Painters Louise Gillis and Lois Rhomberg

Louise Gillis: Young Violinist, charcoal.

Louise Gillis: Young Violinist, charcoal.

by Alex Legeros, Executive Director

Last week I had the chance to visit with professional working artists Louise Gillis and Lois Rhomberg in Studio Pintura, located in Northeast Minneapolis’ Northrup King Building. Louise and Lois have been creating spectacular large-scale works for the May 8th Mother’s Day concert. Both painters have direct linage to France, and it was fun to see how masterful painters approach a project like this. I would encourage any of you who are interested to visit Studio Pintura (Northrup King Building #293) during Art-a-Whirl, the largest open studio tour in the country, coming up in Northeast Minneapolis on May 20-22. Plus, Lois and Louise will be hosting a preview night with wine and jazz on Thursday, May 19th. 

Louise Gillis:

Louise Gillis (link – website) is a classically trained painter of all mediums. For over twenty-five years she has also achieved recognition and respect as an instructor. Her knowledge of impressionistic color theory sets the stage for portraiture, still life, interiors, landscapes and murals. This versatility allows Louise to focus on the needs of her subject matter and create the vibrancy and depth of each individual painting.

Louise has taught workshops in Maui, the Apostle Islands and been artist in residence in Paris and the Black Hills. She has also been featured In North Light Books “Best of Flower Painting” and images published in Minnesota Monthly, Human Rights Campaign, Minnesota Watercolor Society, Minnesota Horticulture Magazine and book covers. A full time artist with collections worldwide, she makes her home in the Twin Cities of Minnesota.

Gillis takes great pride in the craftsmanship of her work and believes that all great art is a reflection of the individual’s interpretation of the beauty of nature.

Contemplation, watercolor

Louise Gillis: Contemplation, watercolor

From Louise: French composers have played a hugely influential role in the rich musical heritage which Western Europe has given to the world.  While French music has figured prominently in every century going back to the time of Louis XIV and beyond.  French composers of the 19th century and early 20th century parallel the brilliant and innovative work of painters such as Monet, Renoir and others, and even reaching into the 20th century with the work of Duffy.

I have chosen to combine elements from the musical and artistic worlds of French culture during the so-called Impressionist period.  The simple pleasures of every day life so charmingly reproduced by the Impressionists chronicle the “joie de vivre” which infuses both the painting muses of the time.  

In using Seurat’s beloved painting “A Sunday Afternoon at the Island of Grande Jatte”, I have taken the liberty of inserting likenesses of certain well-known composers of that time as well as random images from several paintings of the period.

Lois Rhomberg: 

Lois Rhomberg (link-website) is a Minneapolis based fine artist specializing in evocative paintings of people: large and small format, from jumping children and life in the theater to spiritual life, to the life of our physical being. Her work is known for sensitive drawing, lively color, and emotional presence. Lois has also been a regular set designer at Opera Southwest in Albuquerque and the acclaimed Fargo-Moorhead Opera, as well as a Theatrical Scenic Art instructor at the University of Minnesota.


Eugene Atget’s Paris

For this project, Lois has been inspired by Eugene Atget (1857-1927). Atget, a Parisian artist of many talents, was most known for the ground-breaking documentary photographs he took of Paris, which he would sell to painters and architects. The photos Lois selected for this project feature some of the typical elements of Atget’s vision—the deeply foreshortened foreground which almost makes the street look tipped open to the viewer, the archetypal Paris architecture, and the choice of misty weather to create a subtle and striking composition of values.  Atget also painted, and it is no surprise that these elements are also seen in typical impressionist and post-impressionist paintings of the day.  In impressionism the tipped-open perspective is generally thought to be the influence of Japanese prints.  (Japonisme)  “It’s interesting for me to see this influence echoed in not only paintings, but the photography of the day,” said Lois. 

Lois continues: “This type of cross pollination between art forms must have been happening all the time in Belle Epoque Paris—I imagine the same fertile environment being shared by composers and musicians, painters, photographers, actors, and writers of all sorts.  In popular culture I think of Woody Allen’s ‘Midnight in Paris’ and in popular music, of course, ‘La Boheme.’  It’s fun and romantic to imagine a place where you might meet any artist of the day in the local café, and spend the evening sorting out the issues of life!”

May 8th, Sundin Music Hall

Hamline University, St. Paul

3:00pm | $25/10 students

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