With a clear nod to the Bay Area figurative movement that flourished during his mid-century youth, Doug Smith combines the exuberance of abstract expressionism and the arresting intimacy of the realistically familiar. Traditional farmhouses and weathered barns punctuate his vast planes of color, line and texture -- all applied with a stout confidence derived from his long and accomplished career as a graphic designer. The compositions evoke enduring themes of the American West: Boundless optimism and wistful nostalgia; nature's randomness and man's ordered domesticity. They suggest both the endless agrarian mosaics one might observe from an airplane and the archetypical homesteads that appear mostly in memory. Born in San Francisco, Smith evokes the aesthetic of Richard Diebenkorn and Elmer Bischoff of the Bay Area School as well as the reassuring rural imagery of American Regionalism. His work has been exhibited at galleries and museums throughout the United States. The Rockwell Museum of Western Art in New York has acquired one of his paintings for its permanent collection.
Doug Smith, 'October', Acrylic on Canvas, 60" x 48"
Self-taught, Seattle-based painter, Erik Hall, uses an adept process of laboriously layering common colors with unlikely ones as his basis for creating gesturing organic forms, set amongst still, yet suggestive landscapes; compositions that speak with a silence. The concinnity that occurs between his trees, fields and skies, result in the melodic, animated visuals of the countryside. However, with this playfulness also comes a peculiar darkness, which Hall represents with the usage of dramatic shading and contrast. Some works look as if they could be the backdrops for theatre performances of Greek Tragedies.
Hall's landscapes are representations of reality that have been filtered and augmented by his memory. As described by Hall, " The expanses in my work are an indication that something I have seen is present, is real and exists, even though it is being told as I remember it and not as it actually occurred".
While Hall's highly developed skill is both unique and impressive, his psychological interpretation of nature is the most profound gift imparted by his work. This is because it speaks volumes about how "reality" is only as real as we remember it to be, and proposes that perhaps "reality" is not real without the suggestion of the good and the bad being present.
Erik Hall, 'Right Here Is Good', Oil on Canvas, 36" x 36"
The artists will be in attendance during the opening reception to be held on