POSTED ON SEPTEMBER 8, 2010:
The Trees Among Us
MA Doran Gallery showcases the natural beauty of art
In the Forest. Trees are the inspiration for Dallasbased artist Marci Crawford’s show at MA Doran Gallery. “I love organic tree forms and their linear quality,” she said. Shown is “Ephemeria.”
As Fall breezes in, MA Doran Gallery on Brookside will be hosting Dallas-based artist Marci Crawford Harnden as its September featured artist.
Harnden's work is a testament to nature and its ever-present yet mysterious qualities that have captured her artistic inspiration for the past fifteen years. Her work will be apart of the gallery's Fall Group Show opening Sept. 9 from 5-8pm and will run through the remainder of the month. Harnden is the spotlighted artist of the month and will be exhibiting approximately 20 of her most recent works in the gallery.
The Fall Group Show will also feature the work of roughly 50 of MA Doran's represented artists throughout the rest of the gallery. All of the show's exhibiting artists, including Harnden, will be present at the opening.
Born in Columbia, Mo., Harnden studied painting and printmaking as well as anatomical and botanical drawings at the University of Missouri and the Gassell School of Arts, part of the Houston Museum of Fine Arts. While studying in Houston, Harnden experimented with printmaking processes such as intaglio and monotypes.
"Printmaking very much influenced my present style of painting," Harnden said. Her process of building up a painting is similar to creating a monotype in her application of translucent paint through many series of thin layers to create a smooth surface. Harnden also incorporates the printmaking technique of burnishing, or pulling the painting under layers out through a sanding or removal of top layers from the painting's surface. This technique is successful in creating a desirable luminous effect on the painting's surface.
The imagery in the body of work for this exhibition pertains exclusively to trees, which have long been a passion of Harnden's.
"I love organic tree forms and their linear quality," she said. "They are everywhere and yet the variety and types of trees are immensely fascinating."
In addition to their beautiful forms and ability to play with light, Harnden is moved by the strong connection she finds between trees and human forms. From their upright posture to their crooked appendages protruding from a grounded state in the earth, she finds many similarities between trees and the human figure that inspire her work.
Equally important to the imagery of trees in her work is the presence of a delicate and luminous light that creates an ethereal, other-worldly atmosphere that Harnden finds imperative to the success of her work. While living in Houston, she worked as a set designer for many years, and during that time became fascinated with light and the critical function it plays on stage and in her own work.
Because Harnden builds up her paintings through layers that take time to dry, she is often working on multiple paintings at one time in sets of three to five. Doing so allows her compositions to play off of each other and creates a dialogue that is beneficial in making important decisions regarding all of the work. The variety of techniques she is able to incorporate into her work -- dry point, burnishing and layering -- are responsible for creating smooth, sophisticated surfaces that elicit a calming sensation of mediation from the viewer.
Harnden's work is an abstraction of nature. All of her paintings contain identifiable shapes such as leaves and branches, but they exist in an environment that is all her own.
"I push it into an abstracted form and the atmosphere becomes a very important part of it," Harnden said. She is pleased with the way her work is constantly evolving.
"I want to keep it surprising me," she said. "If you don't open yourself up to the experience of trying something new it becomes mechanical."
In addition to showing at MA Doran in Tulsa, she is also represented by galleries in Dallas, Houston and Asheville, N.C.
More information about Harnden and the Fall Group Show is available online at madorangallery.com.
The Artists' Muse
For the past 11 years, the Tulsa Artists' Coalition has celebrated the talent of those who work hardest toward the gallery's continued success in an annual members' show. The gallery's cozy size limits the amount of work that can be shown from its talented group of members. Consequently, the exhibit is a selective juried exhibition. This year's team of jurors are: Teresa Valero, fine art photographer and TU professor; Kim Fonder, gallery director for Aberson Exhibits; and Eleanor Carmack, painter and retired teacher. Of the 90 pieces submitted for the show, the jury selected 42.
The title for this year's members' show is The Artists' Muse. This idea speaks to the sentiments, environments and objects that inspire artists to create the work that they do. The result is an exhibition of work as different in medium, execution and content as the artists who submitted them.
Chuck Tomlin, member of the TAC Board, selected the theme for this year's exhibition with the hope that doing so would offer Tulsans the opportunity to discover what inspires artists and the different ways in which they express themselves.
From the selected pieces, the jury awards monetary prizes for Best of Show, Second and Third Place as well as multiple honorable mentions. This year's award recipients were: Yiren Gallagher for Best of Show, Second Place to Pat Vestal and Third Place to James Gaar. The Honorable Mention awards went to Chris Stiles, Daryl Reimer, Ann Shannon, Kristal Tomshany, Steve Rosser, Audrey Barcus, Mary Jane Porter, Spencer Myers and Dean Wyatt.
The Artists' Muse opened on Sept. 3 and will run through Sept. 25. More information is available online at tacgallery.org.
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