“Brad Overton paints with two ultimate goals in mind: beauty and meaning,” says Denise Phetteplace, the executive director of Blue Rain Gallery.
“His canvases are filled with exquisite detail, intriguing figures both mysterious and spiritual, hidden metaphor, and something, for lack of a more appropriate word, intoxicating.”
“Ways of Moving: New Portrait and Still Life Paintings,” which opens on June 29, is Blue Rain Gallery’s show of new works by Overton. Most of the paintings are calavera (representation of a human skull) portraits enhanced by the dramatic use of light and shadow.
“I love the process of photographing the women in the paintings,” explains Overton, a multi-talented Utah-based artist who studied theater, music, art and poetry at the University of Utah and graduated with a bachelor of fine arts degree.
“The character embodied by the model is ironically reinforced and freed by the mask. The definite quality of what’s painted on the face gives safety and clarity to the wearer. What I’ve seen is that the models open up and seem more confident and vulnerable at the same time because they’re embodying a kind of mystery that they feel connected to through the act of allowing and participating in the ritual transformation required to show up as the deathless.”
Before beginning a painting, Overton takes numerous photos of his models in their makeup, looking for feelings of power, vulnerability, strength, love, confidence, charisma and joy.
Also in Overton’s show are five still life paintings in hand carved custom frames that he refers to as the Dashboard Jesus series. “I use my collection of lead and plastic Jesus and Mary figurines together with vintage Japanese Bandai toy Volkswagen busses and other vintage toys to create a folk themed, still life series that’s just purely playfully,” he adds.