305 N 5th Street, Norfolk NE 68701 info@norfolkartscenter.org 402.371.7199

Stearns, Petersen Fall Exhibitions Bring Color to the Art Center

Thursday, September 9th the artists will join us for an opening reception to celebrate the new exhibitions arrival to our Gallery and Atrium. Social hour will be from 5 – 6 and then the Artists will speak about their respective artwork and will take time to answer questions.

September 2, 2021 – November 25, 2021

Eric Stearns – Gallery Artist – The Evolution of Color

This past year, I’ve been working on developing a brand new color palette of glazes and this show represents the fruits of my labor. My color vocabulary is split between very muted and pastel shades and a brighter, more vibrant color scheme.

Many of the color combinations on my pieces are directly influenced by nature. The chemicals chlorophyll, carotenoids, and anthocyanin are collectively responsible for shades of green, orange, and purple in foliage. These and many other chemical compounds direct how certain light wavelengths are reflected or absorbed to show the colors your eyes can see.

Although I’m using a different variety of chemicals to achieve these colors, the process is very similar. Chemicals are used in various combinations and percentages in my base glaze to achieve the colors I’m looking for. I’ve created hundreds of test batches of glazes that were carefully applied to test tiles and fired. These test tiles were then narrowed down to about 40 different shades and colors to consider for my latest body of work.

Tessa Petersen – Atrium Artist – Outlines

I work with the medium of oil paint on wooden panels as a means of subverting the views of women present in traditional portraiture. I paint portraits of women with whom I am or have been close, but I also paint acquaintances, and occasionally, strangers. Since I usually know these women, I have an idea of their personalities and behavioral tendencies, so I use this knowledge to paint them with autonomy and subjectivity. I paint them to show them as real, relatable people, not just objectified things in which to take pleasure in staring.

Another idea that my work deals with is fashion and patterning. I often change the clothing of a subject to make the painting more aesthetically pleasing and to be representative of some aspect of her personality or identity. Fashion and the decorative arts are also areas which typically have been associated with women and the feminine, which fits in with my interest in gender.

Photography also plays and important role in my practice. The basis for my paintings are photographs which I have taken. I always take them in social settings, so most of the time people are unaware because I take them with an iPhone. This allows me to get authentic, candid shots of people experiencing a brief moment. The paintings partially function as pieces of my memory and are about the social relationships in my life which I capture with this candid photography. In this regard, my work also has a connection to social media imagery.

The images I take and paint from are the type of images you might see a person post on Instagram or Facebook while on a night out. They relate to the way in which women use social media, as a way to take control of their own image and how they are shown. They have a snapshot, candid quality and are often cropped in a way which is more indicative of social media photography than traditional portrait painting. These images are so ubiquitous in our mediated world, we become numb to them and they all blend together. I transfer them into paint so they can feel unique again. I try to bring the best of both worlds, painting and photography, into my work: the solidity and timelessness of painting with the immediacy and authenticity of photographs.