Gail Flanery is an artist and printmaker who takes inspiration from nature. When Gail was only six years old, she thought she saw a fairy fly past her whilst she wandered around her Grandmother’s backyard in rural Ohio. “Of course it must have been a big dragonfly or butterfly – but I ran into the house trying to describe the vision to my elder,” Gail recalled in a recent interview. “I was asked to draw what I’d seen and I would say that was when my journey as an artist started, and it continues to this day.”
As of 2016, Gail has taken part in numerous shows including displaying work at museums, galleries and public libraries. While a student at Cooper Union, Gail started working with color fields, citing Mark Rothko as an inspiration. She stated, “I painted bands of color and then began to see a horizon line across the canvas. I started looking at Turner and was really drawn into his atmospheric landscapes. Also, his color palette stayed with me. The majority of my images come from nature. Much of my artwork is suggestive of landscape although the geography is not specific. These landscapes are invented. And, of course, nature is not just landscape – I see the beautiful structure and line of the trees and try to put expressive force in my mark. Nature opens my way, and the images support one another. The work evolves and develops with a consideration of space and a use of color that refers to natural elements. Certainly I have a colorist’s concerns, my color choice is based on instinct and feeling. I use color to give my composition a sense of mood and place that is remembered rather than observed.”
Gail has an affinity for paper and her primary medium is the painterly process of monotype printmaking. She is fortunate to have worked with several Master Printers and frequently prints in the studios of Kathy Caraccio and Roni Henning. In addition to printmaking, Gail also works with dry pastel. Using pastel, she builds layers of color on top of a printed image…achieving a depth of textures. Simplified forms and planes of expressive color contribute a mood and sensibility at once slightly abstract and highly atmospheric. Recent work has included the technique of collage to the composition.
In 1976, Gail was included in a group show at the Jill Kornblee Gallery on 57th Street in Manhattan. During that show, her work was picked up by a young dealer, Fred Deitzel. He was opening a gallery space downtown in a neighborhood not yet named SoHo. At that time, Gail was creating large pastel drawings, Fred wanted multiples and so he took her to several master printers to create many editions. As a result, Gail went right down the printmaking rabbit hole.
“I have always exhibited and sold,” Gail declared. “Years later, living in Park Slope I stumbled across the 440 Gallery and admired the art-work I saw there. I applied for membership and have had four solo shows there along with a great community of artists.” Today, Gail frequently displays both large and small pieces at Brooklyn’s 440 Gallery. “I like the expressive nature of some of the big ones…and the small ones are a whisper of a thought,” she explained. “I would like to go back and visit some of my older techniques like woodblock printing. I’m beginning to print on fabric and explore those possibilities.”
Despite all her success to date, Gail still finds it incredibly rewarding to sell her work. “I do want my work out in the world, not just in my flat files,” she proclaimed. “Recently I have been contacted from various galleries, concerning my work appearing in estate sales. That has been a very thoughtful consideration for me. Realizing my work is being passed through collections and generations. My artwork is out there and moving around.”
When asked about what advice she would give to aspiring artists, Gail was frank and to the point: “Never drop the thread. Keep making your work – even if it is just sketching in a notebook. Never become totally satisfied – continue searching and reaching for more.”
Gail is a productive artist, this spring she is considering arranging a pop-up show in NYC and, although the deal is not sealed yet, she is working on securing a space. Additionally, she just installed a show at Stocked, 635 Vanderbilt Ave, in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.
Anyone who is interested in learning more about Gail and her work should visit her official website and Facebook.