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Provocative Perspectives and “Divided Light”

April Raber, 2018 featured artist

California Images & HistoryApril 27, 28 & 29, 2018

This year, the Festival of Arts is delighted to feature the art of April Raber. As a signature member of several prestigious art associations, including Oil Painters of America, California Art Club, and the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association, her diverse body of work has been heralded by artists, critics and collectors alike. This artist is internationally known for her oil paintings, which capture the inner relationship between nature and life in a unique way and with a provocative perspective.

To understand April’s unique perspective, you need to understand a little about her history. While trying to make a living in art straight out of college and painting “pretty” scenes of the big Utah landscape, as well as running a non-stop schedule, April’s life was suddenly and most dramatically altered as a result of a devastating cancer diagnosis. Her life, her voice and her artistic vision was permanently impacted. As a young and budding artist, her concerns were now reshaped from visions of calm and peaceful horizons, to literally facing the terror and the unknown face of death. April reflects upon this period of her life in an upbeat and positive way: She says that it gave her time to literally stop – to quit work, quit the normal demands of life, and to read, open her mind and to literally contemplate the meaning of life and to find her inner self.

Once her health started to improve, April’s work started shifting; she found peace and a way to process her illness and to cope through her artistic voice. She went through a “symbolic” phase where images of snakes and doves and the like would appear in her work. During this time she moved to an Indian Reservation where she found a simple, peaceful and tranquil life, living in a primitive fashion as “one” with the land. She refers to this period as her “reflective time in life” – where her body started to heal and where she produced “quiet” atmospheric landscapes.

She soon rekindled an old relationship, was married, then relocated to Southern California with her husband for his job. The move created a complete change again in her life, now thrust into the often tight, impersonal and ever active ambiance of Orange County. At first she couldn’t understand why all these people would live here, all together, so tightly connected yet so impersonal. Then she realized that Californian’s get “three times the life – it’s always spring here, everyday is a good day, and no one need be stuck inside.” So out she went – to paint, to create and to see all the good things that California has to offer.

Often April paints plein air (outside, from life), creating the scene as she interprets it on the spot. Since the light is forever changing, she takes pictures before she starts her work for the day, as well as at the end of the day to make sure that her pieces accurately reflect the mood that captured her initial interest in the composition. And so that she “doesn’t forget the visual images.”

A strong supporter of April and her work, her husband encouraged her to stop painting what “sells” and to start painting what she wanted to paint. She started experimenting with small canvases, trying different approaches and trying to create a fresh awareness. She describes her work as an opposition to her illness and to her resistance to being sick.

While life and land is oftentimes beautiful and sentimental, April wants to reflect the harsh realistic truth of life as well. She feels that she can make fixes and can create positive movement artistically even though she may not be able to control, fix or move other influences on her life.

Over the years, April’s work has changed and morphed as she has lived and experienced her life. She also is intuitively influenced by the industrial environment in Southern California. While looking at the sky she realized that man has created a “lattice work over nature.” Her most recent work concerns itself with the linear aspects of life and the gritty industrial environment in which we all now live and exist.

During the festival, April will be presenting a seminar entitled Divided Light where she will discuss her work, motivations and working process. Come see April’s interpretive works of urban life, railroads, cell towers and ferris wheels.

More images available on April’s website: April Raber

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