|SALEM BY LLI WILBURN.|
By Bonnie Gangelhoff & Alice Herrin
Intriguing ink and graphite works by Oregonian Lli Wilburn are attracting collector’s attention in the Portland area. Wilburn renders corners of the city and country not commonly perceived as beautiful, such as entrances to old discount houses, abandoned drive-in theaters, and weathered freeway ramps. “I like areas where there is an interesting relationship between the natural and built environment—places that are out of the way or commonly overlooked,” she says. “In a city, which can be a very planned, designed environment, nature’s effects can create accidental, sometimes startling beauty, or lend extremely utilitarian architecture a monumental or ceremonial aspect, or create an unintended but pervasive mood.” She is fond of recording such cityscapes in the pre-dawn light. Wilburn, who graduated from New York’s School of Visual Arts, chooses to work mainly in ink and graphite because of the transparency and brilliance of the colors, she says. She is represented by Froelick Gallery, Portland, OR.
|STILL LIFE WITH MELON BY ANNE SPOON.|
When Anne Spoon begins work on a still-life or figurative painting, she looks not at the objects themselves but for a harmony of colors and shapes. “My paintings are about the relationships between the objects—it’s sort of like music to me,” she says. “I also think paintings are about the power of the brush stroke. All the strength and weakness of the artist is in the stroke.” Spoon, who lives in Oklahoma, is originally from New York. Her interest in art goes back to her childhood—“when all my friends were happy to draw for a little while before moving on to something else, I just wanted to keep drawing,” she recalls. After her father’s death when she was 7 years old, her mother worked two jobs to support her family and eventually send Anne to study at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. “She taught me the meaning of persistence and hard work, and that’s what it takes to succeed,” she says.
This month, Spoon’s paintings are on display as part of the annual Anniversary Show at Dodson Gallery in Oklahoma City. In addition to Dodson Gallery, she is represented by Talisman Gallery, Bartlesville and Tulsa, OK.
|ANCHORED AT BALBOA BY EBRAHIM AMIN.|
While the highly competitive nature of the California art scene might deter some artists from pursuing a career there, Ebrahim Amin welcomed the challenge. The artist, who is originally from Iran, was living in Germany when he made his first trip to California. In addition to being struck by the beauty of the state, he was also inspired by the caliber of work he saw in the state’s top art galleries. “I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to come here,” he says. “I knew the competition was tough and that it would be hard, but artists want to grow and improve, and working hard is one way to improve your work.”
Amin began his fine art training in Iran, where he studied with a Russian master to learn the importance of color values and brush strokes. Those techniques continue to influence his paintings, whether the subject is a figure or a seascape. “Whatever subject I paint, it has to have something special that catches my eye,” he says. “If I’m painting plein-air, I may spend three or four hours trying to find the right thing to paint.” He participates in several shows in California, such as the La Quinta Arts Festival and the Laguna Beach Arts Festival. “Americans appreciate art, and this is very important to artists,” he says. “They give energy to artists, and that’s why we can stay on our feet.”
He is represented by El Presidio Gallery, Tucson, AZ, and R. Paul Mooney Fine Art, Scottsdale, AZ. His work can viewed online at www.123frame.com.
Featured in June 2002