Jill McVarish & Stephaine Brockway
September 10 – October 4, 2022
Forbidden Fruit combines the engaging creativity of two artists, Jill McVarish and Stephanie Brockway, who offer an imaginative show loosely based on the title. McVarish portrays "little rascals," children and pets up to no good, painted in her signature, old-world style. Brockway carves her bevy of delightfully odd characters from collected wood objects and combines them with vintage elements into assemblage sculptures. Droll figures, fantastical animals, and anthropomorphic fruit will all make an appearance. Expect creative charm, wit, and depravity!
McVarish brings to her painting an avid interest in art history, as well as an astute grasp of contemporary culture, from retro TV series and video games, to fashion, music, and iconic cartoons. This mix of highbrow and lowbrow, beauty, and dark absurdity, is what defines her style. As she plays with these juxtapositions, the artist renders her vision in a manner that harkens back to painting techniques of the 17th century masters, evidence of her post-graduate studies in Amsterdam.
McVarish has been exhibiting as an artist since graduating with a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1993. An Astoria resident since 2007, she has exhibited at RiverSea since 2012, and regularly shows in Portland. McVarish owned and curated The Secret Gallery in Astoria for four years. Her work is in both private and corporate collections throughout the United States.
Brockway is noted for her folk-art carvings on wood assemblages, usually incorporating parts of vintage furniture, household implements and other discards from the past century as a base for her artwork. Her carving style is primitive and naïve with a folkloric feel and an inspired use of color. Her carved and painted faces lend an enigmatic personality to many of her pieces and are influenced by her background as a painter. Brockway has exhibited throughout the Pacific Northwest for many years. She has a national following among folk art collectors and her work has been published in national art doll magazines.