October/November at the Bandon Library Art Gallery, “In Solitude”
The Bandon Library Art Gallery is pleased to welcome back Portland artist Allison McClay.
Allison McClay is a true painter of the unconscious; her subjects are always experiencing more than what is obvious at first glance. She illuminates the psychological realities of those she paints, inviting you to relate to them intimately. Some of these paintings were made during lockdown, and evoke moods and situations that will be familiar to all of us: the half-finished projects started halfheartedly and then abandoned, the ennui as days at home stretched on and on, the claustrophobia of the early days. But this is not the only territory she explores in this show.
This time she brings us stories of early lighthouse residents: Mabel Bretherton who, with her two children, served as keeper of the North Head Lighthouse at Cape Disappointment from 1905 to 1907, and Cora, whose husband was keeper 20 or so years later. Cora came to a sad end (“Cora Jumps”), but the painting is a beautiful seascape that makes her decision a private one, made in solitude. Solitude is the overarching theme of this show, where the people she paints enjoy, seek, grab a fleeting moment of, or suffer solitude. And what makes these scenes so rich is Allison’s exquisite attention to detail, to each strand of curling hair on head or cat, or the intricacies of pattern in a dress or bedclothes. Her paintings keep us grounded in their reality through this sort of care, without sacrificing the surreal elements in such paintings as “Sunday in August.” In fact, that care enhances the effect of these subtle details that you have to look long to see. There’s always more going on in Allison’s paintings than meets the immediate eye. Take the time to look and find the deeper story in each of them; you will be well rewarded.
“In Solitude” runs through November 30th 2022 during regular Bandon library hours, Tuesdays through Saturdays.
The gallery is open during regular library hours, 1204 11th St. SW, in Bandon City Park. For more information about the gallery, visit the Bandon Library Friends and Foundation website, bandonlff.org.
Article courtesy of Tracy Hodson. Art images by Allison McClay: “Mabel’s Storm,” “Glora,” “Cora Dreams of Flight”