Three Figurative Exhibitions: Gage Opdenbrouw, James Bland and Sandy Ostrau

Gage Opdenbrouw, James Bland and Sandy Ostrau


The John Natsoulas Gallery is pleased to announce three figurative exhibitions; Gage Opdenbrouw, James Bland and Sandy Ostrau. The exhibition will run from September 27th-October 28th, 2017. There will be an opening reception on October 6th from 7-9pm.


John Natsoulas Gallery 521 First Street Davis, CA 95616


This exhibition covers three different perspectives on painting the figure with a huge emphasis on the interior. Gage Opdenbrouw’s paintings of landscapes and figures are quite intriguing as his imagery is paintings from old photographs, and they almost have a spooky feeling like an old haunted house when you look at them. He usually abstracts the heads to such a point you can’t make out who they are. His landscape abstraction is quite beautiful and his understanding of painting cityscapes in unparalleled. Gage Opdenbrouw was the artist in residence at the Vermont Studio Center in 2005 and won an award for Best Emerging Artist in Painting from Academy of Art College in San Francisco.

Whereas, Sandy Ostrau is completely abstracted her figures and landscapes. She uses paint to create her abstractions along the lines of many of the great loose abstract painters but, she makes her marks to create abstracted figures and landscapes. She would be considered a minimal figurative painter. Her work is made by pushing paint around and somehow she maintains the ability to keep the work to look like figures or landscape. Using only 6-7 brushstrokes she can communicate this. There is something beautiful about the minimal abstraction she does. Ostrau is the recipient of the 2012 Triton Museum, Statewide Painting Competition, Honorable Mention Award.

James Bland on the other hand is a traditional British painter who was trained academically, and was the 1st prize winner of the Winsor & Newton oil painters award in 2013. His work is all about the figure. He creates movement, ambience and yet, by the body language one can’t tell what is happening which is something most painters cannot communicate. James Bland is absolutely creating a whole different type of energy. His figures indicate mood, arguments, tensions and feelings in a room with usually one or more people. These figures are always about the human condition, they are eating, at a table or are involved with some sort of activity. Even his single figures have motion and have an amazing energy. All his work is done in the interior, in a contemporary setting. Bland is a master at interpreting human emotion and feeling. Much of his work is displayed with a sensibility of no understanding what the people are doing in the images and the viewer is left to try to figure out what is going on.

Visions of Space and Form, Al Pounders, and Loren Olson

Opening reception on September 8th from 7-9pm.


John Natsoulas Gallery, 521 First Street Davis, CA 95616

Visions of Space and Form: a group exhibition featuring artists, Ilaria Rosselli Del Turco Lais, Tessa Coleman, James Chaffee, Agnieszka Nienartowicz, Avery Palmer, Manuel Neri, Bruce McGaw, Frank Damiano, James Weeks, Paul Wonner, Theo Brown, and Kim Froshin. Also at the gallery will be featuring solo exhibitions from Al Pounders and Loren Olson. The exhibitions will run from Aug 30th – Sept 23rd, 2017 with the opening reception on September 8th, from 7-9pm.

The painters in this exhibition all paint figures, landscapes and still lives. In fact, they create their own environment. The puzzling thing with all the painters is there is an object lightly out of place or twisted and yet, there is a great balance that they share. There are surprises in most of the paintings that are hidden that one has to look for. There are in fact a myriad of conventional and unconventional imagery. With this international exhibition of the great polish artist Agnieszka Nienartowicz, to the more traditional paintings by Italian painter Ilaria Rosselli Del Turco Lais who gives us a look into the past and yet, brings us into the contemporary world. Whereas, Troy Dalton is much closer to the realist traditional painters such as Baltus. Dalton’s slightly surrealistic take on some of his paintings take us to both the surrealist and the post-modern painters Avery Palmer and Alex Reisfar. The younger Palmer and Reisfar seem to be pushing the boundaries with surrealism and creating their own beasts that do not exist in our world. Like Rosselli, the British painter Tessa Coleman, who is an expert in painting figures in the city, takes us back to a more academic way of painting and yet, is always involved in a different color scheme that doesn’t exist in nature.

Al Pounder’s is an American artist born in 1931. He exhibited pop and realistic paintings in the 50s and 60s at Allen Stone Gallery in New York. Pounders was integral in the pop realism movement in the 60s and 70s. Pounders is a master of the landscape, seamlessly moving us from one frame to the next. His ability to bring the viewer in to the painting, as if they were there with him when he painted it, is unparalleled. Pounders discusses his work saying, “I grew up in Buffalo, New York where there wasn’t a blade of grass near my home. Flowers reminded me of church or funerals. So, becoming a landscape painter for more than thirty years seems an odd choice. The great painters I studied and admired were usually landscape painters. In my art school learning in the 1950’s, painting was dominated by works that flattened space. So, it was difficult to embrace a method that treated such deep space you see here in much of my work. I had to shake loose of any current fashions of painting and just deal with what nature gave me to work with, on Monte Acuto, Montelovesco, Niccone Valley, and other favorite places.”

Loren Olson’s new work features use of NASA images in combination with her own. The work leaves the viewer with an ethereal feeling. In our contemporary society, one is always surrounded by technology and Olson is an artist that embraces that. Olson uses technology to showcase her work, by creating and displaying them on digital screens, relating back to how NASA obtained the images she works with. Olson’s work reminds the viewer that they are indeed a small piece of something larger. Loren Olson’s work is about energy as a neutral aspect of life. She has explored this concept through drawing, painting, installations, collaboration with a choreographer, using light in her images and using digital mediums. Olson speaks about her work, “I feel this energy physically and emotionally, a subtle ineffable force, sometimes reaching joy and wonder.”

Esther Shimazu “My Naked Life”

Esther Shimazu is the granddaughter of Japanese immigrant laborers and was born and raised in suburban Honolulu, Hawaii in a large, close-knit family. She attended public schools and the University of Hawaii/Manoa near her home before transferring to the University of Massachusetts/Amherst to obtain her Bachelor of Fine Art in 1980 and a Master of Fine Art in 1982.

Shimazu’s art is influenced by her interest in nature, history, and family. In creating her distinctively charming stoneware pieces, she draws heavily from her experience as an Asian-American living in Hawaii. She is best known for her stoneware sculptures of bald, nude, chunky Asian women constructed with hand-building techniques. Her figures are created without complex details in order to accentuate their ceramic origins.

Over the years, she has established herself as one of Hawaii’s best-known artists. She has received a Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation Purchase Award in 2001, and an Individual Artist Fellowship award from the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts. Her work has been in such museum exhibitions as the Fuller Art Museum, Brockton, MA – the Nude in Clay II, Perimeter Gallery, Chicago IL, the International Asia-Pacific Exhibition, the Taipei County Yingge Ceramics Museum in Taipei, Taiwan among numerous others.

Download her digital catalog (pdf)

Paintings of Sarah Lam

Join us at the John Natsoulas Gallery for New Paintings by Sarah Lam. The exhibition will run from July 6th – Aug 26th with an opening reception on July 22nd from 7-9pm.

California artist, Sarah Lam works both in plein air and in the studio to complete her colorful landscape and animal paintings.  Preferring the outdoors, Sarah is drawn to local landscapes and rural scenes. Recently, Sarah started competing successfully in national plein air competitions, where her paintings received awards. Sarah’s work has been displayed in galleries and appeared on the cover of several magazines.

Sarah Lam studied art at the University of California Davis, where she took classes from Wayne Thiebaud and David Hollowell. She is currently working on her masters of Fine Arts degree from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.

John Natsoulas Gallery

820 Pole Line Road

Davis, Ca 95618


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