(Above: Art by Janene Diaz, who has a solo show in April at the Emerald Art Center)

By Randi Bjornstad

Emerald Art Center director Paula Goodbar is always enthusiastic about the gallery’s monthly shows, but this month she’s especially upbeat about an exhibit called “Mockingbird Union” that features the work of local artist Janene Diaz.

The show will be part of downtown Springfield’s Second Friday Art Walk, which begins at the art center at 5 p.m. and continues on to other locations until 8 p.m. (See the complete itinerary below.)

Journey to Discovery

“This is Janene Diaz’s first real gallery show,” Goodbar said. “I became acquainted with her work through the Eugene-Springfield Arts Project, and she brought in a few pieces of art for various shows … I saw something special about Janene’s work — it is very self-exploratory, and she digs down deep to express herself on canvas or digitally.”

Diaz describes her own work as “a journey of self-discovery.”

“I attempt to confront and cut through layers of hard-wiring and subtle energies in an attempt to express a feeling of origin,” she said in her artist’s statement. “I use music, nature, human relationships and my personal yoga practice as a muse.”

IMG_3948Sometimes that process “can be arduous,” Diaz admitted, and the pieces in the show offer a testament to the challenges of plumbing one’s own depths.

Several of the works are self portraits, and while the features clearly evoke the same person, the tones, colors and emotions are evidence of a psyche in transition, possibly even turmoil.

Based on other hard-edged works contained in the exhibit, the viewer can only wonder wonder what fractures Diaz may have either experienced or witnessed in her life, as in a painting labeled “Predator,” which shows the back of an unclothed, seated female figure with a bird of prey seated on her shoulder and along the bottom the words, “she who stays quiet consents”.

Also on display

As always, the art center has a monthly show for April of work by members of the cooperative, showing a wide variety of styles, including landscapes, florals, abstracts, portraits and photographs.

The third exhibit at the center is the featured member artist of the month, this time work by Carol Fairbanks, in a show called “Painting the Presents of Nature.”

IMG_3950Fairbanks taught public school in Ohio for 30 year, where she specialized in science and art. Since her retirement, which has included five years of teaching yoga, she has relocated to Oregon, where her interests in nature and hiking inspire her creative side.

Her art, which she sums up with a quote from John Muir — “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks” — reflects her relationship with the natural world, expressed in acrylic, ink, pastels and assemblages.

Second Friday Art Walk

Veteran artist Dottie Chase will lead April’s Second Friday Art Walk, starting at the Emerald Art Center at 500 Main St. at 5 p.m. and proceeding from there to several other downtown locations.

Here’s a complete listing of the 17 galleries and other businesses that will be open during the Second Friday Art Walk on April 14:

Emerald Art Center (500 Main St.) — Featured shows are “Mockingbird’s Union” by Janene Diaz and “Painting the Presents of Nature” by center member Carol Fairbanks, as well as the monthly show of art by members

Wise Turtle Acupuncture, upstairs at 500 Main St. — Abstract paintings by Emily Hayes

Springfield City Hall Gallery (225 Fifth St.) — Painting and collage by Julie Williams, with live music by Jack Radcliff, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Celeste Watch Company (335 Main St.) — Grand opening with Celeste, who is one of the only watch dial artists in the United States

Galerie Malerische (236 Main St.) — “Here Kitty, Kitty,” a show about cats by local artists; wine, food and fun from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

336 Main St. — Art by Terry Holloway and live music by Rad Ranger

Cascade Center for Spiritual Living (741 Main St.) — “Retracing My Migration” by artist Wren Davidson

Tronson Gallery of Contemporary Art (740 Main St.) — Watercolors and oils by Michele Thorp

Academy of Arts & Academics ( 651 Main St.) — Portraits by students

Springfield Museum (590 Main St.) — Art by students from Springfield Middle School and Springfield High School

Memento Ink (525 Main St.) — Art by Brian Hahn

US Bank ( 437 Main St.) — Oil paintings by Norma Wade

Willamalane AdultCenter (215 West C St) — Art by people in the Arts and Culture division of the Oregon Supported Living Program, including painting, mixed media and drawings

Haven (349 Main St.) — Watercolor giclee by Lisa Livoni

 Hearts for Hospice (444 Main St.)

Mosaic 331 (331 Main St.)

100 Mile Bakery (418 A St.)