KRIS EKSTRAND | PEREGRINE O'GORMLEY
Meet & Greet:
Saturday October 1st, 2022
To view the Virtual Tour, CLICK HERE
This group of new paintings represents an important shift in my studio practice as well as my personal life. Having spent most of my adult life living and working the Skagit Valley – my studio was situated along the Edison Slough – my husband, Carl, and I decided to take on a new adventure and relocate to Northern California this past spring. The weather, light and topography of Sonoma County were all new to me and it has been exciting to “feel” my way around it, visually, by drawing and painting. However, many elements of this new place feel quite familiar to me and I am drawn to some of the same aspects that you may see in my work: the intersection of damp marshes and fertile farmland, the effect of rising tidelines on aging dikes and the magical effect of shifting weather and skies on the landscape.
Coincidentally, my new studio is, again, situated next to a tidal slough – the Petaluma River. It flows through a busy town center then reaches across a vast estuary in a network of diked loops, marshes and oxbows until it reaches San Pablo Bay. Like the Skagit and Samish delta, it provides rich habitat for a diverse biosystem as well as evidence of the effect of rising sea levels on adjacent farmland and an aging system of dikes.
As I did in Edison, I take my coffee out every day to observe the tide level, the weather and any visiting wildlife along the river. I am reminded of how much I learned about the Skagit/Samish landscape by painting it: it took so long to appreciate how complex it was. Will I ever learn to see the nuances, the tensions and the story behind the beauty of this new place? All I know is that, as always, painting will be my greatest and most generous teacher.
About the artist
Kris Ekstrand is a west coast painter and printmaker who addresses the estuarine landscapes of the Skagit Valley in northwest Washington in her work as well as those near her home in Petaluma, California. She lives with her writer husband, Carl Molesworth and two Norwich terriers.
What are appropriate reactions to intense stress…the tried and true methods of persistence, to ball up, hold out, and wait for the storm to pass? Is tried and true the appropriate response in times of unprecedented change? Is it enough? When does urgency pipe-up in concert with the swaying-choir’s-notion of, “We shall overcome”? What is required to fling oneself into the unknown once it is clear that the known can no longer be relied upon? These pieces refer to a moment of pause when it becomes clear that an entirely new and likely unimagined approach is required immediately.
– Andrew Vallee | Camille Ireland