Gail Severn Gallery Offers Painting, Sculpture, African Art

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From soft tempera paintings to African ceramics and modern sculpture, visitors can see it all at Ketchum’s Gail Severn Gallery. And with the high desert heat of Boise starting to take a toll on everyone, a day or weekend trip to the mountains may just be what is needed to get through the final weeks of summer.

The gallery’s exhibition of well-known Pacific Northwest painter Morris Graves is the largest collection of Graves' work in a museum or gallery in the last 15 years, according to Gail Severn.

“He was the foremost painter to come out of the Pacific Northwest,” Severn said. “Along with Mark Tobey and Kenneth Callahan, they were the forefathers of the spiritual movement in art that focused on transcendentalism.”

The exhibit consists of 40 paintings and drawings from 1934-1995, which range from muted paintings of birds, done in 1930s, to brightly colored flower still lifes. Severn said the reaction to the exhibition has been great, and that they've "had museum people from all over the country flying out to see it."

Thirty-eight contemporary sculptures made by gallery-represented artists including Nicolas Africano, Bean Finneran, Gwynn Murrill, Jun Kaneko and Mark Stasz are also on display. Titled “Intimate to Monumental” because of the different scales of the pieces, the work varies greatly in size from almost 1-foot tall to more than 20 feet. Severn said the collection shows “the range of contemporary sculpture currently being produced.”

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Historic art specialist Douglas Dawson, curated a collection of more than 40 historical African ceramics made by women for the gallery, which include works spanning 10 centuries. African pots, vessels, bottles, jars and ritual figurines come from various parts of Africa including Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Severn, who met Dawson at a Chicago art fair, has been collecting African vessels for 27 years.

“I’ve always had a passion for ceramics,” Severn said. “And I love that they were all made by women. I thought this would be a really nice thing for our audience.”

Severn said the sales from all the recent exhibitions have been “rock solid,” despite the economic climate.

“When you have really rare, hard to find pieces, people will search them out,” Severn said.

All exhibits are currently on display until Wednesday, September 1. Gail Severn Gallery is located at 400 First Ave. N. in Ketchum. Call 208-726-5079 or email info@gailseverngallery.com for more information.

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