Show Preview | Howard/Mandville Gallery: 22nd Anniversary Show

Kirkland, WA, June 8-July 8

Sueellen Ross, Hero Worship, mixed media, 11 x 11.

Howard/Mandville Gallery celebrates a milestone this month with an all-gallery group show. “This is the 22nd anniversary of the gallery at this location,” says gallery owner Pat Howard. “We’ve actually been in the art and framing business in the Seattle-Puget Sound area since 1972. We started in the framing end of things and expanded into the gallery business from there. For a while we operated two galleries in the Puget Sound area,” she says.

Howard/Mandville’s 4,000-square-foot gallery features works from some 40 painters and sculptors, and it is one of the area’s largest venues. “Most of our artists do representational or realistic work,” says Howard. “We are one of the few galleries in the area that offer that. We do branch a little into abstract art,” she adds, noting, “Most of the work in the Seattle area is very cutting-edge, modern work, and not a lot is offered in the representational, realistic genre.”

Howard/Mandville’s anniversary show does not have a specific theme, Howard says. “We have a broad selection of paintings in all different media, subjects, and styles. It’s an all-gallery and all-artist show of the artists we represent on an ongoing basis. We requested up to three new paintings from each artist, so we have a nice selection.” The show opens with an artists’ reception on Friday, June 8, from 6 to 8 p.m.

“My inspiration is light and where the light is contrasting—a moment of awe that takes my breath away,” says artist Diane Ainsworth, whose favorite subject is reflections on water. In her painting SPRING THAW, on display in the show, a canyon creek sheds its snowy banks, promising summer’s warmth. Ainsworth’s luminous landscapes are the perfect segue to the summer solstice and long, sunlit days of June.

Gallery artist Joseph Lorusso, whose works also are on view, says, “I’m generally a genre painter, so I paint a lot of everyday scenes and people in cafes.” Lorusso’s warm and moody paintings harken back to the early 20th century. Couples embrace, friends relax over coffee, or men stride off to work in overalls, picks in hands. Lorusso’s work is reminiscent of Edward Hopper’s working-class subjects and themes that make the commonplace poetic—but with a 21st-century sensibility and without Hopper’s loneliness. Also a kind of modern-day Toulouse-Lautrec, Lorusso has honed his powers of observation, both for humanity and artistic technique. His enigmatic characters lure viewers into different states of mind. “I believe truly great art serves as a trigger into something deeper within all of us,” Lorusso says.
Equally evocative but quite dissimilar, Sueellen Ross’ animal images draw us into a completely different emotional place. Ross is a serious animal person who specializes in painting cats and dogs and the occasional bird. Any fellow pet owner or animal lover will be smitten by her menagerie and her exquisite technique, capturing the most heartfelt and humorous moments.

Ross “etches” her drawings onto watercolor paper with a hard-lead pencil, and then she fills in areas with color using a combination of watercolor, India ink, and colored pencil to achieve sometimes photo-realistic images. “I’m an old printmaker,” she says, “so it’s basically an etching on paper with all the color put on media by media.” —Reed Glenn

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