July of Gems

It’s July, and DIVA is showcasing two vibrant and unusual artists possessing a style and ingenuity well-worth checking out. Painter and theater designer Jerry Williams will showcase his large-scale paintings, which will be moved eventually to the Bijou’s newly remodeled theater in August. “It will be a challenge to see how many of these big paintings I can fit into DIVA,” Williams says. 

Williams says he was inspired to take on these giant paintings after years of set design for theaters such as the Hult Center, UO Theatre, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and more. 

“Other artists ask almost angrily why I paint so big,” he says. “Considering my forty-year career as a theater designer, a tiny six-foot canvas can seem like a Persian miniature to me.” 

With such huge canvases, no ordinary paintbrush will suffice, and Williams has learned to be inventive with his tools. He sometimes paints with brooms and mops.

Cassandra Warren will also be featured in DIVA’s July exhibit. “I’m showing part of a series of action painting, much in the spirit of abstract expressionism,” she says. 

Warren’s work is textured, active and often involves glitter. By dripping paint on canvas, she creates colorful, layered lines that change dramatically according to the angle and intensity of light. The result of this variation in mediums is a whimsical product that’s as innovative as it is eye pleasing. 

But there is more to Warren’s work than color, sequins and iridescent gems. “My mission is to create work that is uplifting and beautiful,” she says. “I want to make things that speak of the constant harmony that exists in the energy and vibration that connects all things.”

Jerry Williams’ and Cassandra Warren’s artwork is featured throughout the month of July at DIVA.