The Art Docents of Los Gatos were treated to a demo by Dallas artist, Jennifer Lashbrook and her “Swatch Paintings” at JCO’s Place on Friday. Lashbrook creates collages using paint swatches that she gets by the forklift load and through an extensive process of sorting by value and hue builds a palette for her pixelated images, squares of color fixed with rubber cement and clear acrylic onto gridded panels. This series at JCO’s were all famous, recognizable images from art history and part of the fun is the process of recognition, but she also does landscapes and portraits which can be seen on her website .
Owner of Jco’s, Julie Jenkins greeting the Docents.
Jennifer Lashbrook walked us through her exacting process.
Girl with a Pearl Earring (Vermeer) – 36 x 36 – paint swatch (paper)
Paint swatch sample names can be playful, and witty and very literal, the pearl earring is actually “pearl”.
Frida with begonias – 48 x 35 – paint swatch (paper)
Quickly scanning a Frieda, I find “Adobe Straw”.
Julie Jenkins atop a ladder catching the Docents on their phones… Up close these pixelated collages dissolve into a grid of colored squares, the analytical brain clicks in, categorizing the material and reading the chips. The more distance you can create between yourself and the piece, the more the image resolves before your eyes. Your spatial, arty brain clicks in and starts seeing the big picture, “connecting the dots” and filling in the blanks. The same effect can be achieved by squinting or looking through your smart phone. Super fun!
Collage artist, Belinda Lima in front of her painting, Abanico, one many dynamic works on exhibit at the Granite Rock Design Center in Cupertino where she is the featured artist through to December 6.
Scenes from the reception on Saturday, including Nancy Wulffe (center), who Belinda had taken drawing and watercolor classes from. There were lots of artists attending the reception!
I know Belinda through the Los Gatos Museums Gallery where we’re both member artists, I love her work, full of print and pattern and texture, her subjects are instantly recognizable, stylized, cropped images, women with an umbrella, a fan, a bag, a dog, or a guitar and her abstracted Golden Gate Bridge, each work has a restrained palette with a hit of color. I was so happy to make the reception on Saturday and I asked her if there was a symbolism behind these very specific objects that appear throughout her work? She gave me a true collage artist’s response – “I like the shapes”. Love it! The collage artist is so physically and intimately aware of shape as they hold each piece of paper in their hands while tearing it just so or carving it out with an exacto blade or snipping aware with scissors. It is all about the shapes. Belinda did say too that she likes her subjects to have some interaction and these objects that have an implied movement work well. I think that her real subjects though are these iconic objects and the figures serve as accessories for them.
Unexpected Reunion, in my personal collection, packs a lot into it’s six square inches! I love how Belinda has used a lot of different textures and patterns but because of her subdued colors, the effect is not at all overwhelming. The delicate tissue she uses makes the light umbrella transparent, which seems to echo the barely discernible features on the woman’s face and hands. Her vague expression helps to create intrigue and there is a a nice physical and metaphorical tension between transparency and opacity.
Belinda’s Bridges are all about shapes too, here the squares of negative space in the bridge help to set up a grid for laying out pieces of the San Francisco skyline. Left to right they are Bridge # 5, The Bridge and Bridge #6.