Monday, April 13, 2009

Art truly changes lives

You can’t miss the smile and bright eyes when you meet this individual. When you talk about art, you can’t miss the excitement in her voice as she talks about what the gallery she runs, offers. Marla Wood is someone you will remember for many reasons, conversation, interest in so many topics and genuine interest in what you have to say.

Caught in the act organizing her entry book, Marla, the director of The Blue Pig Gallery in Palisade, had time for an interview.

A seasoned traveler for the reason of continuing her study of art history, Marla has visited seven countries, but her favorite place seems to be Italy, because her focus of study at the University of Oregon was early Italian Renaissance. What better place to study this period in history than Italy?

“Actually, studying art history gives you a true picture of humanity,” she said. “It really is more truthful than regular history. There are great stories and such drama in art history, which is so much more affirmative than one war after the other, as you find in secondary and college texts.”

She went on to describe Florence in Italy as “the home of my soul.”

Marla tributes her interest in art history to a high school art assignment her teacher gave her when she was a freshman at Palisade High School. She graduated from PHS in 1990.

“She gave me a different assignment than the class was doing,” she said. “She assigned me ten one-page art history reports on artists and or movements in art. I was so interested after reading the material for those pages. I learned about Bottecilli and was hooked on his art.”

Marls took art classes all four years. She remembered that Joe Rammuno, her tech ed teacher also allowed her independent study time, which she did in Mulder’s art class so, she took two art classes that semester.

“I did lots of different things in high school art,” she said. I loved the Friday sketches using pastels. I won ribbons on my pencil work.”

Her family, uncles, aunts, cousins parents unknowingly had contributed to that interest by enabling her to visit many art shows, museums of art and art venues from the time she started school. Many of these were in California, but others were located all over the country.

Majoring in art history at the University of Oregon, Marla worked in museums and ended up traveling to Italy.

“Working in museums and galleries I was seeing academic and or research positions. Because I usually was pushed into public positions likes sales, I often departed to fins more solitude with art.”

She broke into twentieth century art on that trip. She wrote about the Blumsburg Group while at Cambridge. She has been a regular traveler to Italy since 1990.

She talked about her favorite pieces, one of which is Venus and Mars, Goddess of Love.

“Venus transformed Mars to a peaceful god in this painting located at the National Gallery of Art in London,” Marla said. “One of the first paintings I remember as a child was that of a big art piece showing a bearded man. It was of the Manet era. It solidified art as bigger than life in my mind at that time. And now art is my life.”

Marla loves the works of Mark Rothko and Edward Hopper.

“Rothko’s use of layers of paint is incredible,” she said. “His layers of paint prove how powerful non figurative art can be. While I was visiting the Tate Modern Gallery, I was in a room with six of his works. The door closed on me. Viewing those works was like being in a cathedral.

“Hopper’s work is honest about a world we don’t see because we do not stop and really look around. I love the quiet of these artists’ works.

As for her own work, Marla saw so many incredible works, while she focused on art history, she felt that she was not able to do the same kind of work. She is creating art again, sculpture and painting, and now concentrating on photography.

Marla is working to complete the final chapters of a novel she started to write a year and a half ago at the Canyon Vinery Winery.

As for a color, Marla would describe herself in purple.

“In a way, I an introverted,” she said. “Purple is a transition on the spectrum. It still has so much depth.”

If you haven’t met Marla, pay the gallery a visit and surround yourself in art and her smile.