Published on December 27th, 2012 | by Taylor Majewski0
Review: The Tirage Art Gallery’s “Holiday Salon”
The Tirage Art Gallery, tucked into the historic art and antique district of Pasadena, California, is exhibiting their annual “Holiday Salon.” The exhibition features a variety of eclectic artwork, including four female artists whose works particularly illustrate the flavor of the holiday season.
Paulette Lee’s Snow Scene perfectly depicts the natural peace that often accompanies the winter season, to the point that I could practically hear the stillness in her white forest, tree branches drooping with the weight of snow. I was amazed by the duality of Lee’s work because she painted this tranquil scene with loose Impressionist brush strokes, reminiscent of Cezanne’s chunky and intentional technique. Lee makes it easy for us to imagine stepping into the calm wintery scene and trudging through white terrain. However, her employment of harsh brush strokes generates movement throughout the landscape, reflecting the unpredictable and sometimes chaotic nature of winter.
When I saw Susan Roden’s Festive Setting, I was reminded of my own carefully decorated home during the holidays, with everything from a Christmas tree to a table setting painted with acute awareness. Her mastery of pastels infuses the painting with a vibrant mood, seasonally merry with red and white tints of color. The table setting features a white linen tablecloth topped with empty crystal glasses, a snapshot of the aftermath of a holiday gathering.
I was struck by Bridget Duffy’s balanced and clear composition in Wintry Solitude, portraying how even winter’s harshest snows can be beautiful. Focusing on the ways in which light captures the fleeting beauty of nature, the landscape in Wintry Solitude stretches across a still pond, surrounded by evergreens and outlined by the sun. But while Duffy’s wintery scene conveys the peaceful nature of Lee’s Snow Scene, it lacks the movement of Lee’s work. Instead, the stillness in Duffy’s work harbors an almost ethereal aspect with snow and a tranquil pond reflecting the unmoving sky.
Renowned for her graceful, figurative paintings, artist C.M. Cooper considers herself to be a “contemporary traditionalist.” For her Tirage Art Gallery exhibit, Cooper beautifully depicts the spirit of children during the holiday season. One of her paintings featured in the gallery, Pink Petals, is a portrait of young ballerina, her painted dancer having a clear affinity to Degas’s genius; the child, clad in a tutu, sits deep in thought as if visions of sugarplums danced in her head. Cooper similarly depicts the spirit of children’s imaginative holiday wishes in Afternoon Catnap, featuring a young girl deep in sleep, her white nightgown and dreamy state reminiscent of The Nutcracker‘s Clara.
Though the art gallery exhibition features a myriad of other artists, these four women are the clear masters at capturing the spirit of the holidays with emotional clarity, bringing to mind dreamy visions of family, peace and celebration.
See the Tirage Art Gallery’s Holiday Salon until January 12. For more information, visit www.tirageart.com.