WESTFIELD - The Octagon Gallery at Patterson Library opens a new exhibit, "Natural Elements," on Friday, Sept. 28 with a reception from 7 to 9 p.m.
Featuring the work of Christine French, Heather Miller Kanazawa, Toni Kelly and Kristen Paduano, the exhibit includes paintings and photography that explore the natural world.
French finds inspiration from her own garden and from the artist Georgia O'Keefe.
“Red Leaf” by Heather Miller Kanazawa is one of many pieces making up the Natural Elements exhibit opening on Friday, Sept. 28 at the Octagon Gallery at Patterson Library.
"Can you see the similarities in my close up photography of flowers," she said. "The seasons, the beauty of this area, our garden, greenhouse and nature are all true inspiration for my photography."
Born in Cleveland, Ohio and now living in North East, Pa., she describes herself as a city girl with a country girl's heart.
The exhibit will include a series of landscapes by Kanazawa, exploring memories of places, textures, and natural elements form her childhood in the country. A photograph cannot capture her memories from childhood, but with paint she is able to reach them in the corners of her mind.
"Although my paintings are seemingly abstract, they are depicted from everyday life experiences," Kanazawa said. "I explore color, form and textures within my compositions. The process includes layering of paint and disintegration of form. In order to explore the concept of memory successfully, this process is important, as some memories remain clouded under strains of daily life."
Kelly works with a variety of media, including handmade paper, to capture the stories told in nature.
"When I see the expressions on birds, the flow and abstract qualities of the landscape and the vibrant colors of my garden flowers I want to capture these visionary moments and stories from my backyard and on my nature hikes through my paintings and handmade books," she said. "Watercolors allow me to express moments in nature with layers of washes creating detail and contrast where needed along with soft and blurred edges."
Paduano set up her easel throughout the summer, finding places and wildlife scenes that have captured her attention.
"This has been a life changing year for me and its very noticeable in the brushstrokes throughout these new works," she said. "Keeping the impressionistic qualities that many of my paintings carry and adding a sense of electricity throughout these pieces that bring them to life."
The opening is free and open to the public. Wine for the opening has been generously donated by Johnson Estate. This exhibit will be on view from Friday, Sept. 28 to Saturday, Oct. 26 and will be open during regular library hours. The Patterson Library's art gallery program is funded in part by the New York State Council on the Arts Decentralization Re-grant Program administered by the Cattaraugus County Arts Council. Contact Octagon Gallery Curator Nancy Ensign for interest in art exhibition for the year 2014 or Art Escapes programming at 326-2154 or firstname.lastname@example.org.