Gestalt means “unified whole.” It refers to theories of visual perception developed in the 1920s which attempt to describe how people tend to organize visual elements into groups or unified wholes.  In short it is the concept that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

For the newest show at High Street Galley, local artist and gallery owner Michael Hernandez started with an idea for a show featuring the work of several artists in a way that embodies the concept of Gestalt.  The participating artists work in a variety of media.  Hernandez explains that his staging of the show is an integral part of the vision.  “I used the Gestalt visual principles as a way of comparing and contrasting the artists work. Similarities, continuation, figure and ground, symmetry as some principle examples.”  He even created custom lettering for the show which utilizes many of the Gestalt principles graphically.

The “parts” of the show, the artists, are a diverse group of individuals including German born Annegret Disterheft, whose range of collages, serigraphs and monotypes has roots in her  childhood memories of both fear and hope in war-torn Germany; Kimberly Seabury, a fine art film photographer who is showing her double exposure photographs  shot in medium format on film; internationally known Donald E. Smith, whose key interest is creating images through the mediums of drawing, drypoint, etching and lithography; retired California Polytechnic Art & Design Professor Emeritus Henry Wessels, whose sense of fun shows in his cast bronze pieces; and gallery owner Michael Hernandez, who is showing an assortment of assemblage projects that repurpose found objects and serve to accent  the other work being shown.

Hernandez stresses that the visual feel of the show in its entirety is important and points out that when you enter gallery your first view may be the entire works all at once.  He points out that Disterheft’s work is hung in a way that connects your eye through all of her work in display, while the cast bronze fish of Henry Wessels swim “through the gallery and beyond.”  This image is especially poignant because Wessels, a noted artist and educator who was a friend of participating artist Donald E. Smith, and who Hernandez counts as both friend and teacher, died unexpectedly right before the exhibit was due to open.

Hernandez reports that Wessels had not shown for  a while prior to this show, although he continued to enjoy and experiment with cast bronze sculpture.  He hopes that visitors to the show will enjoy the “gestalt” the mixed effect of the staging of the work of all of these talented and diverse artists, but he also hopes that the show will stand as a memorial to an artist, friend, and teacher who created art, fostered and encouraged creativity in a generation of students, and infused his work with his own humor and enjoyment of life.

“Gestalt” runs through June 3.  : Thurs-Fri 12-5pm. 

Sat. Evening Events 

5:30-830pm on April 15, 22, 29 and May 6, 13, 20.  Closing Reception: June 3.

High St. Gallery  700 High St. NE Suite 180 503-793-4504 www.TheBruinCo.com