Scene & Heard, Springfield

Stunning art showcase in Springfield this month

SPRINGFIELD — What makes a piece of art beautiful? Interesting? Creative?

Art is subjective, but there are fundamentals that art teachers and critics use to describe the skill of the art piece they are analyzing like contrast, shading, texture, and technical skill.

Harsha Rodage’s “Engrossed” is on display at the Emerald Art Center.

These qualities can be seen in many of the pieces that Yong Hong Zhong selected for the 18th annual Emerald Spring Exhibition at the Emerald Art Center. Zhong selected the paintings that are displayed through May, with artists from all over the country in this juried show.

Zhong has an extensive list of illustration experience that includes MTV Animation Studios and Walt Disney projects like, “The Princess and the Frog.” His passions veer toward more traditional painting, with a strong influence from early California impressionists. 

At the artist reception on May 4, out of 283 entries, Zhong narrowed it down to 66 in the show and 15 award winners. 

Harsha Rodage paints Indian women and captures the values of Indian culture in current artwork, as seen in “Engrossed.” From the mastery of technical skill in pastels, it isn’t surprising that the artist says, “It takes 12-15 layers to achieve the desired skin tone.”

The exhibit showcases a range of talent. Viewers who are drawn to texture will be enthralled with Lisa Abbot’s mixed media piece “Shimmer,” created with layers of modeling medium, paint, foils, and mica powders. 

Kim Smith’s watercolor “What the Tide Brings” is at moments abstract and simultaneously realistic, with lush textures one can get lost in. Linda Shelton’s “Looking for Mr. Right,” captures texture with watercolors, while the comedic title paired with crocodiles makes the piece memorable.

For photorealism fans, Rachel Kalman’s “Kincade” in oil highlights and shadows on the ceramics, folds of patterned fabric, and the incredibly rendered fire in the background make this piece a wonder to behold. 

For those who find still life’s “boring,” one has to understand the history of symbolism and metaphor conveying a secret language in historical paintings to truly appreciate what is being said in still lifes like Kalman’s. The artist explains that her paintings “juxtapose decorative, kitsch aesthetics with difficult, often traumatic, realities.” Knowing that gives the piece new meaning.

David Gregory painted “Sierra Snowstorm” with minute attention to shades and hues of white to capture the realism of snow. Sarah Bouwsma captures a completely different way of interpreting nature in “Silver Creek Falls.” The complexity of interlocking organic shapes makes every square inch of the painting interesting to behold.

Technical skills in oil can be seen by Angela Liu in “Adrift.” The artist captures human proportions with perfection, as well as highlights, shadows, and abilities in oil paint.

Yong Hong Zhong presenting award winners.

Also displayed in the exhibit is the April winner for the theme “The Road” that the audience voted on titled, “My Road to Happiness” by El Qsea from Springfield. 

Art enthusiasts can vote on the People’s Choice Award for the juried exhibit — but there are so many incredible pieces, it will be hard to narrow it down to one.

It isn’t just the EAC showing a diverse array of skilled artists — there is the entire Art Walk to explore. Peruse the Springfield City Hall Gallery when you go to the library to see the Raptors of the Pacific Northwest: Cascades Raptor Center Community Art Exhibition. When taking a class at Willamalane Adult Activity Center, check out the exhibit by Kathleen Piper created in a variety of mediums, the most striking medium being glass. 

Visit the stops on the art walk when you happen to be on Main Street, like Bri Clement’s Morphed Creations at Memento Ink. Clements has been creating her “oddities artwork” since 2019, collecting bones and organic items on nature walks, from other people that she knows, small businesses, and the bees and butterflies from atriums.

Other stops include Hearts for Hospice, Plank Town Brewing Co, and Irish Vineyard Wine Bar.

Sarina Dorie is the arts writer for The Chronicle. Email: [email protected]



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