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Island artist's work on view in Berkeley

  • February 12, 2013

By Nanette Deetz

ALAMEDA -- "Visual Variations," an art exhibit featuring clay monotypes by Alameda artist Bonnie Boller, is on view at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center's Community Art Gallery until March 1.

Curated by Jane Neilson, this exhibit presents a dimensional and visual feast for the viewer. The show combines clay monotypes, oil painting and paper mache sculptures into a theme about the natural environment, yet moves the eyes into new dimensions and ways of perceiving nature.

Boller is the current president of the Island Alliance of the Arts and Alameda Women Artists.

"Abstract Expressionists have had a great deal of influence on the development of my own personal style, as well as the Japanese two-dimensional style of printmaking," Boller said.

When asked about her view of nature, she said, "My abstractions develop from seeing the world intimately as if through a magnifying glass. I see details as compositions with intense color and simplicity of form."

She is also quite playful, adding layer upon layer of color then juxtaposing different design styles within each print.

"Clay monotype is a technique using liquid clay slip, as the ink or paint. These colored slips are then applied to a leather hard slab of clay using various techniques. The slip can be applied directly to the slab or transferred from newsprint. The finished monotype is quite light in weight," Boller said.

Boller received her bachelor's degree in art from Cal State East Bay as well as a teaching credential. She taught third grade at Porter School in Alameda for two years, and after her own children were born, she taught art in their schools for many years in Alameda.

In 1987, she opened her own studio, Clay Art Studio, and she currently teaches ceramics at Alameda Adult School and Mastick Senior Center.

When asked what advice she might give to beginning artists, she said, " I remain humble to the realization that art is about the process of creation more than it is about the finished product."

Collage artist Nancy Overton presents paper mache sculptures that represent some of the many birds that grace Bay Area wetlands. These birds are mounted on driftwood found along the shores of the bay. She uses a lightweight floral wire, then covers this with many pieces of torn paper. She then paints over the paper with water colors.

"I am constantly looking for interesting slips of paper from garage sales and estate sales," she said. "My silt sandpiper uses Japanese papers and the American robin has musical writing scores as a base."

Her friends are always collecting driftwood for her sculptures. She uses a palette of 300 different colors for these birds, and they seem ready for flight at any moment.

Mathew Frederick presents Northern California landscapes painted in oils. He has been heavily influenced by the Impressionists. These are large canvases, with a puzzle like formation of brush strokes, and deep, lush colors.

"Landscape painting is such a serious subject, that I like to break that up with whimsical gestures and puzzle-like formations," he said. "By abstracting from the surrounding landscape, it is my intent to create dynamic imitations that will hopefully encourage the viewer to examine the countryside with a fresh perspective."

"Summer Lake," the largest canvas, pulls the viewer in with lush oranges, greens, different hues of brown, yellows and blues. His work can be viewed at


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