This May, JRB Art at The Elms celebrates the official month of roses with the painted fantasies of Chicago artist Eleanor Spiess-Ferris, who is acknowledged as one of America’s great visionary women artists and Oklahoman Beth Hammack’s abstract paintings. Both exhibits will open May 4 with a reception from 6 to 10 p.m. during The Paseo Arts District’s monthly First Friday Gallery Walk. The exhibit will run through May 29.
Eleanor Spiess-Ferris studied at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and The University of New Mexico. Inspired by her Spanish heritage and diverse upbringing, Eleanor’s vibrant paintings juxtapose the beautiful and the comic with the tragic, or the real with the unreal. The Art Forum critic James Yood has noted that “You can’t teach imagination, and for an artist such as Eleanor Spiess-Ferris, that stunning ability to leap from here and now toward what and if is a central strength, the platform from which all else exudes. Her figures, sometimes male, but usually female, with a vague historical air, as if they are transported from Victorian or Renaissance times, akin to commedia dell’arte actors and actresses, capable of nuance with their determined roles.” Yood has described her work as “melancholic, brooding, wistful, heartfelt, poignant, tragic, tender, etc.