Contemporary Fauvists: a Four-Person Art Show 3

Passionate Artists Share Their Unique Vision

Four Fauve artists are sharing their unique vision at a color-drenched and expressive art show that runs through Sept. 5 at the PACE Center.

Peggi Kroll-Roberts of California, Scott Switzer of the Nez Perce Reservation in Idaho, and Madeleine O’Connell and Jeannie Paty of Colorado all specialize in Fauvism, a style of painting with vivid expressionistic and non-naturalistic use of color that flourished in Paris from 1905 and influenced subsequent artists, especially the German expressionists.

Kroll-Roberts is a nationally-known and admired artist and teacher. She worked as a fashion and advertising illustrator before making the transition into fine art.

She moved into fine art with a bold palette, a love for small paintings and a very loose style that achieves a lot with a few very energetic brush strokes. Her subject matter of choice is the human figure posed outdoors.

“The figure creates more curiosity for me than any other subject,” Kroll-Roberts says. “And I need sunlight. I like clear days and a lot of sun. When I was younger, I lived in Wisconsin for four years and then I told my parents, ‘I’m out of here.’ It affects my mood. California has had a big impact on my work.”

Switzer’s expressionist approach conveys a passionate involvement with the deeper implications of his subjects. He paints with a gestural energy, fragmenting abstracted forms, mixing colors freely on the canvas, and employing both impasto and sgraffito.

The artist creates images coming into being and dissolving into space, layered with multiple figures and symbols. This feeling of simultaneity, of a kind of dreamtime of memory, allusion and emotion, allows Switzer’s scenes to have dimensions beyond the literal.

“I attempt in this work to be true to myself; some pieces are about my daily musings, some about ancient stories with a little personal symbolism thrown in.”

O’Connell is known for her richly patterned and colorful oil paintings. She is interested in creating a space that is completely unique and exciting, rather than representing the world precisely as it appears. To her, this type of imagery provokes a deeper emotional response.

Much of her inspiration comes from textiles, and she is currently working on a line of fabrics based on her paintings, taking her passion for pattern full circle.

“Textile, pattern and play are all things I respond to.  The focus of my work, whether figurative or still life, is on the joy, color and pattern … the process of discovering as I work and exploring new things.”

Paty is a colorist at heart. The common thread that weaves through her oil paintings is a fresh, colorful palette. She finds inspiration from scenes in her everyday life, like friends enjoying coffee at a local cafe, a vintage VW bug found in the neighborhood, the gestures of young women and their colorful clothing, or watermelons and a pitcher of lemonade.

She is especially interested in the nuances of color layering. As a professional artist, Jeannie can remember sketching and drawing from a young age.

“I have always been a visual person,” she recalls. “Even as a child, I was attracted to things visually – like the way light moves and creates long shadows at sunset or the way a person may shift their weight to create a particular gesture with their body. I find the most ordinary, everyday experiences and the people around us to be incredibly beautiful.”