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Artist Talk - Serena Potter

Lois Lambert Gallery, Suite E3
Artist Talk

Lois Lambert Gallery will be exhibiting Serena Potter’s “Inside Out”. This collection of oil paintings and drawings focuses on themes of sense of self, perceived change or imperfection, private pain vs. public persona, and interpersonal connections. Her paintings and drawings are notable for their use of chiaroscuro inspired by the dramatic cinematic lighting and compositional elements used in lm noir. In addition she has been influenced by masters of the golden age such as Norman Rockwell and J.C. Leyendecker. She creates paintings in oil on birch panel or canvas as well as drawings with mixed media charcoal and pastel, on cotton rag paper.

“My art is personal, my inspiration coming from life experience, memories, and dreams. Sometimes I respond to other women in my life and their experience. When I identify a theme for a piece, say a memory, then I ponder ways that I can visually communicate this issue, that will inspire the viewer to ask questions, to think about the piece and to reconsider accepted norms.”

Once Serena has an image in mind, she searches the internet to look for similar themes and how the images were used in that particular story. When she finds the image she likes she decides whether that image is over used and if there is some way to make that image original. “After I have done my research I start sketching thumbnails, small drawings that really just map out composition.”

The next step is a photo shoot. It might take weeks to put together, but in the end, with the help of her husband or daughter as models, that phase is completed. “It is a long process, of getting the lighting just right, often doing a preliminary shoot, uploading images, then doing it again the next day, making adjustments. I sort through the images, finding the few that give me what I need. I often go into Photoshop to adjust saturation, contrast, crop etc. Then I arrange the images, close ups of heads, hands and feet, enlargements of important parts. The next part is Serena’s favorite. The canvas is ordered to t the proportions of the composition. Now she gets to paint. She uses a grid to hand draw the composition onto the canvas.

“I usually use a grid to hand draw the composition onto the canvas. A five foot by four foot painting might take two to three months to complete. While painting I am making decisions about color, leading the eye with saturation, with value, with clarity and detail and contrast.”

Serena’s painting “Inside Out” is a retelling of a childhood memory where her brother was cleaning his gold sh bowl and put the gold sh in a glass and put that glass on the front porch. He warned her not to spill the water or the sh would die. She spilled the water. She does not remember anything else except the shame and knowledge of how disappointed her brother was. This painting is about those feelings. She sees her future work continuing to explore this idea of early experience and its manifestation on our adult selves.

Potter received her BFA from the University of Utah and her MFA in painting from Laguna College of Art and Design, where she is currently mentoring in their MFA program. She teaches at National University, Mt. San Antonio Community College, Fullerton College and Saddleback Community College. Serena has exhibited in numerous exhibitions in galleries and museums throughout the US and UK. Serena Potter’s work is now a part of the Hilbert Museum of California Art collection.

Earlier Event: February 22
The Bourgeois Gentleman by Moliere
Later Event: February 23
Stan Edmonson - Alchemy for Idiots