Anne Farley Gaines

Iron Octopus (2017)
cast iron from sand mold
11.75 dia. X 2 in.

Mississippi River Eels (2016) 
cast iron from sand mold
11.75 dia. x 2 in.

I work in various styles and media and my artwork has always had its strongest basis in nature, due to the influences of my great-uncle Lynn Bogue Hunt, noted wildlife artist, and growing up in a rural Michigan community near the Lake. My passion for travel, the source of my greatest inspiration, began on during a college art semester abroad where several students and I painted on location in four countries in Europe.

A desire to explore abstraction in graduate school led to producing large mixed-media paintings based upon states of consciousness, the undersea, and gardens, originally drawn from memories of a trip to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. These works on paper and canvas involved the combined use of acrylic paint, modeling paste, oriental papers, polymer mediums, and canvas threads and fibers. In all the media in which I work, the underwater world still remains a strong source of subject material, due to its mystery and fluidity. These environments include the sea and the Upper Mississippi River, an area in which I have spent considerable time.

Working 3-dimensionally in watercolor and mixed-media has brought a playful, narrative element to some of my work, several based upon Shakespeare’s plays, characters and sonnets. Literature and landscape forms have also inspired my narrative ceramic plaques, reminiscent of the aesthetic of the Della Robbia brothers in the 1400’s, yet not derivative. I also sometimes collaborate in ceramic works with my sculptor husband, Geoffrey Novelli, which has also led me to making wax forms, carving sand molds, and casting iron. I now incorporate ceramic and mosaic into collaborative murals I organize, relishing the tactility and surface variation. Feeling the desire for the first time to address the many challenges that face our civilization in some capacity,several of my recent works in clay and watercolor are political in content, such as my “Refugee” series.

© Anne Farley Gaines