Navé; Ruth Ormerod

Cory’s is hosting two artists this month whose work is worth checking out. Both deal with still-life subjects for the most part, particularly plants and flowers. Of the two, Ruth Ormerod has the better technique and a greater understanding of her various media. Navé, on the other hand, possesses a keen eye for suggestion and shows promise for developing deeper themes within her work.

In both her color etchings and watercolors, Ormerod implies textures and depths with her shapes and unusual color choices. “Pokeweed in Autumn” is a good example. This watercolor practically radiates. Ormerod’s colors are brilliant—pinks seep into oranges, into violets, into purples and so on, without going muddy. Her Fauvist treatment in the limbs, branches and leaves—looking as if they are electrically charged neon—makes for a particularly fiery depiction of autumn.

On the other hand, “Flowers in a Glass Vase” is dim and dark, yet no less intriguing. One has to look for a minute or two before one makes out the lines of the vase, a glass jar, and the stalks of the flowers in both. The criss-crossing of the stems creates a kind of fractured set of angles within the picture plane, subtly repeated toward the left. I like this—it’s reminiscent of pre-dawn light, when shapes and particulars are largely indistinct.

Seattle relocated artist Navé has presented a series of floral oil portraiture based loosely on the writings of French poet Charles Baudelaire. But far from being "evil," these flowers are, for the most part, engaging. The pieces range in style and influence, from surrealist to impressionist, Van Gogh to Georgia O’Keefe. Most eye-catching is "Sunflower," (pictured above). A static silver background thrusts the deep, almost blackened purple in the stem and leaves to the fore. The petals surrounding the sunflower’s face seem almost tubular, resembling nothing so much as peppers, with their waxy reds, golds, oranges, yellows and so on. Navé demonstrates a good handling of her medium and a novice’s struggle toward symbolic depth, not just here but in all her pieces. They are each worth some contemplation.