Mon 7 Mar 2011
Artist Sue Gonzalez of Point Reyes Station stands at one end of a large oil painting of hers. The painting is part of a new art exhibition that opened Saturday at the Bolinas Museum.
Sue’s paintings might best be described as impressionistic realism. As has been said of the style of artist Gustave Courbet (1819-77), hers “is not photographic; it shows a keen sense of selection of what to paint among the details of nature to give the essentials of [the] subject.”
Sue’s subjects are inevitably large expanses of water. Although most painters would be challenged to make the unbroken surface of a tranquil bay interesting, Sue is such a master of light and shadow she is able to reveal the subtleties of seemingly simple scenes.
While “there is minimal but recognizable reference to place, Tomales Bay here in Coast Marin,” the museum comments, “this art is about planet water.”
Sue attended the University of Wisconsin and graduated from the San Francisco Art Institute. She also took classes at Sonoma State and Indian Valley College.
Stinson Beach and Bolinas Lagoon (circa 1902) by Arthur William Best. Also on display through April 17 at Bolinas Museum is a selection of art from the museum’s permanent collection.
View of Mountain Cottage by Ludmilla Welch, 1890. From the permanent collection.
Classic Torso with Hands by Ruth Bernhard.
The photographer (1905-2006) is best known for her nudes of women. “If I have chosen the female form in particular, it is because beauty has been debased and exploited in our sensual twentieth century,” she wrote. “We seem to have a need to turn innocent nature into evil ugliness by the twist of a mind.
“Woman has been the target of much that is sordid and cheap, especially in photography. To raise, to elevate, to endorse with timeless reverence the image of a woman has been my mission.”
Krishna and Radha by Gajari Devi.
Also showing at Bolinas Museum is an exhibit titled Sacred Walls, Dieties and Marriages in Mithila Painting.
“For centuries, perhaps for thousands of years, women in the ancient cultural region of Mithila in Eastern India, have been painting on their floors and the inner and outer walls of their family compounds,” the museum explains.
“With vibrant color and complex design, their art celebrates, protects and makes sacred or auspicious space in their homes for family rituals and events. Though there are a few male contemporary painters, this is primarily an art tradition handed down through women from generation to generation…..
“Encouraged to expand their creativity to painting on handmade paper, their art has become a source of desperately needed income and attracted international attention to their work.”
Fresh Killed Poultry by Lewis Watts. Part of the permanent collection.
The photography in the current exhibition is from the Helene Sturdivant Mayne Photography Gallery, which is part of the museum’s permanent collection.
Bolinas Museum may be small, but it represents some of the best art in the world, as the current exhibition attests. It will continue through April 17, so you still have plenty of time.