Jocelyn Audette


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The following articles have featured Jocelyn Audette:

Of the Land - Essay by William Wheeler & James Millikan

Of the Land
Essay by William Wheeler and James Millikan
April, 2006

 What a delight!  Three top-notch artists, all with a long history of plein air painting, are exhibiting at Quicksilver Mine Company in Forestville, California.  Congratulations to owner Khysie Horn for this fine show!  The exhilarating challenge of plein air art is to engage with the living, breathing, ever-changing Other of stupendous nature.  It takes passion.  Each of the artists at Quicksilver – William Morehouse, Jocelyn Audette, and Adam Wolpert – brings passion to the work.

William Morehouse, who died a dozen years ago, would have approved of showing with these two younger artists.  A professor of art at Sonoma State University for more than a quarter of a century, he was a gentle teacher who painted with his students, looked for the right rather than the wrong in their paintings, and pointed to the land as a source of inspiration.  Morehouse was a major artist with a long and illustrious career in the pantheon of twentieth-century greats.  He was eighteen years old in 1947 when he entered the California School of Fine Arts (now the California Fine Arts Institute), studied with Abstract Expressionists Clifford Still and Mark Rothko, and became Still’s teaching assistant.  Other instructors included Elmer Bischoff, Richard Diebenkorn, and David Park.  Morehouse’s artistic repertoire was breathtaking.  He took up landscape in the 1980s and became the anchor member of the Sonoma Four, famed local group of plein air painters.

 Morehouse’s paintings more than anyone’s bring us into the presence of the vast, quiet power of the land.  His landscapes are suffused with a spirit, a transcendence.  In this exhibition, we are fortunate to have the sensuous “Elephant Rocks at Pozzi’s.”  The window piece is “Myers Grade South” with its powerful evocation of the Sonoma Coast, which lends itself to just a tincture of an echo of Diebenkorn (also found in “Willow Creek” and “Willow Creek 3”).  Several other fine paintings are included here, all displaying Morehouse’s great facility with paint and rapport with the land.  In his Journal of the Sonoma Four’s cross-country painting trip, William Wheeler says of Morehouse:  “…he makes it look easy, the same as brushing or combing hair.”

 Jocelyn Audette belongs to the next generation inheriting the Morehouse legacy.  For ten years she has been a student of William Wheeler.  She has had numerous exhibitions in Napa County and elsewhere.  It seems her work has broken through to a new level in recent years.  Audette is a vivid colorist with a deft abstract touch that points the dialogue on canvas.  Most of her paintings in this exhibition were made en plein air.  A third of them (including encaustics) are studio works using her referenece photographs.  One of these paintings, “Grazing above the Cliffs”, is strikingly successful at drawing us into the movement in space.  The meadow in which the cows graze peacefully is perched atop a cliff plunging vertiginously into the sea.  In paintings done entirely outdoors, there is a wonderful quality of spontaneity and sense of mystery that come of grappling directly with evanescent nature.  The livelier quality of plein air shines forth in the delightful “Windermere Point, Looking South”, “Bodega Head Beach”, and the powerful “Sea Rocks.”

 If there is a Medal for Artistic Valor, it should go to artists like Adam Wolpert—and supportive gallery owners like Ms. Horn—who take the risk of producing and showing art that diverges widely from previous successful efforts.  Wolpert studied classical realism in Florence, Italy and is director of the art program at the Art and Ecology Center in Occidental, California.  But his beautiful paintings of gardens are not here.  For several months preceding this show, Wolpert could be seen nearly any day in Bodega Bay at his French easel painting the mudflats, Doran Park, and Bodega Head.  The results are a staggering twenty-nine paintings, not all on display.  They are infused with meditative reflection on the elemental simplicity of a single area of local coast:  the weather, the times, and the tides.  Like Monet’s haystacks, all of Wolpert’s paintings are of the same scene.  The horizon is marked by the line of cypresses of Doran Park, moving up or down depending on the sky and water.  All but a few show a portion of Bodega Head on the upper right—which, incidentally, was one of Bill Morehouse’s favorite spots.  Skies range from delicate sunset colors on a clear day to black clouds heralding thunder and rain.  The broad expanse of water beneath Doran varies with the breathing of the tides.  We see the fullness of an ocean bay at high tide and the snaking strands of abandoned leftover waters puddle in mud sloughs at the ebb.  These are beautiful paintings.  They put you there with eyes open and patience to look.

 Of the Land is up at Quicksilver through May 14, 2006.

 William B. Wheeler
James D. Millikan
April, 2006


Calistoga Tribune, September, 2004

Telluride Watch, April 2003

Ouray County Summer Guide, 2003

Art Scan, July-Aug 2002

Calistoga Tribune, May, 2002

The Weekly Calistogan, December 6, 2001

The Napa Valley Register, Art for America Benefit, December 20, 2001, November, 2001 issue

Click  the link below to see the review about the "North Coast Four - Napa Land Trust Paintings & Other Landscapes" show at China Basin Landing (Sept 22 - Nov 3, 2001).

The Press Democrat, Q Section, October 29, 2000

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The Press Democrat, October 6, 2000

Women's Voices, October, 2000

Healdsburg Tribune, October, 2000


From Bill Wheeler, August, 2000

North Coast Four
A Landscape Painting Show, Oct/Nov 2000

These four women have been friends and associates for many years, mostly centered around Thursday night life drawing at the Cultural Arts Council, SoFo2 Gallery on Wilson St. in Santa Rosa, California.  When one of the four, Linda Kammer, was given a one-person show at the SoFo2 Gallery, she offered to broaden it to include her three friends, Jocelyn Audette, Dana Hawley, and Hanya Popova Parker. 

Thus we are treated to a meaningful and tasty show of four emerging artists with a parallel grounding and sharing a common artistic vision rooted in figurative drawing and water coloring from the Thursday night group and expanding to landscape oils of the North Coast.

A common thread of influence runs through all their work - the painterliness of the Bay Area Figurative and Landscape School.  These four are a band, an association, a group.  Essayist John Fitz Gibbon talks about art as friendship, sharing, and giving, not the cliche of the starving artist in the garret.  Artists are meant to mingle, to be supportive, and inspirational to each other.

We have the privilege to live in and around one of the most spectacular landscapes in the world.  The desire to paint it is irresistible, like Kafka's Munger Kunstler breaking his fast.  That being said, we tie Ulysses to the mast, and say the image of the landscape is irrelevant - sky, trees, and land.  That's what post cards are for.  We could just as well be painting old shoes and dirty socks, eliciting the same passion.  What is important is the abstract - color, composition, spatial organization, and finally personal expression, and what fellow Thursday-nighter James Milikan describes as existential self-indulgence, and what Diebenkorn was so good at, the expression of the spirit.

Linda Kammer

Her paintings are deeply expressive and raw, directly connected with her emotion.  She gives totally in her life and her art.  When you look at her paintings, you are looking at her.  She is the Miles Davis of the group, cacophonous, yet poetic.

Dana Hawley

Her palette is muted, like Mahler music, deep, dark, formidable, and full of surprises.  Her paintings are chromatically keyed in the lower register, like a dream on a hot summer night.

Jocelyn Audette

She is more Debussey, with a brighter palette.  Her recent paintings show a major breakthrough, a realization of her talent. 

Hanya Popova Parker

She is Russian, very Russian, dramatic, and powerful.  She has a great feeling for line, recalling Kandinsky.  Her paintings and drawings, many in stark black and white, evolve into searing color, like a clash of percussion in a Russian symphony.


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