Sunday, June 21, 2009

Penny Oliphant Named Artist of Distinction in Dwellings Exhibition

Penny Oliphant's paintings in Still Point Art Gallery's show Dwellings look and feel like pieces of America. The house at the railroad crossing, the vacation cabins with the 1950s-ish car in front, and the trailer beside a split rail fence...that's America. But then let's mention the bright and somewhat surreal colors...a certain twist on America. Call me crazy, but for some reason I hear good old-fashioned American folk music when I look at these paintings. In these pieces, the subjects are so grounded and solid, but the colors make the pieces move and sing. I hear music!

I asked Penny a few questions about her art...

Christine (Gallery): How would you describe your style? What draws you to your particular style of art?

Penny: I would describe my style as Contemporary Realism. I'm drawn to artwork that has an edge to it. Instead of being concerned with representing outward beauty, I'm more interested in discovering the unsettling reality that exists beneath the surface of contemporary life.

Christine: What are you seeking to express through your art?

Penny: I want to express my response to the solitary and sometimes desolate nature of the landscapes found along the back roads of interior Maine and New England.

Christine: What is the inspiration for your subjects...what inspired the subjects of the pieces in the Dwellings exhibition?

Penny: I'm inspired by intense light transforming the marginal places and objects along the roadside. In each of these paintings, my attention was initially focused on the remoteness of these structures. Drawing these subjects made me aware of their impermanent existence. Too often what I paint is eventually torn down and destroyed. I'm a member of the Society for Commercial Archeology, a group of professionals who value much of what is currently neglected along our highways.

Burnham Crossing, Mohawk Cabins, and Route 100 Trailer are available from Still Point Art Gallery. Contact Christine Cote by email or by phone (207.837.5760).

Christine Cote
Still Point Art Gallery
June 24, 2009

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