The Masterpieces Of The Ferndale Arts Gallery In Ferndale, CA

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Taylor Fournier

For 27 years, the Ferndale Arts Gallery has been located in the heart of Ferndale, CA, hosting the impressive creations by 20 local artists. With large windows spanning the length of two of the gallery’s walls, it allowed for the abundance of light that added to the overall natural theme of the exhibition. Each artist had their own space to present multiple pieces of their artwork, whether it be expressed on the shelves or walls that composed the room. The gallery showcased high-end, professional paintings with acrylic, oil, and watercolor, refined ceramics ranging from sculpture to decorative designs and tableware, fiber art of needlecraft and quilting, elegant wood turnings, and photography from our local areas. Not one of these artists was reluctant to capture the beauty of the area around us, whether it be capturing the history of Ferndale or exploring the majestic Redwoods and Northern Coast. The natural theme is set to embrace the wonders that surround us in creative way through different artistics styles and techniques.

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Out of the many exquisite pieces that caught my attention, Rosalinda Brainerd’s, Fernbridge at Dusk, won me over. Brainerd created this piece to mimic Leon Porter’s Fernbridge photograph. Brainerd’s piece is a quilt that uses appliques in addition to incorporating blocks to create a picture that looks like a photograph with visual texture, almost teasing at three-dimensionality. The form of this piece is two dimensional since it a quilt, making the structure of it essentially defined as a craft. However, this piece is not for functional use, but rather shows the creative side of the artist. It takes on organic shape due to it relatively being composed of elements found in nature like the sun rays, water, and mountains. It has a three-dimensional space to it through the color change and the silhouette of Fernbridge. There is use of horizontal line in the bridge to suggest stability, diagonal lines in the sunset’s rays that create movement pulling your eyes to and from the bridge with the curves of these lines creating a sense of energy and tranquility in nature. The value is the brightest with yellows at the base of the sunset, with surrounding shades of pink, orange, and blues. There are many bright colors which relates the intensity to positive energy and heightened emotions. Brainers is trying to perfect the process of sewing fabric together so intricately as to affect the light variation in her quilt with different patterns of block to portray the water and the reflection of color from the sky and bridge.

The second piece that caught my attention was one of Sara Brown’s musically themed sculptures. She did not give it a name, but it is beautifully crafted, stringing together all 88 keys in a spinning spiral. Only the front of the spiral is used, with the right side containing old, repurposed piano keys and the left side as an extension of the keys under the delicate colored flowers made from quilling. Clearly this can be seen both as an art and craft because she made it by hand, but there is also this creativity to it, expressing what she is most passionate about. Due to its resemblance of a DNA strand, I believe that the significance of this piece is the bring forth the idea that music and the ability to interact with nature is in our DNA, no matter the person. The form of this piece is three-dimensional since it is craft. Geometric shapes are present in the rectangular nature of the keys. The use of horizontal lines that the keys make, as well as the vertical nature of the spiral hanging from the ceiling, creates a sense of solidity that relates back to the meaning of DNA being a set factor of life, and with it, the ability of uniqueness in each individual as found in music and nature.

Overall, I believe this exhibition carries a tradition of respect for historical preservation and artistic liberty with a flourishing and diverse community of artists that bring it to life. There are so many different mediums at the Ferndale Arts Gallery that there is always a surprise as what is to come around the next turned corner. The natural theme of the gallery essentially sums up the culture of our community. From the beauty of nature amongst our historical Fernbridge in Brainerd’s quilt to the way Brown portrays new life in her musically inspired spinning spiral, there will always be newfound meaning in each piece of art.

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