(KELSO, Calif.) — NEWS: The Desert Light Gallery, located at the Mojave National Preserve’s Kelso Depot Visitors Center presents “On the Mojave Road,” a solo exhibit of paintings in watercolor on paper by nationally celebrated painter and National Park Service Artist in Residence, Emily Silver. The Visitors Center is at 90942 Kelso Cima Rd, Kelso, CA 92309 and open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday – Monday.
Inspiration for Emily’s Residency and her captivating exhibit of 22 paintings came from Emily’s long walks on portions of the Mojave Road, which has been described by Desert Journalist Len Wilcox as a place where the “uncommonly beautiful” meets a “peculiar form of hell.” Silver hiked 92 miles (out and back) of the Mojave Road’s rutted dirt tracks in 3 – 4 mile stretches.
“Walking,” she says, “provides an opportunity to slow down and experience first hand the qualities that imbue this route with its powerful presence.”
Raised in a family of geologists and artists whose ancestors took part in the settling and mapping of the American West, Emily developed a deep affinity for its geography, cultural history, and the history of migrations, which drives her walking and painting practices. “During my walk, I create plein-air sketches and makes notes, which I use when I return to the studio. I focus on creating paintings that investigate the role painting plays in our psychic understanding of specific places, as well as the inverse: the idea that our relationship with land influences the process of painting.”
She describes her work as abstract, with a deep topographical connection based upon maps, and her paintings express an emotional response that captures the mystical and spiritual values of Mojave National Preserve. Emily points out, “My visual vocabulary includes flows and aggregates of watercolor, pigment, salts, and sediments, geometric patterns suggesting temple floors and cracked mud, and relics of native textural materials. These are often superimposed over cartographic skeletons derived from satellite photos and digital maps. I’m interested in documenting abstract sensations such as light, ghosts, patterns and textures, silence, aridity, and gravity, as well as the emotions, associated with specific locales.”
“On the Mojave Road” is engaging and deeply revealing collection of paintings that examine the mystery and contradictions involved in making art about the Mojave Desert. Each work builds upon another, and as you tour the exhibit, you may find yourself with new ways of exploring Mojave National Preserve places.
Emily Silver resides in Ferndale, Calif. After acquiring a degree from Stanford in Visual Design, she began painting seriously in the 1980s, eventually earning an MFA in Painting from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2007. Her work has enjoyed wide critical acclaim with numerous solo and group exhibits. Individuals and institutions collect her work, and she has been featured in numerous art publications.
Emily recently retired from the faculty of College of the Redwoods, after a 40-year career teaching art to college students, Nevada schoolchildren, and inmates in prison art programs in Washington, Nevada, and California. You can see more of her work at: http://www.emilysilver.com/
Information on the Kelso Depot Visitors Center: https://www.nps.gov/moja/planyourvisit/kelso-art-exhibition.htm
Related link: https://www.mojaveair.org/
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