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A new take on the human form

Artists tackle classic subject matter in creative ways
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Micah Ofstedahl’s abstract charcoal rendering of women, called “Healing,” is a study in light and darkness.
 Posted: 2:00 AM January 30, 2013

Eight artists tasked with drawing or painting the human figure have come up with widely differing creations — all of which will be on display during the second-annual Figurative Invitational at Illahe Studios & Gallery in February.

The exhibit kicks off with a First Friday Art Walk reception from 5 to 8 p.m. Feb. 1 at the gallery, 215 Fourth St., in Ashland's Historic Railroad District.

The reception will include wine, refreshments and music by Jeff Kloetzel.

If you go

What: Figurative Invitational art show

When: Through the month of February. Artists' reception will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 1

Where: Illahe Studios & Gallery, 215 Fourth St., Ashland

For more information: Call 541-488-5072 or visit

"The artists are all working with the human form, and the results are all different," said Sue Springer, gallery owner. "It's interesting to see how people deal with the human form."

She noted that some of the paintings are done in a classical style, while others are stylized, and some are so abstract the human form is barely recognizable.

Springer said the artists were selected for the exhibit, but she left it up to them to decide what works to bring in.

"That was a strength," she said, adding that it contributed to the variety in the show.

One of artist Ann DiSalvo's pieces features a reclining nude done in a classical style, complete with draped cloth, except that a foal is lying on the ground.

The nude model in Daniel Verner's piece has decorative tattoos on her skin, and the background is a lush pattern of peacock feathers.

Artist Rebecca Gabriel said she is working with experimental materials, including oil pastel on linen, and pastel on gold metallic paper.

Her piece titled "Beth" features a woman on a shimmery metallic gold background, creating an effect that is ancient, like an illuminated manuscript, and modern at the same time.

A nude painting by Sarah F. Burns is thoroughly contemporary with its houseplants and subdued palette, but a split-open pomegranate on the floor hints at centuries-old still life masterpieces that reference sensuality and mortality.

Clista Narcissus Prelle-Tworek created a portrait of a rabbi, fully clothed in traditional Jewish religious attire.

Troy Terpstra has depicted an immigrant family in Old World clothing, but done in a modern, stylized form.

Micah Ofstedahl's abstract charcoal rendering of women is a study in light and darkness, while Inger Nova Jorgensen added modern blocks of color to her traditional painting of a seated nude woman.

The regular hours for Illahe Studios & Gallery are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

For more information, call 541-488-5072 or visit

Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-479-8199 or

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