FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
August 25, 2022

MEDIA CONTACT:
Gallery Syre
info@gallerysyre.com
(360) 746-8745
https://www.gallerysyre.com/

Gallery Syre Presents Artists From the Pacific Northwest

Gallery Syre is proud to announce its new exhibition "Artists From The Pacific Northwest" featuring the works and life of 4 local artists: Francis Xavier Donovan, Anita H. Lehmann, Bonnie Smerdon, and David Syre.

The Pacific Northwest has inspired artists since the time of the first explorers and inhabitants in the area. The earliest settlements in the region date back to 2000 BCE, as does the history of artmaking. Some of the Northwest's first formal imagery came from the region’s earliest explorers. With this exhibition, Gallery Syre’s goal is to offer a collective portrait of the Pacific Northwest school of art, one that’s ever-evolving, bountiful, and full of character.

September 1, 2022 - January 29, 2023:

Captain James Cook published drawings, maps, and charts executed by his draftsman, John Webber, created during Cook’s famous 1776 expedition. Lewis and Clark's renowned expedition across the western United States was also a rich source of early imagery of the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean. Alfred Agate and Joseph Drayton produced many fine-line drawings during Captain Charles Wilkes' 1841 expedition through Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. By the mid-1840s, American pioneers were arriving in the Northwest territories by the thousands. Paul Kane, a Canadian and one of the first serious artists to work in the region, was eminently successful in depicting the daily lives of the native inhabitants, producing over four hundred sketches and numerous canvases. In 1859 he authored the highly successful Wanderings of an Artist Among the Indians of North America, thereby drawing upon what was to become one of the region's most prominent themes.

Today, Art from the Pacific Northwest is a recognized category of United States art. The Northwest School, which flourished in the 1930s–40sis characterized by elements such as earthy tones, symbols of the nature in the Pacific Northwest, spiritual or mystical themes, and the diffuse lighting characteristic of the Skagit Valley. You will also see influences from surrealism, cubism, and abstract impressionism. The earliest and most defining participants were four Seattle artists: Guy Anderson, Kenneth Callahan, Morris Graves, and Mark Tobey. Later, Emily Carr became the most famous female representative. Inspired by both their travels and the surrounding environment at home, these talented artists combined natural elements of the Puget Sound area with traditional Native American and Asian aesthetics in a new way.

This outstanding creative history has inspired Gallery Syre’s current exhibition, “Artists From The Pacific Northwest.” In this exhibition, Gallery Syre brings together Francis Donovan, Anita H. Lehmann, Bonnie Smerdon, and David Syre, four artists of different generations who each in their own way exemplify the rich creative heritage of the Northwest artist.  Francis Donovan’s paintings and sculptures are -visually- well connected to the area’s rich creative culture.  His choice of color, expressionistic brushstrokes, and stylized figures are cultivated from folklore and the art of others and of his peers. Donovan’s vision is filled with references to the land and his community yet offers the otherworldly feeling of a dreamscape. Bonnie Smerdon’s view is similarly uncanny. Smerdon’s abandoned spaces, with their unique light sources, feel like they are images of local landmarks from another dimension. Anita H. Lehmann and David Syre’s paintings, on the other hand,  are directly inspired by the landscapes “outside their windows”: Lehmann’s artistic language is simplified and abstract, creating both warm views of the West Coast and of interior settings. David Syre has traveled the world studying forms of religion, spiritual practices, and Indigenous peoples and civilizations. He is captivated by the ancient wisdom of nature he found at the core of these cultures. Nature, these Indigenous cultures, and the primordial connection between them and the land became one of the biggest influences on his art.

        We acknowledge that Whatcom County is located on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples. They cared for the lands that included what we’d call the Puget Sound region, Vancouver Island and British Columbia since time immemorial. This gives us the great obligation and opportunity to learn how to care for our surrounding areas and all the natural and human resources we require to live. We express our deepest respect and gratitude for our indigenous neighbors, the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, for their enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.
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