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May 1997

Dion Yannatos and Martha Dunham

Dion Yannatos paints expertly rendered landscapes with references to the grand American tradition of landscape painting. Under local circumstances, they have a decidedly poignant political message.

Mr. Yannatos, an MFA from the University of Washington, paints "portraits" of trees, forests (the Washington State rain forest in this series) and watersheds in a realistic but partly mystical manner. In some images the trees are depicted in the full, unaltered splendor of their natural surroundings: multiple layers of thin oil glazes of the medium lend an eerie realism to the feeling of the bark and moss on the trees while the atmosphere suggests the ever-present overcast skies, half way between night and day and magic. In other paintings, some of which are multiple images in the style of traditional European alterpieces, the artist depicts the toll which logging has taken on our magnificent forests.


Dion Yannatos
Oil on Canvas
3" x 112" across five panels

"Rise and Fall," a tremendous five panel "polyptych" measuring almost five by twelve feet, is both a celebration of the grandeur and essential life force of the trees and a requiem acknowledging the devastation of clear cutting. The center panel depicts a pair of stumps amidst the debris of the harvest. A mysterious swirling of clouds hovers overhead, a parallel to the so-called "Pregnant Void" symbolic of God in liturgical art. The blue and white of the sky pays tribute to colors which traditionally signify the Virgin. Healthy trees in the side panels suggest the Saints in an arrangement recalling the Conversation Sacre. Clearly un-holy subject matter is cleverly juxtaposed with the formal devices of Medieval and Renaissance art.


Dion Yannatos
Oil on canvas
53" x 38"

Dion Yannatos
Oil on canvas
52" x 16"


        The paintings will be complimented by sculptures in wood by carver Martha Dunham. Dunham, with a PhD in Biology from Bown University, creates exquisite, stylized renderings in unusual woods: morphed forms of animals are crossed with emotional states. "Otter," 1996, a work in Walnut, 10"x20"x4", has a firm grip on its own custom pedestal and extends its head and neck, tentatively, in a moment of curiousity. The blackness of the Walnut and the serpentine form of the moment of curiosity. The blacknee of the Walnut and the serpentine form of the animal contrast wonderfully with the white, geometric capital of the pedestal top, juxtaposing the world of smaller critters to that which is man-made.

Martha Dunham
Walnut Carving
5.5" x 4.5" x 3"

Martha Dunham
Spalted Birch Carving
36" x 10" x 10"


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