Ukiah Corner Gallery presents artists Linda MacDonald and Judy Chance Hope – The Ukiah Daily Journal
Acclaimed Willits artist Linda MacDonald will adorn the windows of the Corner Gallery in Ukiah with “a bit of everything”, as she laughs puts it, for the month of April.
Originally known for her pioneering work in the art quilt field, Linda eventually discovered that “storytelling was harder to do in quilts,” so she completely changed her medium to watercolor and oil painting. His show, titled “Trees and Tall Tales,” will feature everything to do with the Redwood Empire, humorous and serious, large and small, in watercolor and oil drawings and paintings. Most of the works will never have been seen at Ukiah.
Linda provided an artist statement that says it best:
“Northern California is full of natural beauty, but runs into extremes: from high mountains to low valleys; from raging wild rivers to controlled aqueducts moving water south; from tall redwoods to pygmy forests, and so on. We are in a time of climate change where global warming, summer fires and drought are the norm. My artistic work is a reflection of the events happening around me, which I hear about and see. I love creating stories about these events that will entertain viewers and draw them inside. In particular, I focused on two topics: Coastal Redwoods and Logging.
“Logging is of particular interest because it has been the main economic force in the northwest for the past century. It is now in decline because most of the trees have been cut down: the virgin redwoods and the fir trees, then the second growth, then the third. Rural economies must adapt and create new sources of income. Old logging sites are still alive in aging tourist attractions and in our imaginations. I like to use these images and the tradition of the old west to put together a visual story that is a bit of a mixture of fantasy and reality, but that promotes the continuity of the stories. Humor is part of my image delivery. I want to have fun while I draw, paint and create plays. The quirks of Californian architecture, its flora and fauna are to be admired. I think of Watts Towers, the Banana Slug, and the Pacific Giant Salamander as prime examples of unique California icons. Additionally, the use of humor allows us to view the less pleasant aspects of Californian life in an accessible way without being offensive. The news media deliver the daily negative assault on reality. I want to highlight the issues without dismissing the public. Humor can add levity to the social issues we face day to day.
“How to represent the magnificence of the giant sequoias? I paint their interiors, Coast and Sequoia: their forms, negative and positive, their colors, and their incredible beauty. The story of their aging is there in the wood – it’s marred, burnt and charred, graffiti-laden, smooth, textured or curly. Logging was and still is a big economic force in California. In the old uncut redwoods there are visual graphics to read about climate change and human intervention. Trees show the changes created by human-produced climatic and demographic forces and are symbols of longevity, resilience in conflict, and nature in all its glory. I photograph, draw and record the interior of these trees then, back in the studio, I print images of them as raw material for my watercolors and my large oils. I hope my works will create dialogue and inquiry into the location of these trees and their status. I want to generate interest in visiting them, recognize their value and help preserve them.
Another April guest artist on the walls of the Corner Gallery is Judy Chance Hope. She is a painter who lives outside of Willits, who describes her work as “elementary and direct”. Elaborating, she says, “I paint in oil and acrylic using loose realism and a personal palette. I find that the longer I look at the subject, the more colors I can see. My work is a celebration of a subject or place that I find meaningful. This is often a spot by a river or a surprise flower in the garden. I do my best to share the childlike awe and joy I see there.
Judy continues: “I am grateful to have been able to live in the forest for most of my life. My wish is for my paintings to inspire the viewer with some of the deep love and respect for the natural world that I feel and to take a closer look. In these times of rapid-fire digital images flashing before our eyes, I hope my paintings offer pause and a moment of calm and peace.
The first Friday opening of these exhibits will be Friday, April 1 from 5-8 p.m. at the Corner Gallery, 201 S. State St. in Ukiah. Live music will be provided by Chris Gibson. Guests are asked to wear masks for everyone’s safety, given the continued threat of exposure to COVID in indoor environments.