Gwen Avant: Either Way

James Watrous Gallery

May. 20, 2024 - Jul. 3, 2016

201 State Street
Madison, 53704
(608) 265-2500

Gwen Avant describes her approach to painting as spiritual alchemy. She begins with a gut feeling, transferring her emotions and visceral reactions into color and marks. “I start as if in a wrestling or a boxing match. I take jabs at the paper or at the canvas with the thoughts and feelings inside me: ‘I don’t know;’ ‘I’m afraid;’ ‘I don’t understand.’ Confusion, struggle, grief, difficulty begin the process.” Quieting herself, Avant responds to the results on the canvas, making visual choices that transmute raw expression into images that communicate acceptance, beauty, and peace. “I let the unconscious bring forth the image; I try to listen, I’m trying to learn. In the end, the painting itself still holds some charge of the difficulty, the emotion or struggle it began with. But the whole is acceptable, perhaps beautiful. My hope is that the viewer can, by looking at the work, get a sense of acceptance … of being ok with what is difficult or can’t be understood.

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