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One time fashion designer & illustrator Gert, as she signs her paintings, was awarded the In Vivo Design Award for a collection of ethnic ski wear, the first fabricated in natural materials. Yearning for immersion in fine art, she returned to stone litho, studying under Lyle Matouche (master printer for Karl Tobey) and produced political and feminist works from 79 – 83. Even Valentino, Great American Playboy, Not So Mad Housewife, Ecalypso. Her professors at Southern Oregon University in Ashland liked her work well enough to purchase. Here she also began what has become a life long study of the figure, always working from live poses and using natural light.
1970's through 2011 when she had no access to the printing press, she traded in the demands of the litho lab to paint plein air in the Caribbean, Mexico and North America. Again working only from life, she complained “Many landscape artist paint pristine works where every blade of grass is accounted for and in its place. But the landscape is wild and full of movement. Dirt flies, birds disturb and everything is wild!” The demands of working on location include distractions and discomfort, but we are rewarded with paintings that are full of life and story.
1998-2002 at the urging of a friend, she explored abstract impressionism at Chez Moi Studio on Tybee Island. Long an admirer of jazz violinist Stephan Grappelli, she painted a tribute with a silk thread Grappelli I and II, in which she sought to build up an ephemeral form with a very fine line. These works, like her figures and landscapes are approached ala prima and without plan. I trust a natural order to present itself and allow an organic evolution in which I feel I am a participant. Essentially I make elegant forms of these fluid expressions. Produced during this time: Patination, Flamingo, Chakras.
Throughout her forty years of painting, she returns often to the figure, in intuitive watercolor gestures, (a large collection of nudes, which described by illustrator , as world class) and narrative fantasies like Boots and Naked in the Garden Of Eden.
Embracing such broad subject and style is not a digression, the artist explains. I guess I want the whole candy shop. But you see my love of contrast and articulation balanced by the spirit of the thing no matter the category. This imbues all of my work with powerful energy which allows an element of surprise and a manifestation of a spiritual presence. An artist only has a lifetime to tackle an enormous task. The challenge of ever changing perceptions is a consequence of intelligent pursuit. Learning is accelerated when fear of the unknown is overcome. I feel I have a lot to learn.
You can see how my work in abstract expression has effected my traditional watercolor landscapes. The Store, and Pritchard House. These paintings have neon line work that Gert feels are energy lines and animate an otherwise sedate low country scene. I may pick up a scrub brush or garden hose when painting an abstract. Anything is fair game. “My portraits still demand a good likeness. But a likeness alone is a score without the flute.”