Student?s exhibit evokes deeper meaning

By By Steve Coons

By Steve Coons

When Annie Boyer doesn’t know how to start a painting, she tries to get a color she likes on the canvas so she can figure out the rest later. She credits this carefree approach with helping her quell a “fear of the blank canvas” and allowing her to break away from a tight and controlled style that she found restricting. Wet paint does the rest.

Boyer, who is getting her master’s in fine art, likes to paint with so much water that her paintings have to dry flat on the ground. Since she works on several paintings simultaneously, the floor of her studio is covered with drying canvases, as each canvas requires dozens of layers of paint, and she has to wait for each individual layer to dry before she can continue with a painting.

Complicating things further are the properties of acrylic paint. The colors look different wet than dry, so an element of unpredictability is introduced into the process.

Boyer, whose work is being displayed in the Art Building’s Alvin Gittins Gallery, said she feels like she can manipulate and predict how the paintings will dry to a certain degree, but she likes the freedom of wet paint and the idea of letting go of absolute control.
“Often, the end product turns out nothing like my initial plan,” Boyer said.

The title of her exhibition is “Being,” and the paintings, which represent about a year’s work, are abstract and for the most part depict spheres on backgrounds. The contrasts between the colors of the spheres and the colors of the backgrounds vary widely, with some appearing washed out and others vibrant. Boyer said she believes that she can use her most important tools8212;color, form, texture and layering8212;to convey meaning. She uses stripes, for instance, as a metaphor for bars in a jail cell.

“They reflect the figurative walls that we each build up around ourselves in an attempt to keep ourselves safe,” Boyer said. Although her concerns are primarily psychological and introspective, Boyer said she knows that abstract art is completely open to the viewer’s interpretation.

“If someone responds to one of my paintings, I want them to feel a sort of ownership in the experience,” she said. “I may have one sort of a meaning in mind, but someone else might experience something completely different. And that is just as legitimate as anything I might have to say about it.”

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