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Fields of Vision
Published: 12/20/2009
Lori Latham
Lori Latham's landscapes at Silver Heron Gallery in Depoe Bay capture minimalist landscapes with a dramatic color palette.
Painting by Lori Latham

The contemporary landscapes of Lori Latham, an artist recently added to the line-up at Silver Heron Gallery in Depoe Bay, present a colorful dream world where one can take a moment's respite from reality.

In a Lori Latham landscape, skies are not necessarily blue, hills are sometimes magenta with flashes of fuschia and you may wonder if that fiery red in the foreground is the ocean or a field of sunlit pastureland. Latham likes this uncertainty because it causes the viewer to look more closely into the painting. "By choosing to paint with unrealistic colors," she said, "and leaving the information about the landscape as minimal as possible, people see different types of landscapes." She is drawn to quiet restful places and she likes to offer a place of visual rest to the viewer. In her landscapes you will often find a spot that invites the viewer to walk in and rest.

It is Latham's way of drawing you into the subject matter and her work with color and textures that first impressed Silver Heron Gallery owner Talley Woodmark. "Her work has extraordinary depth," said Woodmark, "and her appreciation of natural beauty is very apparent."

Latham's background as a commercial faux finish painter lends itself well to her current works on canvas where she uses many of the same tools and techniques. "Hide your tool marks," she said, is a strict rule in faux finishing and she applies this same rule to her paintings. Her technique includes applying and removing acrylic paint from the surface with brushes and cloth, covering and exposing, creating layers and texture with the paint's varying transparencies, viscosities and values. This process is what she calls building "a history," something that can only be achieved by being patient and working with the transformations that take place on the road to completing a landscape.

"The history is difficult to create because we tend to want our paintings to take direction quickly and come to completion in a straight line." But, a straight path doesn't appeal to Lori Latham, who seems to enjoy taking the path less traveled. Instead, she chooses to wander for a bit through colorful landscapes, perhaps looking for that restful place to share with the rest of us. See Lori Latham's work at Silver Heron Gallery, 15 SE Bay Street, Depoe Bay (541) 765-2886. - By Veronica Russell

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