is the changing light. The shadows are different. The light comes from different angles and you see things anew; you get a new perspective. Even the people look light and airy,” she says. “Summer is all that same shade of green. The change is so exciting.”
Painters and photographers, says Yates, run around trying to “soak up the colors and textures:” leaves turning red and yellow, grasses drying from green to golden, lush sunflower heads growing prickly. “We all know it’s leading up to that clean palate of snow that winter brings,” says Yates, “and it’s just a beautiful time to soak it all in.”
Ironically, in order to hang the Autumn Elements artwork prior to the show’s opening on Wednesday (Sept. 18), artists need to have their pieces completed well in advance of the actual arrival of fall. It’s a bit of a conundrum. But artists can work from “a feel of fall that we have in our heads,” says Yates.
Plein air approach
Like many painters, Yates is partial to a plein air approach to creating her large pieces, particularly in seasons as richly visual as autumn. “I imagine the colors in advance,” she says. “And then I go out somewhere, like a favorite aspen stand, and paint in small scale for a while.” Yates then returns to her studio to recreate the pieces on larger canvases for an exhibit.
Other artists are more structured and disciplined in their approaches, says Yates. “[Painter] Paula Christen is really organized,” Yates says. “She does value studies” (simplified sketches that show the relationship between light and dark masses in a scene, used to later recreate the scene in more detail).” But Kathy Meyers, says Yates, “just lets it flow,” while painter Laurie Fry “is the quintessential fall painter — she gets out there in the mountains and wanders all around and then captures these landscapes in her paintings.”
With dozens of artists represented in “Autumn Elements,” for those seeking to learn more about a particular artist’s approach the opening reception offers a unique opportunity to engage with the people behind the pieces. “The openings are really fun,” says Yates, encouraging visitors to attend. “And for the artists, it’s always nice to meet new people and talk about our art.”
The Winthrop Gallery is located at 237 Riverside Ave. Fall hours are 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Thursday through Sunday. For more information, call 996-3925 or visit www.winthropgallery.com.