As a plein-air artist and photographer whose subject matter focuses on intertidal subjects around the Pacific Rim, Brandy Gale feels at home on the Mendonoma coast. Although this is her initial two-person show at The Dolphin Gallery she is no stranger to the area; Gale’s body of work “Coastal Synaesthesia” was exhibited in a solo show in the Burnett Gallery at the Gualala Arts Center in January 2015.
Gale describes herself as a “color fanatic,” a natural extension of her full-spectrum synaesthesia, a crossed-senses experience where sunsets may smell like vanilla, colors have sounds or the letter “A” is always yellow. She expresses these personal synesthetic experiences through her paintings and will often carry a large number of paint tubes and handmade brushes so her palette and brushstrokes capture what she senses.
Because of her special neurological gift, Gale literally inhabits a world denied to many people. The intertidal zone she specializes in is an especially rich and stimulating environment. Whether photographing underwater or painting plein-air on a rugged coastal bluff she captures atmosphere and shape with dramatic results that make her work distinctive.
In addition, Gale has performed painting experiences live before an audience stimulated by musical accompaniment in venues in Monterey, Oakland, and New York City. Wikipedia calls her creations a vision from her five fully-crossed senses that transmits a polychromatic intensity.
Gale began her artistic training with Belgian artist Ovide Constant. Later, she studied with Canadian artists Paterson Ewen, Kim Moodie and Greg Ludlow. She received an honors degree in Art Theory and Criticism from The University of Western Ontario. Both her mother and her uncle are potters, and her father is a poet.
Her life changed when she freed herself from always working in the studio and embraced working outdoors. Gale explains, “As a person with raging synaesthesia, to capture the essence of a place is something I feel best done in person – from life – with the wind and sound and tastes and smells whirling around you.”
Born in Marville, France and raised in Europe, Canada, and the USA, Gale is currently based in Bonny Doon, California with her partner noted guitarist, filmmaker and scientific diver Henry Kaiser. More information about Gale and more examples of her work can be found at her website – www.brandygale.com.
Known as “The Abalone Queen” this month’s three-dimensional artist Deborah Threlkel actually works with a much wider variety of materials than just abalone to create her original pieces, all of which share one common trait — they are produced from materials she finds. An inveterate collector, Threlkel is constantly discovering materials on her hikes and explorations. Her conceptualization with these treasures is what distinguishes her from other artists.
Besides using pieces of abalone shell for her jewelry, Threlkel works with hand-drilled beach glass and more recently shells and beads she sources from all over the world. Inspired by the natural occurrence of color, shape, iridescence, and texture, she is careful not to alter or rework her material, but rather assembles each item — like a puzzle — into a wearable sculpture.
Threlkel incorporates shell, 14-carat gold, gold-fill, and sterling silver as well as gemstones, all sturdily bound in wire to create a durable, dazzling one-of-a-kind work of art that feels as if one is wearing the ocean.
Abalone Queen jewelry has displayed locally in Gualala at the Discovery and Dolphin galleries and in Point Arena at Blossom and The Lighthouse gift shop. Threlkel’s work is also available at The Gallery of Great Things in Waimea on the big island in Hawaii and on-line at Etsy. You can visit her website at www.abalonequeen.com.