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NICHOLAS COLEY: Changes In The Landscape
New & Recent Paintings in the Main Gallery
DIANA LEE: Top Shelf Scratchboard in the Side Gallery
ArtZone 461 Gallery is pleased to announce a solo show in the main space for Nicholas Coley’s recent and new plein air paintings titled "Changes In The Landscape". The smaller, side gallery features amazing scratchboard art by Diana Lee. Coley’s series is comprised mainly of images from San Francisco’s former army post, the Presidio and its northern neighbor, Marin County. Both places are connected by and are anchors for the Golden Gate Bridge.
The series may be seen as a metaphor for the artists’ life; he’s lived most of it in San Francisco and Marin, making them anchors in his life. This familiarity affords Coley variety rather than formula, he sees, feels and understands these places. He observes subtle changes that are the passages he captures in his paintings.
Another metaphor in his life is that he’s able to see anew because he’s raising an infant son. Infants demand attention and in observing their growth and development, parents look for and notice changes. The artist, looking for dynamics in the landscape, finds what he seeks inspired by observing and interacting with his son, making possible fresh and vibrant new perspectives.
This show features landscapes and not any urban scenes. Many reflect a departure from Coley’s Cezanne-like palette that developed from his schooling in France that emphasized such painting. Here we see new, confident, colors and compositions, a rebalancing of perspectives and lively changes in the landscape.
In addition to training abroad, Coley received his BFA in painting from Evergreen College in Washington State. He’s been living in San Francisco since 1999 and now with his wife and new son.
Diana Lee submitted her scratchboard art to the Gallery’s first juried competition seeking California realists and was selected as one of the top ten entries. Oil paintings are the traditional focus for ArtZone 461 Gallery and Diana Lee is an exceptional artist, literally and figuratively speaking.
The Gallery makes exceptions for extraordinary pieces and this is the context for viewing Lee’s scratchboard. Her skill and patience produce images that are so photo-real they are often mistaken for photos. Just as photography was elevated to fine art status in the 20th Century, this may be the path for such status with scratchboard in the 21st Century. Time will tell.
Scratchboard art is a form of direct etching using a sharp, pointed tool to scratch out an image. Traditional scratchboard is a three-layer medium made up of a durable surface like artists’ panel, coated with a smooth layer of kaolin clay (porcelain) and then sprayed with black ink. It’s is an original approach to drawing and illustration began in 19th Century Britain and France.
Contemporary artists working in scratchboard have elevated the medium to the extent that more people than not are familiar with or readily understand the process. Aside from the usual black and white images, the porcelain may be painted different colors later and when done, achieves a luminosity unique to the medium. It produces dramatic imagery and offers an ability to create amazing detail. Most take well over 100 hours to complete. ArtZone is pleased to introduce Diana Lee’s scratchboard art to a new and enthusiastic audience.
Diana Lee lives in Santa Rosa California and has worked in several mediums over her long career. Eventually she settled with scratchboard and has become a master in the technique, she has been exhibiting in national and international exhibitions for the past several years.