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Whitney Saurer’s oil paintings are haunting and beautiful. Reminiscent of characters of an animated horror film or maybe a Tim Burton movie, her feature exhibit at the Ochre Ghost Gallery displays five giant canvasses clad with bloodied, saddened young women. Whitney’s paintings traverse through realms of both the macabre and the beautiful. The women she portrays are young, mostly emaciated, maybe carry a perceived disposition of beauty and are bleeding from the face somewhere. Aside from her melancholy artwork, she has a pet hedgehog and is also finishing up a BFA with an emphasis on studio art. (Her hedgehog actually has his own Facebook page.) I recently had the pleasure of catching up with Whitney and seeing her art at the Ochre Ghost.
MJ: How many years have you been painting?
WS: I’ve been painting seriously for about 10 years.
MJ: What sort of content do like to include in paintings?
WS: It depends. With oil paintings I like to do portraits of women. When i’m using watercolors there’s more variety. I’ll paint whimsical scenes, fantasy oriented things, monsters, as well as portraits.
MJ: When did you discover that painting was becoming a more serious prospect and maybe not just a hobby?
WS: When I was looking for colleges. I only applied to one school and I was immediately accepted. One of the women from admissions was like, “I really like your work.” When I was a teenager I would sell prints at Blue Lake Gallery. I guess I knew when people started purchasing my work.
MJ: What inspires different pieces? Is there an individual theme that takes precedence?
WS: Depends on a show. If i’m doing a show I like all the pieces to have a similar theme to make it more cohesive. I’m working on a illustration portfolio right now and they’re all just random drawings. Last year at the Washington Galleries I had a Halloween/Gothic lore themed exhibit. This time it’s bloody women.
MJ: What’s your favorite piece you’ve done?
WS: My favorite would have to be a painting titled “To the Slaughterhouse.” It’s a painting of a blue haired women carrying a pig. Sometimes I change my mind on something mid-painting, but this one turned out exactly how I wanted it to. It’s the exact subject matter I like.
If you would like to see more of Whitney’s work she has her own website! Original works are available @ www.wsaurer.com.