Kerry Rowland-Avrech
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The Radiant Paints of Kerry Rowland-Avrech

By John Natsoulas and Bridget Mazet 

Kerry Rowland-Avrech is a true American Painter. As an art historian, I find the strength in her art to be her great understanding of color field painting. Strangely enough, I believe that the champion of the field – Clement Greenberg – would have found her visual vibrance and understanding of abstract painting to be equally powerful as the color field painters of the sixties. Today, I think Greenberg would classify her as a great Post-Painterly Abstractionist, a term he used often in the sixties for that generation and for their successors.

The ephemeral dreaminess of her paintings seem to meet the line much like Morris Louis did, yet in a much more free and less controlled manner. Rowland-Avrech claims that the works of Georgia O’Keefe influenced her sense of the organic. Her jagged stepped colors almost make one feel that there is an inner light or flame within her paintings. Although considered one of the powerful female painters of Northern California, her voice is incredibly different in comparison to her contemporaries of the twenty-first century. This difference in voice takes its origin in her going back and really examining American Art. Further, she follows the footsteps of Jay DeFeo in her abstraction, yet she is DeFeo’s complete opposite in her understanding of color.

Color is indeed what separates Rowland-Avrech from other contemporary painters, as she has a tendency to use the layering technique of the Dutch Masters. Although her interests are similar to those of Morris Louis in her use of lines, she also carries some organic forms like Frank Lobdel and Jack Jefferson. She has inbued a sense of color, abstraction, and form in her new and strongest body of work in her current exhibition that this catalogue accompanies. Not only is she a great painter but she has recently received major mural painting installations and commissions on the historical Anderson Building in Davis, California. She was also honored to receive the Davis Artist in Residence for 2011.