Entre Fleurs et Mer
Marie Van Elder
August 25th – September 24th
Reception Thursday, August 25 – 6-9pm
The Great Highway Gallery is pleased to present Marie Van Elder Entre Fleurs et Mer (between flowers and sea). The exhibition will feature still life and seascape oil paintings by Marie Van Elder.
About the Artist
Van Elder was born in Brussels, Belgium. She graduated from Universite Catholique de Louvain, Belgium and received her MFA in Painting in 2003 from California College of the Arts, San Francisco. Van Elder’s work has been exhibited in California (San Jose ICA, SF MOMA Artists Gallery, Oakland Art Gallery, Berkeley Art Center, Marin MOCA, Headlands CFA, etc…), New York, Utah, and Tokyo. She was recently included in the national exhibition RTBF/Canvas, La Collection at the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels and featured in New American Paintings and Studio Visit magazine. She currently lives and works between Northern California and Brussels.
As a “contemporary realist painter,” i am constantly looking for visual ways to explore shapes, make meaningful marks, establish color relationships, organize space, find metaphors. Nature (“morte” and “vivante”) reliably provides multiple opportunities.
I have recently become visually fascinated by the northern coast and its unruly ocean and crashing waves, unpredictable currents, enduring rocks, ever changing contours and light, moody reflections, moving skies. Its ominous presence elicits both anxiety and comfort, unease and reverence, danger and trepidation, a certain longing… It is a place of chaos where the whimsical can rapidly transform into the catastrophic! (and environmental concerns) Contradictory emotional states get amped up! (Which is what compels me to paint!) The intimacy of my seascapes is a humble attempt to tame this mysterious force.
Oscillating between intimate connections with Nature, I also look at familiar objects and their reassuring domesticity. The things i care about, their tactile presence, their vibrant simplicity, their ephemeral power, their feminine modesty, the way I arrange them, the way they embody the memory of times and people in my life, their “hidden” little massages and drama, their seemingly unimportance… Still lifes hold symbols, seasonal cycles, personal meaning, a sense of vanitas , despite their “no fuss” quality. The same way the ocean does.
In the end, these small paintings are a quiet celebration of life, impermanence and hope and solitary bliss.