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  • Carol Taylor-Kearney

Starting the Year at Cerulean Arts

I am disappointed—disappointed in myself that is. I usually attend the openings for the Cerulean Arts Collective, but due to scheduling conflicts, was unable to attend the opening for the January 27 through February 24th Collective Exhibition. I cherish these events because it allows me to meet the artists and talk to them about their passions and their process and everything in between. Seeing this work really brings home what I missed. These would have been some very interesting conversations.

Daniel Dallmann, Inside the Studio.

Daniel Dallmann.  Carla's Pot, My Fault.

Daniel Dallmann certainly knows how to paint. At first glance, I find myself pulled to the conventional imagery of oil paint on canvas or linen-- beautifully rendered objects and figures, garden close-ups and interiors. But as I look, I become more and more aware of the empty

spaces or those partially wrought. He is the magician who lets us in on the illusion. And he does it in such a way that every part of the painting supports every other and is open to our own imagining. Sometimes his attention to detail leads to parts seeming to float outside the painting surface. For example, the bowl in “Snare with Yellow Bird”. But then again, it feels purposeful. My personal favorites are “Carla’s Pot, My Fault” and “Inside the Studio”.

Lydia Hamilton Brown.  Dandy Pickpockets.

Lydia Hamilton Brown is a fiendishly good storyteller. Her brightly colored watercolor portraits and mixed-media works and shadowboxes have a casual ease and playfulness that just makes

Lydia Hamilton Brown.  Ain't Gonna Dance.

one smile. But as the details come out and one attaches each to a crime story that has been provided, that smile turns upside down. With her artwork I am gamed in every way possible—they are made of multiple layers, they are set up like a plan, they are entertaining. And I am enchanted.

The minute I looked at Gary Jenkins’s paintings, music began playing in my head. In particular, it was Al Stewart’s “Time Passages”. Why? I’m not quite sure. It wasn’t the colors. The palettes for each painting were well balanced, comely without being pretty. The

Gary Jenkins.  Optical Collusion.

shapes were discernible—some were transparent, some opaque; some of the paint slicked on, some scumbled. I think what it might be is the drifting quality, the movement across the canvas. Or in Al Stewart’s jargon, “There’s something there that you left behind… time passages.”

Jeff Thomsenen presents two types of oil paintings—larger interior still lifes and scenes with cats and small landscapes on panel. The quality that is most prominent in his execution is the light. I often thought of Edward Hopper when looking at his work. But he was also quite a colorist particularly in those small landscapes. On the one hand they appeared plein air in their specificity to the light and their freshness. But he pushes observed color making it somewhat unusual to nature though just right in the painting.

Jeff Thomsen.  Cats and Their Toys.

Ian Wagner has a dark nature. All of his works seem to begin with the application of ink. In some the ink is brought up making dark on dark with an image arising and spelled out with graphic details as in “Black Hole” and “Majesty”. Others, like “Queens Court”, are more pictorial because the lines surround areas also described by color. Either way, leave your logical brain at the door and just allow yourself to indulge in imagination rather than a specific narrative.

Ian Wagner.  Majesty.

All of these artists have additional art work on the Cerulean Arts web site at You can find them by going to “Exhibitions” on the tool bar, then “Artists” from the drop-down box. This will take you to an alphabetical index for all the artists associated with Cerulean Arts.

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