Natural Wonder

Montecito artist Carin Gerard is embracing an awakening with her monumental new show at SCAPE gallery




As we collectively continue to emerge from the pandemic, the poignancy of real life experiences have a renewed power. Such is the case with seeing the work of Montecito-based painter Carin Gerard, whose newest exhibition, Awakening, is on view at SCAPE (Southern California Art Projects + Exhibitions) gallery in Corona del Mar from October 15 through November 19.

Almost two years in the making, this collection of 10 large paintings reflects a “reawakening and resilience,” the artist explains. Gerard is known for her interpretations of organic forms and objects, most notably butterflies and specific flower varieties. Her exacting technique, meticulously documented processes and subject matter are firmly grounded in the material world. And yet in her hands, whatever she sees becomes utterly transcendent on the canvas. The macro-timelines of nature collapse into a moment that commands the viewer’s full attention and presence.



“I paint from life,” Gerard says. “Everything comes from a photograph.” Creative liberties mostly enter into the imagery through size and her masterful use of color. “I work from the values that I see, and light and shadows, but then I can paint whatever colors I want,” she adds. The final result isn’t so much photorealism as it is the merging of accurate visual documentation with wild imagination. Gerard’s painterly rigor, which involves a meticulously composed grisaille, or underpainting, provides a certain freedom.

For this exhibition, Gerard uncovered a “purpose in doing these monumental florals, majestic butterflies and skies to represent my sense of awakening,” she reflects. SCAPE gallery founder and art advisor Jeannie Denholm was also instrumental in pushing Gerard to take the leap to painting larger sized canvases and making bold changes in scale. “I’m learning to get looser with my work, too,” Gerard says. “I’m trying to be even more ethereal and more hazy” with less defined edges on a peony flower, for example.





Gerard is attuned to her own creative evolution in the wake of this completed body of work. “This is a new time in terms of exploration, and transition into new kinds of space,” she notes. It’s meant both literally and virtually, since her plans include a collection of NFTs. She will also soon begin researching and capturing the planet’s fragile, fleeting resources. “I’m going to explore different things that we’re losing due to climate change,” she says. “I’m going to focus on that beauty.” Despite such existentially challenging themes, Gerard’s output speaks to transcendence and wonderment. “This awakening was good for me,” she says. “It was hopeful.” SCAPE, 2859 E. Coast Hwy., Corona Del Mar, 949-723-3406.


October 13, 2022

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