Sunday, April 11, 2010

Claudia Postema was Wise Designz

The Wise Designz Gallery is hosting an exhibition of the watercolor and mixed media work of Claudia Postema entitled, “Morph into Expression.”

Postema is a North Everett artist known locally for her watercolor paintings. Her oeuvre includes a variety of subjects, including: still life, animal portraits, landscapes, marine and more. This show was designed to illustrate a turning point in Postema’s art. Historically she has exhibited traditional watercolor technique with a tight or realistic representation of her subjects. However, Postema has, according to Josie Wise, the curator of this show, “moved in a new direction” with her art and is now pushing her paintings toward expressionism.

Unfortunately, the only paintings hanging on the wall are Postema’s new expressionistic works. In order to compare the new works with her earlier works, it is necessary to flip through some nearby racks holding prints of her prior paintings.

The subject matter of her most recent work continues to be recognizable, but the presentation has shifted from a realistic reporting to an emphasis of the abstract gesture and form of the subject as well as the introduction of a more passionate palette. The aggressive framing accentuates Postema’s artistic direction.

Most of the newer works are florals and most of the florals feature sun flowers. Sunflowers are an ideal subject for expressionism: they are big and colorful, they have a head and in the right light even appear to have a face. Postema’s uses color and design to make her sunflowers more expressive.

In two paintings titled Red Sunflowers on Blue she exploits a complementary color scheme to create dynamic tension between subject and background. The images are unsettled and tentative in their appeal. Her painting “Blue Sunflowers” plants manganese blue sunflower heads on a rich red background. Red is a powerful color and in this case has overpowered the subject.

My favorite piece was a work titled “Lemon Drop”. The painting presents three sunflower blossoms against a mottled gray background. The blooms in this painting are bright, celebratory and upright. This image is a testament to fruition.

Other favorites include a mixed media piece entitled “Sunflowers”, which has swaths of cheesecloth embedded into the textured background and a painting which seems to carve the organic form of nasturtiums out of rectangular fields of background color.

If you have time to see this show, make sure you peek in on the Hewitt Avenue window to see a series of four paintings of grapes. This series represents delicate and mysterious clusters of grapes painted over a wet-in-wet underpainting, which takes advantage of watercolor’s fluid characteristics.

Wise Designz is located at 2908 Wetmore Ave. in downtown Everett, Washington. They are open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Tuesday through Friday and 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Saturday. Wise Designz is also part of the Everett Art Walk, which takes place on the third Saturday evening of every month. The Claudia Postema exhibition continues through the end of April, 2010.