Montclair’s Fern Bass, a local artist and teacher who runs Bass Arts Studio, has a show at Hillside Square through April 21. The exhibition is entitled “Private Moments in Public Spaces.”
“As an introverted extrovert who spends a lot of time alone in the studio, I frequent cafes for my daily fix of inspiration, which comes from both caffeine and people. I love to sit alone in these public places and observe. When I am daydreaming in a cafe, I often find myself tuning in to the people around me, as if I were a kind of cafe spy. What I see is subtle yet deep — nothing I can describe in words, only pictures,” Bass writes in a release.
“My inspiration for this current body of work was watching people eating, working, talking, and thinking in Montclair’s cafés. My children used to admonish me for staring, so I began to surreptitiously photograph people in cafes several years ago. I arouse no suspicion as I just look like everyone else taking selfies. I like to catch people engaged in quiet moments of private thought, whether they are a barista, patron or server. Then I go home and try to visually represent these internal experiences in my paintings”.
“There is so much to see in people’s movements, interactions and the constantly shifting expressions of a person’s face. There is so much that can be conveyed through color. Artistically, these highly structured compositions reflect a search for spatial pathways and color harmonies that capture the interplay of public and private.”
Some of the compositions are Montclair High School students and other friends.
“My focus in the single figure compositions is depicting internal states using unrestrained painterly mark-making with bold coloration. My work is to bring what’s inside, out,” Bass writes.