Right Angles & Raw Edges: Buildings in the Landscape
June 2 - July 10
*Bets will be at the gallery on July 23rd from 1:30-2:30 for any fans to visit!*
Karin Clarke Gallery is pleased to present a solo show of new works by landscape painter Bets Cole. Nearly forty watercolor and gouache paintings will be on display, showcasing the relationship between buildings and nature in Oregon, Ireland, France, and Italy. Among these works is a series of fifteen “mini” vignettes, all painted from inside the artist’s car during the pandemic shut down. Each piece highlights the beauty and contrast of the built environment and surrounding landscape. This exhibit opens June 2 at Karin Clarke Gallery’s main location on Willamette St. in Eugene.
ARTIST STATEMENT/Right Angles & Raw Edges: Buildings in the Landscape
The landscape is nature’s canvas, a constant work in progress of shifting line, color, shape, and texture. Humankind also makes its mark upon the land, albeit with manmade materials. Telephone lines and bird migrations create lines above us, while streetlights and stars add diamonds of light to a midnight sky. Architecture and nature are often seen as foes, but they can also be collaborators.
Right Angles & Raw Edges celebrates the beauty of the relationship between nature and architecture. Both create shape, rhythm, and repetition in the landscape. Humans add roofs, garages, and painted doors to the land; nature in turn adds fall colors, creeping vines, and majestic trees, which soften those hard lines.
I am visually fascinated by the introduction of a red car in a driveway, or blackberries climbing a deteriorating barn. A cabin built in a grass field feels unlike a farm stand sitting in front of carefully planted rows of corn. A planing mill surrounded by hills of timber seems a world away from a highrise apartment overlooking a city park. Each is equally captivating.
Among works in this show is a series of eighteen “mini” vignettes, all painted from inside my car during the pandemic, when my travel was limited by personal safety, regulations, and weather. Other pieces were painted much farther afield – in France, Italy, and the wider US. This diversity of subject matter reflects the ever-creative, human-nature partnership.
Bets Cole earned her undergraduate degree at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and her Master's of Fine Arts at the University of Oregon in Eugene, OR. Working primarily in the plein air tradition, she paints outside in the landscape with immediacy and openness. She welcomes the challenge of exploring and painting unfamiliar places. Her choice of medium – whether acrylic, watercolor, gouache or charcoal – is dictated by the subject matter, colors, and quality of light specific to each location.
When she is not traveling, Bets works from her studio in her home on an eighty-acre farm in Oregon. Recently she has explored new subject matter through large-format portraits and postcard-sized vignettes of objects and people she has met throughout her travels. Her work is included in the following permanent collections: M & T Investment Group (Baltimore, MD), Marathon Coach (Eugene, OR), Oregon State University (Corvallis, OR), and the University of Oregon. Additionally, Bets' paintings have been included in numerous publications, including Visual Magic: An Oregon Invitational (Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, 2019), Microbiomes: To See the Unseen (The Corvallis Arts Center, 2017) and, David McCosh: Learning to Paint is Learning to See by Roger Saydack (2017).