Art professor exhibits overseas oil paintings

Bringing landscape paintings and animal portraits from travels abroad, as well as from Washington, Whitworth art professor Gordon Wilson opened a new art exhibit at the Tinman Gallery Oct. 26.

The exhibit, titled “Brunch at Wasnick’s,” boasts 30 paintings from travels to Italy in the summer of 2010 and Germany in 2011, as well as landscapes from Ridgefield, Wash., and Vence, France.

The majority of the oil-on-linen paintings were crafted on site, while others were partially completed abroad and finished in the studio. A few of the paintings are purely studio-made from sketches and memory.

The paintings from Wilson’s stay with friends Ute and Klaus Wasnick in Adelberg, Germany, are the most recently made paintings in the exhibit. During his stay, Wilson frequently visited the neighbors, who own goats, chickens and rabbits.

“It was an experience just to go there,” Wilson said. “I was there to paint landscapes, but the animals were just so interesting.”

His works from Germany include landscape paintings, but Wilson primarily focused on the animals, which he described as social and fun. Paintings of goats at the brunch table, mingling chickens and crows in flight coalesce in Wilson’s first group of paintings with animals.

“I like the direction the paintings with the animals are taking,” said Bryan Oliver Gallery director and art professor Lance Sinnema. “They are very engaging and lively.”

One of the largest paintings in the exhibit displays three female goats and a chicken waiting at a set table with the fence and pasture behind them. The painting, Wilson said, is as life-size as he could make it and embodies the playfulness of the animals.

“We didn’t actually have them to brunch, we had them there in spirit,” Wilson said. “It was important they were on the table side of the fence — they weren’t, but it was much more fun that way.”

The larger paintings in his collection were too large to have been painted on site and thus were painted in Wilson’s studio. Though he was no longer among the animals, Wilson said that as they began to materialize in the painting, they kept him company.

“When I was painting them, it was as if I was confronting them, as if I was meeting them again,” Wilson said. “I’ve never had this much fun painting before.”

“Brunch at Wasnick’s” will be open through Nov. 25 at the Tinman Gallery at 811 W. Garland Ave.


Luke Eldredge Staff Writer

Contact Luke Eldredge at

Layers of a “Gray/Grey” world

Artist opens new exhibit in Bryan Oliver Gallery

Artist Michelle Forsyth brings together watercolors, paintings and weavings that she said offer the viewer a meditative viewing space. Forsyth is opening an exhibit titled “Gray/Grey” in the Bryan Oliver gallery on Nov. 13.

The water colors are saturated hues continually layered until grey tones are created, but the original washes of color can still be seen in certain lighting, as well as on the edges of the paintings. Forsyth’s work is process-oriented; she said she enjoys  delving into the meditative space it creates.

“I try to employ practices and technologies that slow myself down,” Forsyth said. “They are so time consuming that I get caught up in it.”

Forsyth said the viewer often considers these meditative works as abstractions, even though they are representations.

Gallery director and art professor Lance Sinnema said the pieces are very layered.

“It sounds like the surfaces are very subtle,” Sinnema said. “When you look at them from a distance it’s just grey tones, but as you get closer you notice all the layers.”

The exhibit will also include woven pieces that are a return to Forsyth’s creative origin: knitting and needlework taught to Forsyth by her mother. These pieces continue the process-oriented theme and are made from many different materials, including bamboo and cotton.

“I’m also really interested in labor,” Forsyth said. “The labor is impugned into the work”

A viewer mentioned to Forsyth that these works looked like her husband’s shirts. After hearing this, Forsyth began work that is actually based on patterns from her husband’s shirts.

“It was just an off-hand comment, but I went with it,” Forsyth said.

Those pieces incorporate paintings on wood, linen and weavings. Unlike the water colors which are made with large brushstrokes, these paintings are created with tiny brushstrokes, creating a new texture.

“It slows people down when they view the work,” Forsyth said.

Forsyth has displayed work in group and solo exhibits throughout North America and overseas, including the Zaum Projects in Portugal, the Pentimenti Gallery in Philadelphia, and the Hogar Collection in New York. She is currently associate professor in the fine arts department at Washington State University.

“Gray/Grey” opens at the artist’s reception Nov. 13 at 5 p.m. in the Bryan Oliver Gallery. Forsyth will give a lecture at 6 p.m.

Luke Eldredge Staff Writer

Contact Luke Eldredge at