Landscapes We Seefeaturing: Heather Barros and Bill Jersey
This show runs from August 6, 2020 until September 6, 2020
Heather Barros and Bill Jersey train their eye upon an inhabited landscape, albeit a landscape momentarily void of inhabitants. We understand that this is a populated environment because we see traces of human endeavor - paths, bridges, buildings, and the like. Neither artist obligates her or himself to a literal representation, and both are willing to edit an element whenever it benefits her or his composition. Thus both paint expressively. Yet each sees in a very different way. This allows us, as viewers, to better appreciate how perception is diffracted through the lens of creativity.
Bill Jersey paints more boldly, generally on larger canvases and with a surreal palette. His color choices may be grounded in reality, but what we see is the product of an inspired imagination. Had we stood next to his easel, we would recognize these hues as a distant cousin to what we perceived with our own eyes. His subject matter, on the other hand, is clear and authentically rendered. There is no doubt about the objects in his composition. But it would be unfair to say he painted a barn, for example, when that barn is but a supporting actor to a stronger performance. That performance is one of imaginative observation. Objects become shapes. Shapes become vehicles whose sole purpose is to carry color and luminosity. We know this because, despite the detailed rendering of a particular habitat, we have no expectation of ever finding it. Nor do we yearn for an associated narrative. What matters are colors, shapes, and their luminosities.
Heather Barros paints on a more intimate, human scale. While her canvases vary in size, with several comparable to those of Bill Jersey's, their feeling is entirely different. She prefers a subtler, more nuanced coloration. Her environments are atmospheric. There is an inviting, deeper sense of space. For her, landscape is a metaphor for her surroundings as much as it is a state of mind. She is as inspired by a pickle jar at her kitchen table as she is by a meadow in a rural setting. And, in this exhibition, she illustrates how the lens of different media can bend the light of her vision. Small oils on wooden boards command the same attention as the larger canvases without offering greater detail as one might expect upon close inspection. And while her pastels degrade information to a greater extent, they amply reward with us with their saturation and luminosity. With Heather Barros' work, viewers can easily project themselves into her chosen settings and join the artist in meditation.
Heather Barros grew up in Massachusetts, trained as a geologist at Mount Holyoke and the University of Massachusetts, and raised three children with her husband, photographer and filmmaker Ricardo Barros. She is entering her 30th year as Director of Art Collaborations!, an independent art school in Princeton.
Bill Jersey is a professional filmmaker as well as a painter. Over a fifty year career his film awards have included two Peabody's, three Emmy's, and two Oscar nominations. Throughout this time, his weekends and occasional weeks were spent at the easel.
Ten years ago he focused his passion on landscape painting. Since then he has exhibited and received awards from many curated shows, including the Phillips Mill and Stover Mill, as well as New Hope Art League, Lambertville Historical Society, Hunterdon Art Museum, and many others.