Discover Local Artists: Julia Whatley and Sonya Gaskell

Julia Whatley

Artspace 408, an exhibit sponsored by the Center for Creative Education, is currently featuring  the works of local artists Steve Brouse, Nelson Corchado, Sonya Gaskell, Veronica Volani-Inza, Frances Linn, Robert Murphy, Kevin Murray and Juia Whatley for the month of August.

For a quick taste, here are works by artists Whatley and Gaskell.

Julia Whatley of Lake Worth considers herself an action painter interested in the application of paint. “I employ vigorous mark-making to build form and to create energy and movement,” she said.

Color is integral and helps to express her subjects. She develops designs on her computer and paints them directly from the display screen. She also works from life — painting industrial scenes, for example.

Whatley is also interested in exploring human emotions and experiences through her paintings — one such example is “Rodrigo” from her  mug shot series, pictured below.

She invites her viewers to look beyond aspects of “beauty” and  “objects” often depicted in traditional paintings, and open their minds to perceiving the  human condition in its more raw states.

“It’s interesting to see the mug shots as a group,” she explains. “These people are not posed or fixed up and are in vulnerable situations.”

“Rodrigo,” by Julia Whatley, is a 16-by-20-inch acrylic-on-canvas painting, priced at $400.

Sonya Gaskell of Jupiter began plien aire painting in 1981 during a summer workshop in Maine with a group of Niel Welliver Graduate students.

Sonya Gaskill

She considers herself fortunate to be in the class of painters who are involved in what she calls a “visual conversation,” based on direct observation of outdoor landscape.

“I seek to express the unified nature of reality and its underlying nature of consciousness, through the use of the language of paint, tensioned continuously over a surface,” she said.  “In a three-point oscillation between observer, surface and perceived space, I seek to provide a window of transcendence —  an immediacy, which is simultaneously apparent and elusive, as the viewer’s perception shifts between awareness of paint (close up, on the canvas) and the eye’s journey through perceived space (as the viewer beholds the painting from a distance).”

“Juno Pier Wide,” by Sonya Gaskell, is an acrylic on board, 11 by 24 inches, priced at $500.

Gaskell has six pieces in this exhibit — the one above represents one of her recent works painted under the Juno Pier. “From a painterly perspective, it represents interesting subject matter, with bright sunlit areas of sand and water, and mid-tone areas lit by reflective light from the sand and water,” she said.

Artspace 408, at 408 Northwood Road in Northwood Village, is a multi-use art space that features exhibits including photography, pottery, sculpture by local artists and local students. The gallery’s exhibits change on the last Friday of each month and the openings of the new shows coincide with Northwood Village’s Art and Wine Promenade. Off season, the gallery is open Friday and Saturday evenings from 6-10 p.m. For information, call Scott Curry, at (561) 805-9927.