The Sunriver Resort Lodge Betty Gray Gallery presents its summer quarter series thru September 6. The exhibit, Summer in the High Desert, features JM Brodrick, MaryLea Harris and Karen Ruane.
Bend artist Brodrick exhibits one of her most admired subjects – horses. When queried why the horse, she noted, “It’s the pure beauty and power of the horse that I love.” Her realistic and detailed equines appear on a subtle abstract background, serving both to emphasize and anchor the subject.
Her affection for the horse is evident in her rendering of each as an individual with a distinct personality. Further, her attention to the subtle tilt of a horse’s head, the turn of the neck, gaze of the eyes, reveals her skill of intuitive observation of their character and temperament.
As a child in Detroit, Michigan and again on weekend trips with her father to Chicago, she observed the mounted police and painted their horses. These adored animals became her early subject.
Then, for some 30 years, she painted other subjects; but, upon moving to Bend, “…my love for painting horses returned and now is a major part of my genre.” Having her paintings of horses sell out in the prestigious 2015 Traveling Art of The West at Southwest Gallery in Dallas, Texas and the 2016 Mountain Oyster Annual Art Exhibit in Tucson, Arizona and the June 2017 feature of her paintings Sky and “Storm in the American Art Collector article, The Art of the Horse, encourages her choice.
Brodrick works with Healing Reins, donating paintings each year for auction to help sponsor a horse for their respected programs and, similarly, donating to 3 Sisters Equine Rescue to help raise money to sponsor horses. .The artist earnestly adds, “I just love painting horses!”
Harris, visual artist of Bend, brings an impressive background in mixed media, sculptural books and fiber arts to her current work. Now specializing in abstract art, she analogizes the interplay between positives and negatives, both as elements of space and color in painting and in life experiences.
Her abstract work features highly saturated hues both in background and foreground, creating spatial perception and movement through juxtaposition of light and dark values in the colors. The eye cannot resist movement between the dark and light, the negative and positive. Similarly, the artist offers perspective on the influence of life experiences, both joyful and sad, positive and negative, and the interplay of time/space and their impact in life.
Harris also creates spatial perception in her abstract work through multiple layers of paint with areas scraped away to create varied, subtle depths as well as light reflection or shadow. For her scraping process, she uses plastic gift cards that make excellent tools. The artist notes that the cards also serve as a reminder of our consumer-driven society and our frequent use of man-made materials to replace nature. Her latest paintings, entitled Map Series, explore our relationships between physical place, connection, belonging and our collective personal journeys.