By Henry K. Long
Santa Monica,CA(Perfect Meal Today)3/5/14/–Santa Monica restaurant, Upper West welcomes artist Vicki McClay with an opening reception Sunday March 9th. An advocate of art, at any day of the week, you can walk into Upper West to find the walls filled with art. On March 9th, Vicki McClay takes her turn.
The artist was first introduced to the restaurant when she attended an opening reception at the restaurant for her friend. She explains, “I met the owners through an artist friend, Imelda Healy, when she showed her work at Upper West last year.” She admitted she enjoyed the opening. “I think the dining area is a beautiful and unique space. It lends itself to showing work so well, very open and expansive walls. I find it so encouraging that Upper West has created a venue to showcase art within the community. The shows I’ve seen at Upper West are always curated well and there is so much care and thought put into the display of the work.”
Gino Paino curates many of the shows at Upper West. He runs a small viewing Gallery at the Shore Hotel. “Vicki’s Art strongly resembles the gliding and fluid brushes of Asian calligraphy,” says Paino. “She is an accomplished colorist capable of creating three-dimensional spaces with few strokes. She is capable to produce abstract paintings that evoke vast and glowing landscapes when in reality they are long intertwine layers of paint that create sub real horizons, where the observer can project its own dreams and fantasies.”
McClay currently lives in Santa Monica with her husband and child. Like most artists, her journey began as a child. “I was interested in art from an early age. I took my first art classes at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Walker Art Center while in I was still in high school.”
She was encouraged to paint by her mother who gave McClay her first set of oil paints. Throughout the years, she has continued to be inspired by teachers and other artists such as Lorna Ritz.
“Lorna Ritz was an Artist in Residence at the University of Minnesota when I attended school there and she helped me see color and spatial relationships in a new way,” recounts McClay. “My work was very dense, perhaps a bit chaotic, and she suggested that ‘less is more.’ That approach still works for me today. I started to open up my use of the space on a canvas and bring subtle changes to the color fields. That was when I began layering my application of color, which I feel produces the nuance, the depth and the luminosity that exist in the paintings.”
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