OPENING:Artists’ Reception, Saturday, April 20, 6-8pm
Couturier Gallery is pleased to present Affinities, an exhibition of recent works by Los Angeles painter Olga Seem and collage artist Maritta Tapanainen. Focusing on the contrasting disciplines of drawing and collage, Affinities highlights the shared intricacies that both artists bring to their individual approaches examining the micro-macrocosm world around them. The opening reception for the artists will be Saturday, April 20 from 6-8pm.
The biological definition of affinity is ‘a relationship or resemblance in structure between species that suggests a common origin,’ which very aptly describes the creative evolution of these two artists. Olga Seem has cultivated a definitive style, using a mixed medium of ink and acrylic on paper mounted on canvas, in producing her combination painting and drawings which contrast systematic grids and cropped fields with fluid, organic forms suggestive of marine life. Using a pointillistic inspired approach, she creates a background of a grid composed of ink-drawn circles. Although systematic, each section develops a rhythm of its own and forming a pulsing background to the superimposed features of ocean anomalies, detritus and mandalas. These elements are often accented with a light acrylic wash which adds to the distillation of the object as if on display or under observation in a science lab.
Maritta Tapanainen has elevated the art of collage to a master level using pre-printed cut paper as a ‘drawing’ technique, layering biomorphic fretwork to create what looks like a delineated orchestration of microscopic particles. In her painstaking attention to detail, Tapanainen uses images from old technological and medical manuals from which she diligently cuts out her “lines” used in constructing her imagery. Similar to Olga Seem’s backgrounds, Tapanainen creates a backdrop for these celestial looking amalgamations using a grid pattern constructed from squares of monochromatic paper (unlike Seem’s work, Tapanainen uses no other materials than the appropriated cut paper). The imagery itself ventures from the heavens, with exploding celestial bodies suggesting galaxies, milky ways and novas, down to beneath the oceans where swarm amoebas and a vast population of microscopic organisms. In describing the affinity their work shares Tapanainen writes:
“We are keen observers of the complexities found in the natural world…of the varietal, wondrous, and peculiar…in the seed, the cellular, leaves, shells, bones. We like the crossover of the real to the surreal.”
Olga Seem, born in Los Angeles, CA, has won numerous awards including the Fresno Art Museum, Distinguished Artist for 2004; The Pollock-Krasner Foundation Artist Grant in 2002; and the E.D. Foundation Artist Grant in 1989 and 1993. Her works can be found in public collections including the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, San Francisco, CA; Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA; Albuquerque Museum of Art, Albuquerque, NM; Everson Museum, Syracuse, New York; Fresno Art Museum, Fresno, CA; The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii.
Maritta Tapanainen, born in Finland, has exhibited extensively throughout the United States and Japan. She received the Pollock-Krasner Grant in 2004 and 2007 and her work may be found in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, as well as numerous private collections.
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