Although the art currently on display at the Anna Bier Gallery transports the viewer to a lovely place, the work does not necessarily whisk you to a far away locale; instead, the paintings portray familiar settings, reminding one of fondly recalled sights.
Artist Jennifer Overholser says that her work captures memories and experiences, sparking interest and insight as well as evoking a sense of comfortable affinity to the scenes depicted.
Jennifer often sees something so inviting that she simply “needs to” capture the beauty and/or the feeling the scene inspires. In three of the pieces displayed, the Greenville resident re-creates the natural wonder of a nearby treasure, Greenville City Park, in all its splendor, each scene joyously radiating a sense of strolling through the park on a beautiful day. The artist did not travel to Venice to paint “Italian Waterway,” but was motivated by striking photos taken by a friend who visited the famous city; nevertheless,the scene emits the feeling that one is truly experiencing those charming canals.
The Ashtabula County native says that her journey from one side of the state to the other has inspired much of her work, including scenes documenting her childhood memories of growing up near Lake Erie. While most of these are pastoral and serene, “Fishing By the Creek” depicts a turbulent stream with a lone figure standing on the rocky bank tightly gripping a pole. “I saw a snake, many people were fishing and catching, but not me; the turbulence was my mood that day, not water and weather conditions,” the artist explained.
The vibrant colors of “Cozy Kitchen” capture attention, evoking the same effect that her mother’s newly painted table and chairs had on the artist as she returned home for a visit. Knowing that the kitchen could soon be repainted, as Jennifer’s mother likes to change colors frequently, the motivated artist preserved the charming and inviting room on canvas where it can be enjoyed for years yet to come. Likewise, Jennifer painted “Red Bench” when she found the scene across the street from her home so appealing that she felt the need to perpetuate its beauty for all time.
The paintings on display appear Impressionistic, but the Otterbein University graduate says her work does not always strictly adhere to that definition. “I like the way that the Impressionists use light and color to create an impression that the viewer can then fill in, completing the story,” Jennifer stated. She also draws inspiration from Mark Gingerich, a Columbus-area painter that she met and was mentored by while interning at a gallery during her college years. “He introduced me to the palette knife, which gives a loose, Impressionistic effect, yet can be manipulated to create a stunning sense of detail,” the artist said.
One example of that technique is “Jimmy V’s,” a whimsical portrait of a Westerville gathering spot Jennifer frequented in college, which exudes a feeling of fun; another piece “Flower Pots,” uses circular swirls of paint to form the lush blooms emerging from the titular containers, utilizing the same artistic approach to achieve a totally different aura.
Another floral piece, “Flower Vase,” uses a more subtle technique to create a simply beautiful and timeless picture, not appearing to adhere to a particular style or era. In the same vein, “Asterisk Supper Club” a loving portrait of a favorite gathering place featuring communal dining tables that bring disparate people together in a friendly social setting, generates a feeling of universal warmth and joy, the flower-filled vase in the foreground setting the tone for the piece.
Jennifer Overholser’s paintings calm souls and uplift spirits; you can experience their power by visiting the Anna Bier Gallery, located within Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall. In addition to being open during upcoming DCCA presentations, the Anna Bier Gallery is open every day by appointment; to arrange an appointment or a tour, contact Gallery Director Tamera McNulty at 937-564-5863. All exhibits at the Anna Bier Gallery are free and open to the public.
Marilyn Delk is a director of the Darke County Center for the Arts and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.