Arizona summers can be intense, but you can beat the heat at the Marshall Gallery in historic Old Town Scottsdale. The two-story contemporary art gallery, located at 7106 E Main Street in the heart of the downtown arts district, is showcasing artists from around the world, who now proudly call the Southwest home. Frank Balaam, Elena Golberg, Neil Myers, and Jon Wassom currently have wonderful works displayed at the gallery, and each offers a diverse style and perspective on the Grand Canyon State.
Frank Balaam is native to Lancashire, England. He now happily makes historic Globe, Arizona his mining townhome. Frank Balaam attended Blackpool and Edinburgh Colleges of Fine Art in the UK. In 50 years (his looks belie his age) of extensive, bizarre adventure travels Frank has painted in Europe, the Cook Islands, and Africa. His newest creative forests series radiates with passionate energy and life.
“My paintings immerse the viewer in an impenetrable tangle of trees: no earth, no distance, no forest creatures, and no visible path in or out. The lone viewer is rooted in the inexorably growing, timeless forest. The light in my forests is imbued with substance and not merely a backdrop. I paint the immediate foreground first, progress to the mid-ground and finally to the distant light bursting through leaves and branches. My last touches are thick dabs of colour that distort the edges of the foliage as if the light physically muscles its way to the foreground, scuffing off colour as it passes through the dense forest.”
Red October 36 x 36, Oil, Frank Balaam
Elena Golberg was born and raised in Barnaul, Russia, in the lush Siberian mountainous Altai Krai region near to Lake Baikal, the world’s deepest lake. She honed her painting skills at a rigorous art school and focused mainly on portraits. As a single mother in a post-USSR world, she jokes that her “inspiration was to survive.” After graduating she taught art history, painting, sculpture, and composition for over a decade before she swapped her Siberian homeland for sunny Chandler, Arizona in 2004. In the Southwest she found true inspiration in the beauty of Native American culture and their connection to nature.
“They’re not religious at all. It’s not religion, it’s not about a god or gods. Nature is the god, and you are part of it. You belong, you exist, and you can change the shape, but it’s still here. It’s peaceful.”
Her paintings are colorful and lively. In 2019, Golberg shifted from Native American children dancing at pow-wows in traditional garb to capturing the immense stature of the protected and valued Saguaro. Using a variety of Earth tones – blue, green, brown, and yellow are prominently featured – Golberg shares with the viewer the oft unappreciated beauty and spirituality of the Arizona landscape. The colorful blooms that make their long-awaited appearances in spring are put on full display and make no mistakes about her love for the state she happily has called home for many years.
Nocturne 48 x 30, Oil, Elena Golburg
Neil Myers has been surrounded by art his entire life. His mother, an accomplished painter, inspired his creativity from a young age. Born and raised in Elkin, North Carolina, Myers pursued a degree in French at Lenoir-Rhyne University in his home state, where he had the opportunity to spend a semester abroad in France.
“Knowledge of the French language was very helpful in order to study the Impressionists, which, as a movement, were always my favorite,” Myers explains. “They unleashed color, painted joyfully and weren’t bound by the painful rigors of the Salon System or old academic painting. They went outdoors and painted light and color.”
While in France, his love and admiration for the paintings of Van Gogh, Cezanne, and Gaugin set him on an artistic journey that saw his authentic expressions come to life. Myers currently resides in Tucson, where he stays active by hiking in the vast Arizona desert and capturing sun-drenched images on his camera to interpret later in the studio. His neo-Fauvist impressions of “wild land” and architecture give him “a feeling of peace” and are sans human subjects. They are an interpretive glimpse into nature and man-made structures that reflect Myers’ detailed powers of observation.
Mr. Monets Garden
36 x 48, oil, Neil Myers
Jon Wassom’s colorful style perfectly reflects his vibrant personality. Whether depicting Arizona’s wondrous desert landscapes or breathing new life into mysterious subjects, the Utah native’s impressive use of color, texture and perspective gives every inch of his paintings a multi-dimensional feel. He seeks to “represent the human psyche in a kaleidoscope of color.” In celebration of Pride Month, Jon focused intently on the male form, with unfiltered physical yet vulnerable beauty and emotion.
“I find it interesting that the female form is more represented,” says Wassom. “It really hits close to home. I want to represent sexuality in a tasteful way.”
Wassom is passionate about his work and not shy to explore new avenues. He follows his intuition, “cycling through [his] subject matter.” He is less focused on who his subjects are, and more focused on who they have the potential to become.
“Whenever I just take a random photo of someone that I find online and start abstracting and shattering it, it’s like a deconstruction representing that beautiful brokenness that people have, and this idea of a constant work in progress. We almost have to deconstruct to be put back together again.”
Find more on Jon Wassom and his art here: https://themarshallgallery.com/jon-wassom-creating/
24 x 24, oMixed Media, Jon Wassom