Afterthought by Mike Hiller – Photo by David Lynx
We are not as conscious of it, but we have inner senses — memories of sound, taste, touch, smell and sight. If you close your eyes and are asked to think about a ripe strawberry or sour lemon, you can taste them. Or imagine a bright, sunny beach, or the smell after a rain; these memories of senses come to you.
As you gaze at a painting, the artist may have chosen to utilize texture in the work, which triggers your memory of a rough or soft texture, or anything in between.
The work of Stan Hughes showing at Oak Hollow Gallery demonstrates this expression of what is called visual texture. Your mind can interpret the idea of texture, which or without touching it.
Although for some of his pieces, with a method that sculpts the paint from the surface, you could actually feel it if you were allowed to touch it. These feelings of actual texture are not necessarily the memory of what you interpret visually. His abstract work, such as “Here Be Trolls,” is reminiscent of cut fabric but may trigger an entirely different response in someone else.
Hughes’ work titled “Orion’s Gate” creates a visual texture of the night sky. Of his artwork, he says he is “attracted to themes with myth, mysticism and nature.”
The idea of visual and actual texture combines with Mike Hiler’s pieces, which are also on exhibit at Oak Hollow. With his sculptures, you can actually hold the work and experience the texture in your hand.
Hiler’s mugs are not only something you can appreciate visually, but enjoy while drinking a hot cup of coffee. The rough actual texture is also accented with smooth surfaces. It may not be apparent that smooth is another expression of texture, but it is.
The smooth pear shape of his bears are comfortable to hold in your hand.
Although he focuses primarily on porcelain and earthenware ceramics, he also combines clay forms with wood and other sculptural materials.
As one of the various elements of art, it is texture, both actual and visual, that touches the senses and memories that enhance the story the artwork tells.
The work of Stan Hughes and Mike Hiler will be on exhibit at Oak Hollow through May 4.
• David Lynx is executive director of the Larson Gallery at Yakima Valley College. Learn more at www.larsongallery.org.