Color takes center stage in McGowan exhibit

  • —Courtesy

  • Natalie Blakes bright creations of ceramic will be on display as part of McGowan Fine Art's Color Play exhibit. —Courtesy

  • Natalie Blakes bright creations of ceramic will be on display as part of McGowan Fine Art's Color Play exhibit. —Courtesy

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    Cathy Chin's "Gift Shop" will be on display as part of McGowan Fine Art's Color Play exhibit. —Courtesy

  • Cathy Chin’s “Janet’s Back Yard” will be on display at McGowan Fine Art. Courtesy of McGowan Fine Art

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    Cathy Chin's "Time for Lunch" will be on display as part of McGowan Fine Art's Color Play exhibit. —Courtesy

Monitor staff
Published: 4/26/2017 5:08:04 PM

Springtime melts New Hampshire’s monochromatic winter whites and grays into an abundance of colors, with blooming flowers and a return to activity.

The same is happening at McGowan Fine Arts Gallery. Color is everywhere. Opening Tuesday, the gallery will host a new exhibit “Color Play,” featuring the works of Natalie Blake, Cathy Chin and Amy Goodwin.

McGowan owner Sarah Chaffee and colleague Julie Hamel had the artists they wanted to feature and were thinking about how to connect them.

Chaffee said Hamel thought of the name because the three artists are working with bright, bold colors in their recent work.

“It’s a great title, isn’t it?” Chaffee said.

“It’s going to be a fun, colorful show,” she said, “a little whimsical.”

All three artists are veterans of the gallery and are located in New England.

“The theme ‘Color Play’ came at a good moment for me,” said Cathy Chin of Rhode Island. “I was inspired to do a series of summery paintings based on photos I had taken at Block Island.”

Chin’s paintings are primed with a coating of yellow ochre, which she allows to show through the cooler colors of her pieces.

“I have been working with brighter color in my flower and landscape paintings,” Chin said.

In her artist statement for the exhibit, Chin writes: “My new work is intentionally more about color. I have been working a lot with oil on canvas and I think I am gaining more mastery and fluidity over the medium, which of course leads to greater control over those brush strokes. I paint quickly hoping to keep an evenness of energy and intention.”

Energy and bright colors carry over into Amy Goodwin’s work.

“I associate bright color with seriousness and risk. In my work, color is punctuation and color is pause. It has been my experience that one and the same color evokes innumerable readings,” Goodwin writes in her artist statement.

Her works are more fluid, with whimsical lines and more abstract visuals. Her application of process also varies from piece to piece.

Some works of art are made by painting individual pieces of glass or plastic that are then adhered to the canvas. Others are painted in reverse, put on canvas, and then touched up frontwards. A third style employs airbrushing techniques. She has been developing those aspects of her craft over the last decade.

Goodwin said she’s always working on several series of work at once, which allows her to drift and experiment with different techniques.

“All the work ends up informing each other,” she said, “even though they seem desperate at the time.”

Using bright colors in her work is a way Goodwin believes she compensates for the lack of development in one of her eyes as a child. The “color punctuation” is a way for her to over respond to a lack of stereovision and depth perception.

Natalie Blake rounds out the artist trio with porcelain vessels coated with bright pigments.

The bold tones are reflective of her upbringing in the Caribbean.

“I attribute the simplicity of my forms to a desire that my vessels have a whole and graceful presence. I want my work to make a bold and prominent statement, yet have a restful composure,” Blake writes in her artist statement.

“I have always been drawn to color so this is a natural combination of artists for me,” Chaffee said.

The exhibit will run through June 2 and have an artists’ reception May 6 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. during the Capitol Arts Festival.

The gallery is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., or by appointment, at 10 Hills Ave., Concord.

(Sarah Kinney can be reached at or on Twitter

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