Dawning Splendor is an exhibition pairing the works of Kamala Dolphin-Kingsley and Mary Alayne Thomas, opening as part of the new program at our new gallery in Astoria. The new gallery will be called Brumfield Gallery, opening in August. Dawning Splendor is scheduled to open September 12, running through October 4. Unsold work will then transfer to Imprint Gallery in Cannon Beach.
Kamala Dolphin-Kingsley and Mary Alayne Thomas are each creating a new body of work for the exhibition, sharing a fascination for wildlife, a similar sense of design within their composition, and spark of magic in their representation of the world. Both paint animals and botanicals to create a sense of myth and fairytale with an Art Nouveau flourish.
Kamala Dolphin-Kingsley’s paintings are rooted in marine biology, ecology and the natural environment, but her approach is influenced by a myriad of diverse aesthetic concerns and storytelling formats. Art Nouveau, kitsch, Asian art, and psychadelia provide visual cues, while childhood nostalgia, fairy tales, histories and an “Alice in Wonderland” sensibility drive the content.
Through experimentation with combining watercolor, inks, acrylics, glitter, sequins and gold leaf, and with this plethora of stimuli, she has developed her own style to depict animals, plants, landscapes, water and a general feeling of lushness. She paints temperate rainforests and tropical plants with psychedelic properties. She explains that, “I’m often trying to create a primordial sense of magic, to regain the feeling of wonder I had as a child adventuring in the mossy Redwoods alone or with animals.”
Where Mary Alayne Thomas’s work differs from Kamala’s is the introduction of the human protagonist. She paints women adorned with flowers and birds, surrounded by animals. These are fairytale women that may well have step from the magical temperate forests painted by her colleague. They are caught in a moment of contemplation and often are pensive. She is rendered as a part of the overall composition, no more important that the flowers and birds in her hair, the mink in her embrace, or bear at her side.
In common with Kamala, Mary Alayne is concerned with relaying a pure an innocent response to nature, drawing on childhood experiences. She explains she is, “constantly inspired by the wildlife, forests and dark beauty of my home in Portland Oregon, and childhood memories of wandering the mesas in Santa Fe continue to compel my work. I strive to capture those magical ephemeral moments we all experience, real or imagined.”
Raised by two full time artists, Mary Alayne began her career early, illustrating children's magazines at the age of eleven. After much experimentation with many mediums, she discovered the harmonious combination of encaustic with watercolor, refining the process to her current technique - a complex layering of encaustic and silkscreen over a watercolor painting. She says, “There is a sense of mystery, a softness that emanates from the floating art forms within the transparent, waxy surface. It creates an atmospheric work, a dreamy ethereal expression.”
Dawning Splendor will run September 12 – October 4, open daily 10:00am-5:00pm, (Closed Tuesdays), at Brumfield Gallery, 1033 Marine Drive, Astoria, OR,