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Still Life Is Alive And Well

The genre of still life painting is alive and well in Portland, Oregon and will be showcased at the Attic Gallery at their upcoming First Thursday opening on March 1, 2012.  Works by Bill Baily, Diane Lewis and Gail Larson Joseph, three of the artists represented by the Gallery, will be presented.

A “Still Life” is a style of painting depicting an artful arrangement of inanimate objects. Popular subjects include flowers, fruit, kitchen and eating utensils, small personal objects and occasionally dead fish or game. Some of the earliest examples were found in Egyptian tombs, and again later from the Roman Empire era.  The style then seems to have disappeared until the Renaissance (c. 1400-1600) when it became popular in Northern Europe. The Dutch were especially adept at creating highly realistic paintings using oil-based paints whose characteristics allowed for the subtle blending and layering of colors.  The genre slowly spread to other parts of the world and remains a popular art form today.

Bill Baily is a retired pharmacist who has been painting for over 40 years. His simple yet skillfully-executed watercolor still life paintings usually consist of one, two or a grouping of fruit on a contrasting background. His work has been shown at the Portland Art Museum and is among many permanent collections in office buildings throughout Portland as well as private collections around the world. Baily also paints landscapes and seascapes in an impressionistic style, and more recently has been working with collage and abstract acrylic paintings.

The work of Eugene, Oregon artist Diane Lewis is influenced by her surroundings in the Willamette Valley. She began painting with watercolor and later transitioned to oils. Lewis creates lovingly-detailed classic still life paintings of fruits, flowers and vegetables, as well as more whimsical compositions. Her work also includes tranquil Plein Aire landscapes of the Willamette Valley and Cascade Mountains. She has had exhibitions at the Vistra Gallery in Eugene, and the Ryan Gallery located in Lincoln City, Oregon.

Gail Larsen Joseph studied under notable artists at Willamette University, and continued learning under teachers such as the late John Waddingham who was formerly the editorial art director at The Oregonian newspaper.  While traveling throughout Europe, Joseph became enamored of still life paintings by 16th and 17th Century Flemish artists. Many of her works feature a Japanese Imari porcelain dish paired with fresh fruit.

The Attic Gallery got its start in the attic of Diana Faville’s home in 1973. Later, the gallery moved to a NW Portland warehouse and finally to its present home at 206 SW First Avenue in 1984. At that time the Attic Gallery was one of only a few art galleries in Portland. The Still Life Show at Attic Gallery will be on exhibition through March. If you think Still Life is a dead art form, think again and take in this show.