Northwest Contemporarys inaugural exhibition, Confluence of Land and Water, features five artists who work in varied media: Naomi Zentmyer, Mic Muhlbauer, Ken Leap, Michele Hardy and Alice Watterson. Artist and gallery owner Naomi Zentmyer recently relocated to Washington from New Mexico. Other artists represented in this exhibit are from Santa Fe and Portales, New Mexico, where their work has received much exposure.
Mic Muhlbauer, I Tell You This (2006), oil on panel &
basswood [Northwest Contemporary, Olympia WA,
Oct 13-Nov 30]
Naomi Zentmyer works in both paint and clay with a focus on animal archetypes and the landscape. She is interested in the collective human spirit and the world prior to the culture of commercial greed. Mic Muhlbauer is primarily a realist painter who articulates a sense of magic, myth and humour. In this show, her painted panels are set into intricately carved wood reliquaries with relief imagery that relates to the painted subject. These works have a psychological twist that make them appear surreal.
Ken Leaps glass and metal pieces are described as refractive relief sculptures, a technique developed by the artist. He uses clear pieces of cut and stacked glass to create contoured surfaces that interact with light. Leaps innovative works represent dynamic patterns like ripples, sine waves and folded clouds.
He also paints realistic figurative imagery and has received numerous commissions for major outdoor public works throughout the Southwest. Alice Watterson and Michele Hardy both work in fibre. Hardys fabric constructions combine dyed, painted and screen printed surfaces with machine embroidering. Her layered designs represent aerial views, minerals and other geological features.