Holly Elander’s two painting series create a balance between inactivity and action, and the absence of company as opposed to the celebration of their presence in our most intimate setting, the home. Solitary Shadows explores the backstreets and voyeuristic views of alleyways and neighborhoods during the eerie quiet of night. Through a stark contrast of light and dark and a deft attention to line, Elander creates an atmosphere of suspense. “I attempt to build a world on canvas as real as possible while giving as little information as I can, letting certain details hide in shadows and transform whole houses and trees into simplified silhouettes.”
In contrast to the foreboding moods in the solitary series, Their Home is a tribute to Elander’s family residence as a center of whimsical animal activity – from raccoons on the roof to snakes sunbathing in the driveway. Departing from the dark palette and indistinct architecture of the constructed landscape, pastel tones and the detailed furniture of Elander’s childhood express a personal attachment to the spaces within her canvases. The playful interaction of coyotes, mountain lions and raccoons within these intimate spaces exudes a whimsical lightheartedness. “With this series I wanted to create a whimsical tribute to all of the animals who have come to visit throughout the years by making my home theirs. With this series I wanted to create a whimsical tribute to all of the animals who have come to visit throughout the years by making my home theirs.”
Christine Rasmussen’s series Fenomenal explores the idea of femininity as a force of nature through the juxtaposition of ethereal cloth forms set against the linear structures of urban landscapes. With grid-like precision in their austerity, the buildings allude to the representation of societal norms as structures in our male-dominated society. The organic and sensual cloth forms float freely, unconstrained by the rigid lines and confines of the landscape.
“Inspired by Maya Angelou’s poem ‘Phenomenal Woman,’ I embrace femininity beyond the boundaries of time, place or culture. Drawing us into the landscapes – with their geometric patterns, the play of light and shadow and glimmers of something beyond – we are captivated by the remains of an extraordinary presence.”
Although the picture planes are figurative compositions, Rasmussen’s abstract interpretation of the female perspective surpasses literal representations and examines the female experience as fearless, strong and unapologetic without falling prey to tropes or limited definitions of femininity. As Rasmussen muses, “The spirited cloth shapes transcend all.”