June: Figures of Imagination & Ethereal

Stop by MAC’s Gallery @ Room 1927 to shop in our gallery gift shop and to see our newest exhibitions, Figures of Imagination by Eric Achenbach & Ethereal by Lucy Gafford, Benjamin Kaiser, and Vanessa Quintana.

Figures of Imagination deals with the naked identity of humanity through the expression of surrealism and imaginative rendering of the figures. As most of us try to conceal and cover our true selves to conform to societal norms, it is important to express, through art, the vulnerability of our inner nature. We are all humans, regardless of what we believe, and there is a connection that we all share. Eric Achenbach is a self-taught pencil artist. Throughout the years he has never taken his drawings or art seriously. Drawing was simply something he liked to do, starting and stopping as inspiration would ebb and flow. It wasn’t until the pandemic of 2020 that Achenbach seriously put effort into drawing, becoming inspired by South African artist Jono Dry and the surrealist painter René Magritte. Through the support of his wife and family, he has yet to put the pencil back down.

“I hope that my work provokes thought and a sense of consciousness of oneself. I want people to feel, not just view, and be inspired to express themselves through creativity.”

For Ethereal, three artists were prompted to execute what “ethereal” meant to them. This resulted in a body of work expressing a contemporary view on what the concept of ethereal art can be. Artists: Ben Kaiser, Lucy Gafford, and Vanessa Quintana drew inspirations from researching world religions, pantheons, creatures of myths, folklore, and exploring different concepts on how ethereal could be viewed.

“To me, for something to reach the status of ethereal, it has gone beyond this world’s standards. It has become a heavenly or spiritual wonder, and with this show, I hope we have created just that. I wanted my work to not only depict figures of a certain renown, but I wanted to capture a sense of delicate beauty. My goal was to show a unique refinement blending flat two-dimensional design and three-dimensional rendering. I also took inspiration from art nouveau styling and stained-glass artistry to give some pieces a more religious art feel. Oil painting is my primary focus and I paint by slowly glazing multiple layers of colors, one by one until the piece not only expresses the emotion I want to convey, but the saturation begins to illuminate drawing the viewer in.” – Ben Kaiser

“My focus for ‘Ethereal’ is on the spiritual and unworldly. My works feature familiar patterns and imagery with a personal twist – embodying my own dreams, interests, and experiences. I believe the closest thing on earth comparable to the heavens is being surrounded by nature’s splendor, and that is a constant throughout each piece.” – Lucy Gafford

 “I would describe ethereal as being spiritual or heavenly, intangible, and otherworldly, while having a connection to tangible, natural forms or concepts. It could be celestial, mythical, or debatably real while possessing mystical qualities. My pieces for this show were influenced by religion, folklore, philosophy, and science and how they all tap into the realm of the ethereal, posing the questions: what is fact, what is unknown, and how is it perceived based on each individual’s perspective? My work also presents the pantheistic view that all things are divinely and infinitely connected. The lines blending differing forms are blurred and transformative, representing the link between all things natural in seemingly unnatural ways.” – Vanessa Quintana

These exhibitions will be featured in the MAC Gallery through June 29th, 2024. Please contact Sydney Cramer at scramer@mobilearts.org for information.

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