Before I attended the opening of Beyond Suface at the overture center last night I looked up some of the work of Julie Insun Youn and Bobbette Rose so that I had a basic idea of what to expect. What I did not anticipate was the way each artist’s work would enhance the other’s to result in a truly dynamic show. Both utilized innovative materials and elevated everyday objects or ideas to something almost reverent. Their focus on many translucent, delicate layers of medium evoked a sense of layered memories. Like a memory, each intricate coating has such complexity that the simple subjects they depict are imbued with meaning.
Bobbette was happy to explain her technique to me, and asked me questions about my own comparably limited artist experience so she could explain it in a way I would understand. She works with thin layers of beeswax and resin and captures organic objects such as bark and twigs between them. This distorts the objects and assimilates them into the dreamlike tone of her paintings. She also layers dustings of pure pigment in varying degrees of coarseness. The resulting radiant pastel colors have an enchanting fairy dust quality.
Julie’s work is similarly nostalgic, and bittersweet. Each thin coating of oil paint in the wooden panels is placed with painstaking care, encouraging viewers to consider the subjects with fondness and longing. I was thrilled to see more of her work this year, and am even more excited to work with her for her next show at the Union!