Power, 24 x 18, by Paul Murray. Courtesy/MRM
Rainy Drive Home, 12 x 12, by Lorraine W. Trenholm. Courtesy/MRM
The artworks in the 29th National Pastel Painting Exhibition at the Millicent Rogers Museum offer an immense amount of depth in their color palettes.
They often do this through underpainting, where artists cover a base pastel sketch with isopropyl alcohol that is followed by layers of sketching and blending with pastel sticks. The pastel medium offers a kind of immediacy where artists visualize their content and see it to fruition rapidly.
The excitement of this journey allows pastel artists to take chances with their content. Many times they focus on themes of the everyday.
In Power, Paul Murray, of New Mexico, turns our attention to a bright yellow power meter and box mounted to a house painted in deep purple. This combination infuses this device of mobility with another layer of potency derived from the pastel pigment. With a pickup truck adjacent to the house, a theme of movement emerges–the critical nature of these various power devices to the connectivity of our everyday lives.
A Colorado-based artist, Lorraine W. Trenholm’s Rainy Drive Home brings us to a moment of familiarity in the high desert. She puts us in the driver’s seat and sends us into our memories of navigating through a water-smeared windshield during a trip here or there in the rainy season. She calls our attention to the transformative qualities of water in every aspect of our lives, while depicting the intrinsic beauty of spattering light.
Murray’s painting is on view in gallery 9, and Trenholm’s can be seen in the MRM lobby. I invite you to take in the layered nuances of these paintings in our galleries and consider their intersections with the museum’s cross-cultural collections of art.