|Sea bird on the ocean shore...|
Dreams. We all have them. Not all of us go after them. Su Nimon chose to go after hers and is celebrating that decision with a One Year Anniversary Show at Journey Art Gallery on the corner of 4th and McKinley in the Canton Arts District. Journey Art Gallery is her baby, her vision, her dream and it was brought to life with the help of Jeff Dreyer, Mac Worthington and many others that said “yes, you can make this happen.” The journey towards Journey was a lot longer than 12 months, it began probably a year or so before the doors opened at all. I was sad when she left her old space across from me. She was like the one birdie that leaps from the nest and figures there is only one way to go….and if that is not true, well……it might hurt for awhile, but bouncing is always an option. She flew.
Running a gallery does not leave much time to make artwork so I applaud her decision to make the anniversary show all about her. The feature wall is full of new Nimons. The adjacent classroom still has some of her earlier works on the walls and it was fun to see how much personal growth has taken place in regard to the imagery and markings.
The main gallery area is exhibiting 23 works in various sizes and groups, some done as a series and others as stand-alone concepts. The tangibles of yoga and music are her sources of inspiration as well as the intangible of personal growth, inner peace and spirituality. Yellows, oranges and blues are a dominant color pallet now and a wider range of colors appear overall then in her earlier works. Being surrounded all day by the vibrant artworks featured in Journey has probably contributed to this aspect. The heavy impasto swirls still show up but so too do more amorphic staining and manipulation of the media done without a brush. “Go with the Flow” is an example of this new process. It is not all that complicated to do, but knowing when to stop the movement and avoid over saturation and layering is more difficult than one thinks. It is similar to working in wet on wet watercolors where control is not always an attainable goal. The final result can be read as an ariel view of a riverbed or perhaps whatever one wishes to see ala Rorschach.
Two pieces I want to mention specifically so that anyone who stops by will see in them what Su did not in her own work. “Seek Peace in the Balance” is a square format piece with one black raven and one ghostly type raven. Sure to sell, it incorporates the impasto swirl of past pieces, but this time there is added depth to her birds through the use of added colors and tones that overlay the higher parts of the painted surface. Follow the blue cast on the dark raven and it will lead your eye up and around the swirl then back into the darker tones of the ghostly bird so the flow is towards the inner glowing center, not around in a circle. This happenstance is not intentional, it is instinctual and quite obvious when pointed out. To try and make that flow work purposefully would make the markings appear forced and the swirl become compressed by hesitation. All who were present at the opening were drawn to this piece first. It is a painting created by a hand that wants to “paint”, not make a picture.
The second piece to point out is also the last one go on the wall as it was still “not finished’ when time ran out. Do you catch that irony? The piece is entitled “Journey On” Do you see the connection? The last piece is symbolic that her own journey and the gallery itself are an ongoing dream. There should not be any “finish” to what we want in life, to where we want to go and what we want to make happen. The artwork itself is primarily the pour and flow fluid layering of color with additional abstracted elements included to give a bit of representation of “something” for those who don’t like the whole abstraction thing. Some folks just have to see something they can hold onto in a painting or it will not hold their interest. Leaf forms fulfill that role this time. But I gravitated to what I thought were bones only to find the creation of those shapes just as unintentional as the raven swirl phenomenon. Here I was all ready to go with additional subliminal messaging of how the gallery is also the body and soul of her now etc. but….hey, just go with that impression because it works even if it was not supposed to be about that.
The new works in this show are grouped by technique for the most part, with some available either individually or as a group such as “Flowers for Andy”. Three 8 x 8 canvases, three colors, three flowers….but I bet you will think there are more used because of the optical illusion of the distribution and arrangement that sometimes happens with repetitive imagery. I had to count to be sure I was seeing only three (no, the little chalk like marks don’t count.). On the display table nearby, one piece pays homage to her Love Notes series and is entitled “I love the moon too much” with the text incorporated as part of the piece.
The whole JAG team is to be commended for working so hard to bring this anchor gallery to fruition. There are still many dreams to be followed and many dreams to fill. Some are simple…like, “gee I wish I had an umbrella to get to my car” and others are not, but I wish them all much success as the Journey begins for year number two.