Gay couples, gay individuals and feelings of love, loss and celebration are all featured in the exhibition “Color Our World with Pride” at the Gay And Lesbian Alliance of the Central Coast gallery in San Luis Obispo.
The show, which coincides with GALA’s annual Central Coast Pride event, is the ninth such exhibit to run in June, which is Gay Pride Month.
“Color Our World with Pride” includes pieces by 20 artists that span from figurative to floral and feature styles ranging from a detailed Zen tangle in ink to large, sweeping nudes in oil on canvas.
One piece, “Donna and Debra,” marks the beginning of a portrait project by Atascadero painter and gallery co-owner Kate Moldauer.
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She paints individual portraits of each subject on a separate canvas, then ties together the canvases to show the relationship they represent. The paintings themselves overlap; the tip of a shoe on one canvas crosses over onto the painting next to it.
“I was watching a show on David Hockney and his double portraits, then researched and saw there wasn’t anyone who was doing double portraits of lesbian women,” Moldauer said. “Women in general do not have the economic resources to have their portraits painted. Lesbian women are oftentimes mothers and have families. They and their partners are protecting their children so (they) aren’t as public about something like that.”
Moldauer began meeting with lesbian couples and painting them. She said her double portrait of Donna and Debra, a couple from Morro Bay, is about much more than a painting of her subjects’ outer appearance.
“I meet with (my subjects) and talk to them about their stories — how they met, what is significant about them as a cou ple and how they want to present themselves now to a viewing audience,” Moldauer said. “Sometimes it looks like (lesbians) are becoming very homogenized, part of the masses, so my question is, ‘Are we? Are we, in fact, the family, the cars, the kids and the debts, a couple of pets?’ Part of my artistic quest is finding these stories.”
“I started here (on the Central Coast) because I am here, but I plan to go to other areas and paint other couples,” she added.
“Color Our World with Pride” is curated by the GALA gallery’s new curator, Nipomo resident Ethel “Tink” Landers. She is an artist and has several paintings of nudes in the show.
Landers described the gallery is “my personal ministry.”
“I’m so excited as the new curator that I’m able to bring the community together,” she said. “I love getting people from all walks of life involved.”