This story was featured in the July 2015 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art July 2015 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!
“Pairing Doug Dawson and Tamar Kander for Colors Remembered and Imagined juxtaposes Dawson, a representational artist, with Kander, a non-objective artist, in a highly satisfying exhibition filled with color, texture, memory, and invention,” says Ventana Fine Art’s consultant Wolfgang Mabry. More than two dozen new works by these passionate and dedicated artists are featured during the show, which opens with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. on July 10 and closes on July 29.
Dawson, who lives near Denver and works in both pastels and oils, was a figurative painter for the first 15 years of his career but is now known for his rural and urban scenes, including atmospheric urban night scenes. He became fascinated with capturing the nightlife in cities such as Denver, New York, and San Francisco two decades ago, and in recent years he has expanded his work to include many other metropolitan areas. “I teach workshops around the country, and I’m often inspired by the locations I visit,” explains Dawson. “Most architecture, with the exception of places like Santa Fe, is similar enough that my scenes remind viewers of places they know.”
Happy memories come into play in many of Dawson’s landscapes, especially the ones that are reminiscent of his childhood in Minnesota and Illinois and contain images such as farmhouses nestled among trees and meadows filled with flowers. Lately, Dawson has been inspired by landscapes in northern New England, where he’s been spending a considerable amount of time. Paintings of places in Maine and Vermont are featured in the show alongside works depicting some of his favorite Rocky Mountain scenes close to home.
Architecture and landscapes also inspire Kander but in completely different ways. Images seep into her subconscious and emerge transformed by her feelings about them in her nonobjective paintings. “Water has been creeping into my work lately,” explains Kander, who lives next to a country lake in Indiana. “I often spend time standing on my balcony looking at the water.” And Kander’s interest in architecture goes far beyond buildings. She photographs everything from garages and walls to bridges, using these visual references as reminders of their emotional impact on her.
The materials Kander incorporates into her paintings include powdered gesso, cold wax, drywall compound, acrylic medium, oils, and marble dust. Her paintings’ many layers reveal and conceal some unusual, and quite personal, ingredients. “I may sweep the studio floor and put what I find in the paintings,” she says. “There will be dust, graphite from pencil shavings, and even some of my hair. If I find a bookmark I like, I may put it in a work. Envelopes and cards have found their way into my paintings. All these things enrich the surface of the paintings.”
Kander describes her work as an evolutionary process that subtly changes through the years. “It’s neither figurative nor abstract,” she says. “Rather, I see it as a metaphor for experience.” —Emily Van Cleve
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