Paintings drip, dazzle, delight

Sarah Komisky

Saddleback’s art gallery held its first reception this fall for Orange County artist, Justin Bower, on Sept. 13.

The event offered live jazz by the Striffolino Quartet, refreshments, and artwork by Bower. His 6×6 to 8×10 canvas oil paintings portray a realistic view of human emotion that is honest, innovative, and incredibly moving.

The talented artist got his start in art by creating his own comics then drawing what he called “random things” in High School and finally painting in college.

“I wanted to play football but then I went into fine art,” Bower said. “I guess I wouldn’t have been using my talents if I went into the football thing.”

Once the viewer enters the gallery, he is greeted by Bower’s portraits that feature what he calls mixing abstract expressionism with basic modeling.

“For portraits, I wanted to melt organic with inorganic as far as the chroma of the colors and mixing of flesh,” Bower said. “I like to play around with the psychological gaze and I want to see these paintings as constructive.”

The gallery showcases Bowers two separate styles with portraits in one room and three other pieces in another that lead in a new artistic direction. Two of the pictures entitled “An Execution of Human,” inspired from Hiroshima and “Becoming Disjunctive” inspired by evolution are particularly emotional.

“It is a birth to a women from Ukraine that is post evolution,” Bower said. “Once we manipulate our genes we jump on that train of evolution.”

As a student of the life drawing class at Saddleback, Dylan Turner, 18, undecided, came to the gallery as a recommendation from his teacher.

“I liked how he [Bower] made the paintings drip. The paintings were really intense and aggressive, they came out at you,” Turner said. “I really liked the eyes in the paintings.”

Cynthia Flannery, guest of the gallery the art itself but also the display of the art in the gallery.

“I just love the graphics on the poster. It represented the art very well,” Flannery said. “His paintings were very contained and the focus is completely on the art and I really liked that.”

Bower gives credit to Art Director Bob Rickerson for his partnership in helping create an amazing exhibit.

“This is a great exhibition,” Bower said. “I was really lucky to get this because Bob is incredible at putting this together.”

With Rickerson prepping the gallery, Bower also took a lot of time to prepare his pieces for viewing.

“It used to take me a month and a half to paint a piece but now I take two weeks so I’m getting better as far as time,” Bower said. “There was a lot of preplanning that went on for this exhibit.”For fans of the artist, Bower offers up his e-mail [] for anyone who wishes to chat.

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