Thursday, September 3, 2015

Paintings inspired by an elegant era

The Happy Couple ©2015 Dorothy Lorenze
A Bygone Era... in Oils is the title of my current solo show in North Salem. Maybe it's the Downton Abbey wannabe in me, but I like old homes and their decorative furnishings. Over time my studio has taken on a near museum-like quality, full of the vintage china, silver, books, and textiles from days gone by that I enjoy painting for their richness and evocative, nostalgic nature. Well, I guess it's not literally "nostalgia" since I never lived in the Victorian-Edwardian age, but you get it, right?

Some folks think nostalgia is for the staid and sentimental. If that's so, you've got to wonder why Downton Abbey is such a hit. Elegance envy? Snooping on society muckety mucks?

At the Opera ©2015 Dorothy Lorenze
For me, it's the degree of artistry intrinsic to everyday objects of an earlier age. Decorative, vintage accoutrements are more interesting to paint! Depression glass refrigerator dishes or Tupperware? You be the judge. Taste aside, it turns out there is scientific evidence for why nostalgia is good for us.

When Dr. Constantine Sedikides was told by a psychologist friend that his wistful nostalgia for a former home meant he was depressed (the heretofore official association with nostalgia), he disagreed saying, “...Nostalgia made me feel that my life had roots and continuity. It made me feel good about myself and my relationships.”

So he decided to study how nostalgia really effects feelings and determined that it, "...counteract[s] loneliness, boredom and anxiety. It makes people more generous to strangers and more tolerant of outsiders." His overriding conclusion is, "nostalgia makes us a bit more human." Not a bad goal! (See the New York Times article "What is Nostalgia Good For.")

So, go ahead, be a bit more human. And you can indulge in the art of nostalgia by visiting A Bygone Era... in Oils at the Ruth Keeler Library in North Salem. This exhibition of my latest paintings includes interiors of gracious spaces (Seven Hearths, artist George Lawrence Nelson's studio; a historic Greek Revival stone house and a private home in San Francisco's elegant Pacific Heights) as well as some favorite vintage-yet-familar objects.
The exhibit continues through September 29th during regular library hours (closed for Labor Day 9-5 to 9-7). A few paintings are currently on display in other shows and will be added on September 8th. Stop by to take a look or join us at the reception 3-5pm on Sunday, September 13th. Hope to See you there!
Thanks for joining me on my art journey!

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