South Street Art Gallery in Easton is hosting an exhibition of over 30 works by local artist Jill Basham entitled “Jill Basham: The Landscapes of Emotion.” The exhibit opens April 6 and will feature an artist’s reception from 5 to 8 p.m. at the gallery, located at 5 South Street. The exhibition will run through April 29.
Alan Brock, the owner of South Street Art Gallery, says, “The gallery is fortunate to feature several top artists with national reputations, and Jill Basham is one of them. She is very popular with our collectors and visitors from all over. While her smaller en plein air paintings are beautiful little jewels, it is her large paintings that take one’s breath away. I can study her large paintings for hours: the intricate brushstrokes, the glazes, the subtleties of color, and of course the emotion she conveys. She is truly a remarkable painter!”
Jill’s recent work has been a concentrated effort to express an emotional quality that overwhelmingly resonates within each painting. Generally keeping the design and colors simple, mood takes center stage. The exhibition will be primarily studio works painted from memory or from studies, with some plein air pieces as well. The landscapes can vary from an expansive Texas ranch land, a Pennsylvania canal, or a stormy Chesapeake Bay scene. Over 30 paintings will be exhibited, all produced within the last few years. Jill is an enthusiastic plein air painter, participating in multiple national competitions each year.
She is finding her work veering further away from what might be considered traditional mainstream plein air work. Rather than trying to replicate a scene in the literal sense, Jill paints how she feels about the landscape in front of her in what may be considered an impressionistic style. She will eliminate or move details in order for the design of the painting to achieve maximum impact. This impact is often felt from a distance, as Jill strives to create work that comes together visually at about 10 feet away. To do this, Jill will continually walk back from her work both in the studio and when on location. “I want the viewer to get that emotional response as soon as they see my work from a distance.”
By spending the last couple of years in the studio painting a series of larger works from memory, Jill has opened the door to utilizing varied approaches to achieve work that she hopes will resonate with the viewer. “By eliminating the use of photos as reference, I pushed myself to explore design principles and abstract qualities within the landscape. For me, working purely from memory has been an exercise in finding my deepest emotions for the landscapes I have seen, then putting them down on canvas. I am overwhelmed by the beauty and mood of our natural environment, and I am particularly fond of expansive skies, and vistas with a great deal of atmosphere and distance.”
Jill uses a variety of tools and will use unusual approaches to get a desired effect. These effects have been derived from constant experimentation. She finds her most moving pieces to be the ones she pushed a bit, taking risks that could possibly end in failure, but when successful, can be rewarding.
“The more I paint, the more I understand how difficult painting is. In order to not remain static in my progress as an artist, I do not want to get too comfortable with one approach, method or subject matter. My hope is that my work will resonate on a deep emotional level for the viewer, perhaps leading to a feeling or memory that they have for a particular landscape.”
Jill enjoys participating in national plein air events where she has been awarded top prizes. She is a member of two historic art clubs, The Salmagundi Club in New York City where she has won awards, and The Washington Society of Landscape Painters. Her work is in the permanent collection of the accredited San Angelo Museum of Fine Art, as well as corporate collections and has hung in the U.S. Embassy in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Additionally, she is a member of The American Impressionist Society and Oil Painters of America. This year she has been juried to participate in Plein Air Easton as well as invited to take part in Olmsted Plein Air in Atlanta and Door County Plein Air in Wisconsin.
Landscapes of Emotion will include work ranging in size from 5×7 up to 48×60. The gallery is open Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., or by appointment. For more information, visit www.jillbasham.com or www.southstreetartgallery.com.