She’s not real. But she sure looks real. Walk through Heather James Fine Art’s front door and see if you aren’t fooled by the gorgeous girl, seductively kneeling, eyes closed, sensual lips barely apart, clad in a short, filmy, black dress—and meditating.
“Kneeling,” by Milwaukee artist Marc Sijan, is, says he, an homage to humanity’s fascination with its own myriad forms. “Kneeling” is mind-blowingly realistic, and irresistable. Gentlemen, in case you didn’t know, women check each other out all the time. I was drawn like a bee to a flower by this polyester resin and oil-paint sculpture. Timidly I approached her; could I sense a heartbeat? Would she move? If she had, I’d have jumped out of my own skin. Was she really that gorgeous? As you near this magnetic work, you’ll notice her “flaws,” imperfections we all have: freckles, visible veins, some evidence of an oily complexion, the beginnings of a wrinkle, a tiny scar. And it’s these details, not immediately visible, that we sense from across the room, ultimately drawing us towards her.
Walking through Heather James last week, I viewed many great works–contemporary, Pop, Post-war, Latino, and a group of paintings and sculptures from the Impressionists. And it struck me that right now, there’s an enchanting feminine theme running through the gallery. The floor space has opened up as well; it’s easier to move through Heather James, easier to find the place you wish to stand to view the work. In the past, the room often felt claustrophobic. Now, the gallery breathes.
Lynne Mapp Drexler’s vivacious painting “Grass Symphony” is fabulous. During the 1950’s Drexler immersed herself in Abstract Expressionism, and music was a great influence in her work. I envision a jazz pianist, lost to the notes and rhythm of a riff (Rich Anderson might be flinching at my description)–and I imagine those notes being tossed up in the air and scattered across green fields and blue ocean. So crisp. And yes, reminiscent of Gustav Klimpt’s glitter.
Continue through the gallery, and you’ll come upon sculptures, encaustics and acrylic collages on canvas by L.A. based artist Kaoru Mansour. Mansour, born in Japan, uses a multitude of materials in her work, and her images range from languid realism to the highly geometric and abstract. Mansour’s backgrounds are (seemingly) simple broad fields of buttery gold leaf. Her early life growing up in a small mountain village, with its “tremendous variety of seasonal plants” informs Mansour’s work. Bits of waving branches, fish, flowers and leaves float across great expanses; or are compressed. All extraneous elements are removed, and we’re left with Nature’s fluid motion and harmony. www.heatherjames.com
“There will be watercolors and paper available for anyone who would like to paint with me, no experience necessary, just a lot of fun,” says Riddell. “One more piece of news … my paintings are now represented by Twenty Two Home on Jackson’s Town Square!” Pictured below is Riddell’s watercolor, “Sustenance,” her entry in this year’s Western Visions Sketch exhibition. www.leeriddell.com