Saturday, September 25, 2010
Arleen Targan at Mimosa Gallery
Arleen Targan's paintings are brave and beautiful and I just can't get enough of them. Lots of people paint pretty pictures of flowers and landscapes that may be worth a second look, but after that, offer little more to intrigue me. Arleen's, however, are so full of surprises and unexpected pleasures that I could look at them every day for years and still find delight with each viewing. And I do. Our home is adorned with a number of Arleen's paintings, and after her new show at Mimosa Gallery in Saratoga closes near the end of October, we'll have one more. There it is on the gallery wall behind the artist herself, being hugged by my husband Denis. Isn't it just exquisite?
Denis didn't tell me he'd bought this painting until I came tugging his sleeve to nudge him over to see the two that had caught my fancy, called "Edge of the Pond" and "Edge of the Pond II."
As a paddler, I've spent many hours observing the play of colors and changing light under the trees where the water meets the shore, and when I look at these paintings -- somewhat more abstract than the still lifes that make up most of the Mimosa show -- I see amazing colors and lights that escaped my notice before, but which I will now see each time I return, because Arleen has revealed them to me.
As I mentioned, most of the paintings that make up the current show are still lifes -- paintings of flowers and fruits, bottles and bowls and other objects, which, while still recognizable as such, are often rendered in unexpected, even provocative, ways by the artist's vision. Neither completely realistic nor absolutely abstract, they are, in a way, a combination of both. And always, always exploding with gorgeous color and laced with light. Some examples:
Here's what Arleen herself has to say about her work:
My love of painting begins first of all with a love of drawing, of getting down the gesture first of whatever subject I choose to paint. I see painting as more of a process and not a means to an end. I know not exactly what the results will be, but I feel the urgency of the moment, the need to get it all down. Perhaps that means painting is my way into a place that is new to me and yet familiar. I try to find the feeling or the "soul" of a place or thing. I seek always to surprise myself and hope to surprise the viewer as well.
In my latest work and in the winter months, I concentrate on still life painting. Always painting from life, whether outdoors or indoors, has led me back to natural forms in my own studio. I am fascinated by shapes of flowers, dead or alive, by the interaction of unrelated things -- once put together they make some kind of statement. By moving an object an inch or two I can change everything. Sometimes the painting itself makes more demands, and I end up with pure fantasy. Sometimes it is simply the way I first saw it -- the exact picture in my mind.
To see many more of Arleen Targan's paintings, you can visit the Mimosa Gallery, 70 Beekman Street in Saratoga Springs, from now until October 24. I also found a site on the web where a few of Arleen's amazing landscape paintings can be seen. You can see them, too, by clicking here.