It's not surprising that Gail Vogels was inspired by the novel All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr when she set out to construct her new multi-media art works. She's been interested in literature most of her life, studying it in college and coming away with a bachelor's degree in the field. "That book was a launching point for me. I wanted to explore micro and macro themes happening simultaneously--those natural forces and choices that make us human beings. Using mixed media elements -instead of painting - I tried to figure out how to make various themes intersect on a picture plane. Plus, using scissors and glue is fun. The process is old school and the experience evokes your childhood."
Gail started these transformative works by eschewing her favorite paint, cutting up several figure drawings and collecting other papers and monotype prints. Keeping in mind the entire galaxy of our existence and the space between that largeness and tiny life forms, she began to arrange her elements on the surface of cradled clayboards. (Archival and acid-free, Claybord is created by applying an archival kaolin clay ground to a True Artist Hardbord substrate, then sanding it to a velvet-smooth, absorbent finish.) This rigid backing is ideal for accepting textures, hand altered papers, found objects and the permanent black ink she uses. The technical aspect of gluing required experimentation with many adhesives. Several coatings of matte medium cover the finished design and protect the layers underneath. These works are mostly black and white except for a bit of sienna and metallics.
Gail grew up in "Wyeth country", a rural area outside Philadelphia, PA. At an early age she developed the language of perception by watching her mother and a neighboring artist create oil paintings. Fearing she could not make a living as a painter, she pursued a graduate degree in counseling college-age students. Because of her husband's career, she moved to Atlanta, GA. The transition from this particular northern city to this particular southern one was a daunting undertaking. At the same time, it provided an opportunity. The opportunity was to realize a dream of hers--to study fine arts at the graduate level.
In this solo exhibition Oh Life! at Touchstone Gallery, Gail seems to reflect Wyeth's outlook. "I paint my life, " he has noted many times. Even though he's classified as a realist, his paintings have an abstractness about them. Upon examination, even the simplest painted object has a profound meaning. Gail likewise celebrates life, objects of nature and architecture, and the human figure. Her assembled stories of the beautiful and the temporary remind the viewer how the small intersects vitally and mysteriously with the large. Her abstract multi-media works are now on exhibit from January 2 – February 1, 2015. Opening Reception ▪ Friday, January 9, 2015, 6-8:30 pm. Visitors will be able to watch Gail's work process on Artists at Work ▪ Sunday, January 25, 2-4 pm. She will answer questions and discuss her work. 901 New York Ave NW, Washington DC. email@example.com