Art and Sustainability

"Why should we think upon things that are lovely? Because thinking determines life. It is a common habit to blame life upon the environment. Environment modifies life but does not govern life. The soul is stronger than its surroundings." –William James (1842-1910), American philosopher and psychologist

Thank you! December 7, 2011

14 shows. 15 artists. Over 220 works of art. 2 1/2 years. Thank you, Sightline Institute, for a wonderful opportunity to combine three of my passions: art, sustainability, and community. Thank you to all of the artists who showed their amazing work. And thank you to all of you viewers and readers who have expressed appreciation about that work. It’s been a fabulous experience. Stay tuned to see how this Art & Sustainability website evolves.

Becky Brooks
Volunteer Curator for the “Art & Sustainability” series of art shows at Sightline Institute

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Photos from Gretchen Van Dyke’s show at Sightline November 17, 2011

Learn more about artist Gretchen Van Dyke and this show here.

 

The view of Gretchen Van Dyke’s “Figures Observed” show from the hallway

 
"fan" by Gretchen Van Dyke

“Fan” 21″ x 18″ charcoal on paper by Gretchen Van Dyke

 

Gretchen Van Dyke’s art hanging in the lobby of the Sightline Institute office in downtown Seattle

 

Gretchen Van Dyke’s art hanging in the lobby of the Sightline Institute office in downtown Seattle

 

“Man in Bright Shirt” 10″ x 8″ oil on panel by Gretchen Van Dyke

 

Gretchen Van Dyke’s art hanging in the lobby of the Sightline Institute office in downtown Seattle

 

Artist Gretchen Van Dyke

 

See more of Gretchen’s artwork here.

 

“Figures Observed” by Gretchen Van Dyke October 3, 2011

"Jump" oil on canvas, 20"x24” by Gretchen Van Dyke

We begin and end the year with art of the figure, just as sustainability problems and solutions essentially begin and end with choices made by the human race. Now on view through the November 30, “Figures Observed” is the fourteenth show in our “Art & Sustainability” series at Sightline Institute. It features 11 oil paintings and 6 charcoal drawings by Issaquah artist Gretchen Van Dyke.

Through observation and memory, Gretchen captures gesture, spirit, and the complexity of human nature in her drawings and paintings. Whether abstract or more representational in nature, her two-dimensional art is imbued with a sense that the subjects are three-dimensional living, breathing individuals. They make you wonder, “What are their hopes, dreams, regrets?” Gretchen says about her work:

My paintings explore time, surface, color, and human introspection. I work from observation, with memory, and abstractly, creating paintings and drawings on canvas, wood panel, and paper. Still life and the human form are my subjects. Whether painting a person or thing, my work is a direct dialogue between self and subject. It is about the act of slowing down, deeply observing, and being in the moment. It asks the question:  How is it that a brush and paint can capture the spirit of a person or thing?

A native of Washington, Gretchen has a degree in Graphic Design from The Art Institute of Seattle, as well as a BFA in Drawing and Painting from the University of Washington. She recently completed Artist Trust‘s EDGE Professional Development Program. Her influences include the figurative painters Frank Auerbach and Lucian Freud, who said, “I paint people, not because of what they are like, not exactly in spite of what they are like, but how they happen to be.”

Gretchen’s work has been in both group and solo shows around the state. Locally, Gretchen is an active member of artEAST, Issaquah’s non-profit arts organization. She and fellow member Ellen Borison (who showed at Sightline at the beginning of the year), have curated figure drawing shows the past five years at artEAST. Gretchen also participated in the organization‘s first 24-Hour Art Marathon last spring, in which she created four oil paintings on-site in a period of 24 hours.

Conscientious about sustainability issues such as food, transportation, consumerism, and land use, Gretchen walks the talk. She lives in downtown Issaquah, where she is close to stores and services, the bus, trails, and the creek. In addition, she is the Assistant Executive Director at Athletes for Kids.

To view Gretchen’s paintings and drawings at Sightline now through the end of November, visit the office between 10am and 3pm on weekdays. Most works are available for purchase. Contact Gretchen directly at gretchenvandyke (at) earthlink (dot) net with sales inquiries.

Sightline Institute
1402 Third Ave,
Fifth Floor, Suite 500
Seattle, WA
206-447-1880 ext. 100

What thoughts about sustainability are inspired by Gretchen’s art (and by art in general)? Share yours in a comment.

 

Photos from Chris Cantu’s show at Sightline September 5, 2011

Filed under: acrylic,Chris Cantu,shows — Becky @ 6:47 pm
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Chris Cantu’s “Pastorale’s Edge” series of acrylic paintings hanging in the lobby of the Sightline Institute office in downtown Seattle

 

“Pastoral” 22″ x 24″ acrylic on canvas by Chris Cantu

 

“Cow-templation” 12″ x 9″ acrylic on canvas by Chris Cantu

 

Chris Cantu’s art hanging in the lobby of the Sightline Institute office in downtown Seattle

 

Chris Cantu’s art hanging in the lobby of the Sightline Institute office in downtown Seattle

 

The view of Chris Cantu’s “Pastorale’s Edge” show from the hallway

 

See more of Chris’s artwork here.

 

“Pastorale’s Edge” by Chris Cantu July 26, 2011

Filed under: acrylic,Chris Cantu,shows — Becky @ 5:10 pm
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"Blue Colt" acrylic on canvas, 18”x24” by Chris Cantu

For the thirteenth show in our “Art & Sustainability” series at Sightline Institute, we are pleased to present “Pastorale’s Edge” by Edmonds artist Chris Cantu. Fourteen acrylic paintings featuring pastoral scenes in illuminating combinations of both fantastical and realistic colors are now on view through the beginning of September.

Paintings by Chris put a smile on your face. Without romanticizing them, she expresses both joy and respect for animals in the countryside by confidently using bold colors and textures. Her quirky humor sheds a unique light on her subjects, whether it be a contemplative cow or a fish cooking on a grill. She says:

More than line, form, or composition, it has always been color that provided me a pathway to artistic expression. I seek to heighten and “liberate color from realism,” in the words of one of my art heroes, Henri Matisse. Color is life and thus carries great emotional weight for all of us, and so I have used it here to communicate my response to the natural world and especially animals. I invite you into a world where color speaks volumes, no matter if the subject matter is a smart-aleck rabbit, a meditative cow, or a landscape.

Originally from Kansas City, Missouri, Chris has called the Pacific Northwest home for over twenty five years. She received a BA in Art from the University of Washington and has continued her artistic journey through more coursework at the UW, as well as at Pratt Fine Arts Center and Gage Academy of Art. She credits teaching artists Julia Hensley, Rickie Wolfe, and Will Bonner for helping her along her current path. A frequent participating artist in both the Edmonds Art Studio Tour and the Edmonds Arts Festival, Chris has also been featured in a number of juried shows in the Puget Sound Region and in Missouri. Her artwork can be found at Fraker/Scott Gallery in Pioneer Square of downtown Seattle.

To view Chris’s art at Sightline, visit the office between 10am and 3pm on weekdays through the beginning of September. All works are available for purchase; some may also be purchased as prints. Contact Chris directly at 2cantu (at) comcast (dot) net.

Sightline Institute
1402 Third Ave,
Fifth Floor, Suite 500
Seattle, WA
206-447-1880 ext. 100

What thoughts about sustainability are inspired by Chris’s art (and by art in general)? Share yours in a comment.

 

Photos from Susan Melrath’s show at Sightline June 27, 2011

Filed under: acrylic,shows,Susan Melrath — Becky @ 7:12 pm
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The view of Susan Melrath’s “Bloom” show from the hallway

 

“Midnight Angels” diptych – 48”x60” each, acrylic on canvas by Susan Melrath

 

“Dream Garden” 80”x24” acrylic on board by Susan Melrath (see full view here)

 

Susan Melrath’s art hanging in the lobby of the Sightline Institute office in downtown Seattle

 


Artist Susan Melrath

 

See more of Susan’s artwork here.

 

“Bloom” by Susan Melrath May 12, 2011

Filed under: acrylic,shows,Susan Melrath — Becky @ 10:32 pm
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To continue with our cravings for spring this year, we present Redmond artist Susan Melrath‘s “Bloom,” the twelfth show in our series at Sightline Institute in downtown Seattle. “Bloom” features one large diptych and six other acrylic paintings, each breathtaking in their boldness of color and pattern. The show will be up through the end of June. Susan says about her work:

Rich colors, patterns, and flat, poetic shapes….each component is a metaphor for the passage of time and the complex relationships in our lives. Built around the architecture of flora, my paintings are a celebration of life, growth, and the rhythm of the seasons. I find patterns everywhere from textiles and mosaics, to natureʼs cellular shapes. Each painting grows through a process of layering colors and repeating forms. Playing with unique color combinations, and discovering new relationships among the layers is the adventure I enjoy with each piece.

What makes Susan’s “Bloom” series unique is her combination of technology and traditional painting technique. “Red Seed” was the first piece inspired by her use of Brushes, a painting application on her iPhone. This app allowed her to play quickly and freely with colors and layers. These paintings are the final expressions of this series of iPhone studies.

Susan has further integrated technology into this exhibit by posting a mobile tag (QR Code) with each painting to provide in-depth information about each piece. Be sure to download a QR Code Reader App and bring your smartphone for this comprehensive experience. If you don’t have a smartphone, you can watch two videos explaining her process here: “Midnight Angels” and “Dream Garden.” Just for fun, watch Susan create a painting in 13 seconds. Read more about her art and process on her blog.

To view Susan’s art at Sightline, visit the office between 10am and 3pm on weekdays through the end of June. All works are available for purchase. Contact Susan directly at susan (at) susanmelrath (dot) com.

Sightline Institute
1402 Third Ave,
Fifth Floor, Suite 500
Seattle, WA
206-447-1880 ext. 100

What thoughts about sustainability are inspired by Susan’s art (and by art in general)? Share yours in a comment.

"Dream Garden" acrylic on board, 80”x24” by Susan Melrath