Expressions/Impressions

Works by three prolific painters were highlighted during the January 9 opening exhibition of 2015 at Arts Visalia. Titled Expressions/Impressions, the exhibition featuring paintings by Abby Rubinstein, Betty Berk and Mona Fox Selph will be on display through January 30.

“Ancient Souls,” by Betty Berk.
“Ancient Souls,” by Betty Berk.

Brilliant colors and expressive brushwork form the basis of the majority of the works of the three artists, each of whom uses the medium of painting not merely to describe the world around them. These are images imbued with a sense of inner emotion so that the viewer is invited to transcend mere spectatorship, and, as Rubinstein will often say, find themselves “invited into the painting.”  Each artist follows her own subject matter, and their styles vary from one another, but all of the works are marked by the use of brilliant, rich colors and active brushwork.

Betty Berk is one of the more active artists currently exhibiting in the Central Valley and serves as the director of exhibitions for the Fresno-based Alliance of California Artists. Berk credits many inspirations behind her work including, in fact, fellow exhibition partner, Rubinstein, under whom she studied painting for several years. Having recently taken up the study of music, Berk describes the influence of music upon her painting. “Each brush stroke is not only a mark of the movement of my brush, but also the thought process of how bright or dull, how long or wide, how light or dark, in the context of every other brushstroke to express the exact feeling I am painting. Look for melodies and arpeggios and accented staccato marks. In all of my art, I celebrate.”

“Castle Rocks with Morning Star,” by Mona Selph.
“Castle Rocks with Morning Star,” by Mona Selph.

Mona Selph’s paintings employ a softer palette and brushwork in her landscapes, pieces which she describes as being an “ongoing expression of the deep connection I feel between the majestic beauty of the Earth and the core of my soul as an artist.”  Also a writer, Selph’s works reflect the subject matter of her poems and writing, which is often rooted in the surroundings of her home foothills home. “Living in Three Rivers,” she states, “surrounded by beautiful foothills and mountains has been another special gift for me these many years. The seasons change, storms come and go, time shadows and cloud shadows move across the land. Night comes and the full moon rises to light the undulating forms of the hills. Landscapes become dreamscapes, and dreamscapes become landscapes.”

Abby Rubinstein has enjoyed a long and well-recognized career as a painter.  To this day, she remains one of the most prolific artists of our Central California region. Her works, very much rooted in the tradition of the Expressionist movement, reflect the people and the ideas of her times. About her work she writes, “I use this as my vehicle, bending it and developing it until it speaks for me and meets others with whom it can have a conversation. I am interested in using nature, not copying it.”

Arts Visalia is located at 214 E. Oak Ave., Visalia and open to the public Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 5:30pm. Admission is free.

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