Both Kathy Gore Fuss and Amy Huddleston work from direct observation, but they use this traditional tool very differently. One would never confuse their two bodies of work.
Four years ago Kathy Gore Fuss began spending much of her painting time out in the forests around her Olympia home rather than in the studio. She was curious how working from direct observation would change her painting. It has sharpened her eye and guided her hand as well as deepened and expanded her narrative vision of the forest. This is perhaps especially true in the work on view as Gore Fuss has, for the past year, filled the unique role of artist in residence at the Port of Olympia, and as such she has had access to the loading facilities and crews of Chinese and Japanese ships that dominate the shipping of lumber at West Coast ports. Her narrative begins in the forest and follows through to the loading dock. While the narrative content, explicit and implied, is there, her intent is not to document but rather to use the “Industrial Forest” as a vehicle for her ideas about painting. Gore Fuss understands that her narrative serves the painting, not the other way around. These paintings are “stand-alone works” and compelling as the story is, do not require the narrative to find meaning as works of art.
Amy Huddleston writes: “Two years ago I decided to work entirely from observation, with a muted and limited palette. I learned a great deal through this work; which was based on measuring in order to help me better understand spatial relationships. I felt a strong desire to see what this could bring to my work.” Huddleston’s passion is for observation detached from narrative. Because she knows how to paint well indeed, her straightforward approach will have its rewards, among them, allowing psychological expression to be a by-product, rather than the intention of her efforts. This compelling subjective expression, while it arrives without invitation, does become a significant aspect of her work.