by Cambria Pilger | Staff Writer
Splotches of turquoise, blue, green and yellow paint are swirled in controlled circles on large canvases. Thirteen of these paintings hang along the walls of the Brian Oliver Gallery. People gather and after an hour of looking at art, chatting and eating the buffet, crowd into the room. Olive Green Anna, or Anna Baer, artist and Whitworth class of ‘09 alumna, stands by her art, and the lecture begins.
Baer was invited to hold her artist’s reception during homecoming weekend, 10 years after she graduated. It was a fitting time to come back to her alma mater and reconnect with professors and classmates through her work, she said.
Baer’s art will be displayed in the gallery in Lied until Oct. 18. The exhibit is open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday and 10 a.m.-2 p.m, Saturday.
The show is called “Blithe with Me” and is an invitation for people to be indifferent to the current social and environmental climate of the world, Baer said.
“(The hope is that) people come away with a greater appreciation for art and hopefully more understanding of the artist,” said gallery director Lance Sinnema. He coordinates with visiting artists to organize their exhibits.
Baer wants people to get lost in the detail, texture of her work and be fully present. Through the layers of paint and organic but controlled shapes, hopefully viewers can see that “even some of the chaos can be beautiful,” she said.
“My work has to do with control and letting go,” said Baer. After she lost her first baby to miscarriage, she realized a lack of control in her life and turned to art to work through it. Abstract expressionism was a way for her to “accept the wild” and “be present,” according to her artist statement.
The colors were inspired by nature. Turquoise and blue came from Baer’s time in Spain; green and yellow complemented the other colors. White primer was used to brighten some of the paintings, and the others were left “natural,” she said.
“(It’s) like seeing a really sharp sword that’s just been given a really smooth polish,” Chris Caldwell, Whitworth Class of ‘09 alum, said. He knew Baer during college and said her work has gained flavor and richness over the past 10 years. Caldwell left the reception feeling impacted by the paintings with stream of consciousness writing, he said.
Baer is the first international artist to display her work at Whitworth. She grew up in Thailand, moved to Spokane for college, and now lives in Germany. “Blithe with Me” is Baer’s first solo show in the U.S.
Photo courtesy of Instagram @olivegreenanna