When one thinks of plein-air painting, the mind conjures up views of meadows, trees, mountains and sky, but Pearmain has a different take on painting on location. In her exhibit of recent works in oil, titled Urban Landscape, she has portrayed places in Chattanooga which are unnoticed by those passing by.
The artist has always been intrigued by the gritty quality of the factories and steel mills in and around Chattanooga. Many of these places are no longer functioning, and nature has begun to reclaim the land. This setting provides a rich source of material for Pearmain’s paintings which capture the contrast of architectural form and the softer quality of earth, vegetation and sky. “I find these places to be quiet refuges where wildflowers grow up through cement, birds nest in open rafters, and butterflies float through, unaware that this was once a bustling steel mill,” she explained.
Chattanooga has many older buildings as well as factories which have been restored and repurposed. Storefronts and houses have also been a source of artistic material for Pearmain. “I am grateful to those who also appreciate the charm and history of the old buildings and have sought to restore them.”
Unfortunately, many of the places she has painted during her 21 years in Chattanooga are no longer standing. “I hope that my paintings will be little snapshots of a time and place which perhaps would remain unremarkable until seen through the eyes of an artist.”
Victoria Pearmain was born in Boston. She was always interested in art and studied at the DeCordova Museum School in Lincoln, Mass., as a young adult. In 1988 she received her bachelor of fine arts in painting at the Massachusetts College of Art. In 1991 she moved to the Chattanooga area. Her work is in galleries in Massachusetts, Alabama, and Tennessee, as well as in many corporate and private collections.
Recently, Pearmain participated in a two-person show in Lincoln and was included in the Massachusetts College of Art Alumni Auction in April. Her work was in the Art-a-Ma-Jig auction for the Arts in Education Council in Chattanooga in July.
In-Town Gallery is one of the oldest cooperative galleries in the nation and presents the original work of more than 30 regional studio artists.
The gallery is located at 26A Frazier Ave., in Chattanooga — adjacent to Coolidge Park on the north shore of the Tennessee River — and is open every day, year-round. For more information, call 267-9214, or visit www.intowngallery.com or www.facebook.com/intowngallery.