2007-06-08 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio Rockaway Artists Alliance

Shannon Elliott - An Artist Not To Miss
Commentary by Susan Hartenstein

Orchard IV
Orchard IV

RAA Exhibitions through Sunday, June 24: Planet Animals: sTudio 7 Gallery, Fort Tilden, Rockaway Center for the Arts (RoCA). The Recent Work of Shannon Elliott: A solo show featuring the most recent works of this widely exhibited upstate artist. sTudio 6 Gallery, Fort Tilden, RoCA. Full story below. Free admission. Gallery hours for both shows: Saturdays 12-4 p.m., Sundays 1-4 p.m. and by appointment.

Pet Fashion Parade: Sunday, June 10 from 1-3 p.m. Pets (and their families) are encouraged to dress to express themselves in this unique fashion show. Interested? Call 718 474-0861. Entrance fee: $5

RAA Hosts Student Exhibit at sTudio 7 Gallery, RoCA: Learning from Nature. Nature has been and continues to be a subject that captivates the interest of artists. It is the power, beauty, elegance and fragility of nature that inspires these artists and is the focus of the Scholars' Academy Eighth Grade Visual Arts Enrichment class.

On View: June 9 - June 20, 2007 Opening Reception: June 9, 2007 from 1 - 3 p.m.

Emily RAA Summer Solstice Event:

Thursday, June 21 is the summer solstice. RAA welcomes the summer with a gigantic Free Music Fest!!!!

Starting at 7 p.m. Come see bands perform on dueling stages. The bands: Kuff & The Buttheads, Fillet Of Soul, Daha, SixthBoro, Walker, and Indaculture.

Watercolor Class taught by Ellen Hoyt in sTudio 6 Gallery, June 15 and 22, 2007. Attend both classes or choose one: $35 per class. Materials: watercolor paints, watercolor paper, brushes, a can or something in which to wash brushes, or $5 materials fee, if you choose to have supplies provided. Please call Ellen if you need her to bring supplies or if you have any questions: 718-338-7281.

The images are haunting. Lyrical. They exist in a realm that is of the memory and of the present. While influenced by the actual, they are creations of the mind. They are dreams from which one awakes spent, yet reaching towards hope. These are The Recent Work of Shannon Elliott, now on view through June 24 at sTudio 6 Gallery, RoCA. A not-to-be-missed exhibition of enormous power and beauty.

Most of the oil paintings are of trees, singular or in numbers. Three of the ten include a person, one includes starling birds. Elliott calls them "portraits of trees." When asked why their branches are most frequently barren, Shannon replies that she likes the spaces between the branches, that is, the negative shapes. But there is more here. One must "read between the lines" between the branches. Elliott states that she may work from different references such as photographs. But mostly, she continues, she makes up the images. They are triggered from different memories, but are not about the past. They are about now. "About my sense of self- in the present." In her artist's statement Elliott writes, "In essence, the operation of memory is something that we cannot see or necessarily understand, but is a rich archive to mine for inspirations for art-making. In order to evoke memory in a piece of art, the artist uses visual metaphors. Each image can store a great many meanings which expand exponentially with each viewer." Indeed, the viewer returns again and again to the paintings in this show and each time sees more deeply into them and into like impulses in one's own soul. The images are powerful without being overpowering. They speak to us in our very quiet places. The painting that most affected me was Sumac Edge. In the foreground are leafless trees dressed only with sumac seed stalks. The background is of a dark storm-powered, limitless sea and the violet hues of a clouded sky. That highly charged juxtaposition was mesmerizing and emotionally gripping.

Shannon explains that she gets a picture of something in her head and the pictures evolve as she paints them. There is not necessarily a story for each, a linear narrative, but an overall mood. They are more like visual poems. She quotes Draaisma referring to memory being "[L]ike a dog that lies down where it pleases" and like a weaver of many complex threads. A memory is influenced, changed (even distorted) and triggered by many factors that come into play between then and now. Elliott further writes that memory is only one of the influences in her art. She may put down colors and simply like the way they look. Another artist's work may affect her.

In many of these works the foreground is composed of lines, boundaries, restrictions created by the branches of the trees. These are juxtaposed with a limitless background of land or sea and sky. These backgrounds may contain rays of warmth and hope, as in Orchard IV, or colors of longing and melancholy, as in Emily. Often the backgrounds contain both elements of optimism and pessimism. It is largely from this juxtaposition that the paintings derive their emotional impact. Elliott's expert use of color and glazing creates a kind of artistic sensuality and adds visual and emotional depth. The Recent Work of Shannon Elliott is a very special show you need to see.

"Emily" and "Orchard IV", are oil paintings by Shannon Elliott, now on view in her solo show at sTudio 6 Gallery, Fort Tilden.

Return to top

Email Us
Contact Us

Copyright 1999 - 2016 Wave Publishing Co. All Rights Reserved

Neighborhoods | History



Check Out News Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Riding the Wave with Mark Healey on BlogTalkRadio