Last Saturday, local artist Arlene Lev welcomed a small group from the NW Art committee into her home for an afternoon of discussing art. Arlene’s painting Domestic Whatnot (1985) will be part of the Junior League of Seattle’s collection of art traveling through
Eastside school districts this spring, in partnership with the Bellevue Arts Museum.
Arlene spoke about her process when painting. She says that when she works she makes a soup of color and then works out the rhythmic movement. From that soup, she brings out the image. “I haven’t a clue what I’ll be doing before I start.” Her early work is abstract while her more recent work is more representational and uses less color. Her work is very personal and autobiographical. She has a studio in her home in Seattle and has her own press to create mono prints. Committee members were even spontaneously invited to see her studio upstairs.
Arlene believes that what we are doing when we are looking at a picture is a kind of reading. However, we must use a vocabulary that we have not been taught. Artists use different methods to help us stop, look, and read their images. Lev believes that “the context of a picture is not what you immediately think it is. It goes beyond what you see to that mysterious “other” that will reveal itself. The slip of the world as we know it comes from our childhood and from our present.”
The NW Art committee visits with 2-3 living artists every spring who are represented in the JLS collection.