Donald Saaf - The Orchard - 2015 50 x 120 mixed media and textile on canvas
From September 2nd through October 3rd, the gallery will host con-current solo exhibitions of Elizabeth Harris’ encaustic and mixed media works along with Donald Saaf’s spirited paintings of whimsical figures and landscapes.
Elizabeth Harris works with molten beeswax mixed with resin, oil paint and pigments, along with graphite and marble dust. Harris fuses the acts of painting and drawing into beautifully layered surfaces suggesting a sense of deep illuminated space. With lyrical scrawls, scribbles, gouges, deep scratches and repetitive mark-making, Harris' work is rich with associations to language, spirituality and science. Entangled States references concepts in quantum physics wherein a pair of particles that appear to be separate exist in states that are linked together.
The landscapes and figures in Donald Saaf’s paintings are inspired, in many ways, by his own life and family. Working in oil, gouache and collage, Saaf’s work features vibrant colors and a web of compositionally inherent lines and forms, such as those found in a stained glass window or quilted textile. The curious, simple surroundings in which his painted figures play music, read books, or sail in boats transform these seemingly familiar practices and pastimes into compelling expressions surrounding themes of family, community, environment, and mortality. Saaf celebrates nature but explores the vulnerability of the viewer’s relationship to the land, expressing a poignancy that reaches beyond the whimsical patterns and tones of the compositions.
Raised in Arkansas and Massachusetts, Harris is largely self-taught in the arts and is the daughter of artist Lucette Darby White (1931-2014). A physician by training, Dr. Harris received her MD from the Boston University School of Medicine, with residencies at Boston City Hospital and Faulkner Hospital, preceded by her pre-med studies at Harvard University. Dr. Harris also holds a BBA from Southern Methodist University. Her work has been included in numerous exhibitions both regionally and nationally.
Donald Saaf is a graduate of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and has been showing nationally for two decades. In addition to being an important American painter, Saaf is the author of numerous award-winning children’s books, performs on a variety of instruments with the Little Hope String Band, and formed The Bluebird Theater, a marionette and puppet troupe, with his wife, painter Julia Zanes, and their children. Saaf lives and works in Vermont.