Featured Artists of the Month
Each month or so we feature one or more artists picked at random..
| Gary Giovane – Acrylics on Cedar Website
When I first came to Washington State in the mid-1970’s, Northwest Coast Native Art immediately captured my imagination and secured my love as a decorative form. However, with increased exposure to Native history, art, and culture through my archeological experiences at Fishtown and Ozette and my twenty-three years teaching at Neah Bay, I came to understand that this art was much more than just a decorative form. This was a living art intertwined with function, symbolism, spirituality, and social significance. The formal, two-dimensional Northwest Coast Native painting tradition forms the foundation of my style. The art of painting on cedar, seen in the house fronts, interior screens, boxes, and chests, continually inspires and influences my work. Painting on wood, mostly red cedar, I use primary formlines to create the structure of my designs. In this way I try to stay true to the cultural traditions of the Northwest Coast, but these are not the only creative influences on my art.
Over time I began to incorporate the inspiration gained from three other cultural traditions into my art. The first addition to my developing style came from being introduced to the Celtic art tradition after visits to Scotland. Celtic knotwork, spirals and other design elements began to influence my designs through my interest in Pictish standing stones, Celtic crosses, and especially illuminated manuscripts like the Lindisfarne Gospels and the Book of Kells. I was surprised to see the cultural similarities between Celtic and Northwest Native art. Both cultures have many aspects in common being tribal, clan-oriented, art-rich, and having strong oral traditions.
The second set of influences came through the arts of Japan. From the traditions surrounding ceramics, textiles, and painted folded screens, I have developed an appreciation of and a love for pattern. Japanese woodblock prints, with their exquisite sense of composition and their two-dimensional, flat blocks of color, fit well within the coast formline foundation of my art. Finally, the asymmetry favored in Japanese design acts as a counter-balance for the strong bilateral symmetry favored by Northwest Coast Native artists.
The final and overlying inspiration for my art came from the British Arts and Crafts Movement (in particular the Glasgow Style) and Japan’s Mingei Movement. The philosophical foundations provided by Ruskin, Morris, and Yanagi have given me the courage to create my own art, without the fear of producing work that is somewhat less than the perfection expected of today’s manufactured world. Art is made to show the beauty of the natural world, and it links us to our place within it. I work to the best of my ability, and though the end product may be exploratory, the result is an honest expression of passion.
Past Featured Artists Include:
Jennifer McGill, Caroline Garland, Rick Klauber, Sheila Johnson, Melanie Dugan, Linde Husk, Sarah Dalton, Amanda Martin, Sandra Glen, Jill Whitmore, Carol Evans, Maria Wickwire, Jo Jones, Linde Husk, Denise Jackson, Ron King, Birgit LaFace, Maria Wickwire, Neil Wesche, Andy Porter, Cynthia Richardson, Marie-Claire Dole, Maggi Mason, Gene Jaress, Annette Tamm, Nancy Vogel, Liane Redpath, Dee Doyle, Kathleen Ritz, Caroline Garland, Phoenix Rising, John Parks, Athena Hornsby, Karla Rae Matista, Joanne Ossewarde, Jane Penman, Susan Lenarz, Terry MacDonald, John Sedgwick, Tom Pickett, Thais Armstrong, Barbara Silverman Summers, Lin McJunkin, Dinah Snipes Steveni, Christie Houston, John McClain, Susan Lenarz, Andi Shannon, Sukey Jacobsen, Kathy Huckleberry, Robert-Gigliotti, Steve Philbrick, Theodora Jonsson, Catherine Kerwick, Katherine Lewis, and Mary Quintrall.