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October 13, 2007 - February 10, 2008
APEX: Ann Gale, featuring four new large paintings and a succession of small portraits, is the fourth installation in the Portland Art Museum's series celebrating the region's most noteworthy contemporary work. Highly attuned to the importance of the mark, Seattle figurative painter, Ann Gale, captures many hours of shifting light and changing emotion in one concentrated moment. Psychologically charged, her fragmented, tension-filled portraits convey the physicality of the sitter and a measured passing of time through a methodical accumulation of brushstrokes rooted in the simple act of observation.
For Gale, the human subject is essential. She spends hours observing and getting to know her sitters before painting. She works slowly, often taking up to two years to complete a painting. While friends and family served as muse for early work, Gale's recent oil paintings feature professional models, each with unique qualities that captivate Gale's continued attention.
"I'm honored to present Ann Gale's first solo museum exhibition in a region where a reverence for the figure and love for paint is so alive," states Jennifer A. Gately, The Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Curator of Northwest Art. "As a graduate student at Yale, the teachings of Dean Andrew Forge and Professor William Bailey helped to shape Gale's intuitive sense of the figure, and measured accrual of distinct horizontal and vertical brushstrokes."
Her complex and demanding work process requires her models to sit for three hours at a time. The resulting physical discomfort breeds a palpable intimacy and deep emotional exposure. Focusing on the gaze, Gale's penetrating portraiture goes beyond the surface of her sitters to capture their emotions. Gale not only observes her model's posture and expression, but views them in terms of light and color. "The vivacity of Gale's mark is heightened by a studied process of looking that reveals an eye obsessed with the play of natural light and a deep concern for structure and color relationships," says Gately. She employs neutral hues to capture what she calls her sitters "color environment" and the atmosphere of their surroundings, preventing the intrusion of narrative and creating a nuanced background that concurrently advances and recedes upon the sitter.
About Ann Gale
Ann Gale received a BFA from Rhode Island College and a MFA from Yale University School of Art. Her work has been displayed in galleries nationwide. Gale has won numerous awards, including a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship and a Western States Art Federation/National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. She is currently a professor of art at the University of Washington, Seattle. Her influences include Antonio Lopez Garcia, Lucian Freud, and Alberto Giacometti. Her techniques and process of figural observation have been compared to Philip Pearlstein and Chuck Close.
This dynamic series of exhibitions embraces emerging and established artists living in the Northwest. Developed and curated by Jennifer A. Gately, the Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Curator of Northwest Art, APEX presents contemporary art in an experimental lab-like setting on the top floor of the Museum's Center for Northwest Art. Exhibitions will range in intentions and mediums from painting, drawing, and sculpture to photography, video, installation, and sound. Supported in part by the Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Endowments for Northwest Art, the APEX series continues the Museum's 114-year commitment to collecting, exhibiting, and celebrating the art of the region.
APEX Artist Talk
Join Ann Gale in the gallery for an intimate discussion of her paintings and their inspirations, Sunday, December 2, 2 pm. Admission to the talk is free for Museum members or with Museum admission.
(above: Ann Gale, Gary with Dark Wall, 2004, Oil on panel, Courtesy Hackett-Freedman Gallery, San Francisco)
(above: Ann Gale, Babs with Ribbons, 2007, Oil on canvas, Courtesy of Hackett-Freedman Gallery, San Francisco)
(above: Ann Gale, Self Portrait with Blue Stripes, 2007, Oil on masonite, Courtesy of Hackett-Freedman Gallery, San Francisco)
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