by Darlene Furbush Ouellett, 2018

I receive a newsletter, “The Painter’s Keys”, in my inbox twice weekly. The newsletter was originally written by Robert Genn, a Canadian artist and genuine human with incredible insight and intuition as well as humor. He was a gifted writer, ever managing to teach one something new, expose one to a new experience through his journeys, and introduce us, the audience, to some real characters! And of course, showcase some of his wonderful acrylic paintings in the far reached amazing places that he painted, sometimes with his daughter Sara, the current author of “The Painter’s Keys”

His daughter Sara and her brother David have carried on their fathers legacy by keeping up the newsletter and introducing us to their experiences, as well as archives of Robert’s writings, art quotes, and other artist services.

This past newsletter dated June first, 2018 is called “Desert Intervention”.  It rattled me…… So?  That’s what art can sometimes do. Sometimes art disturbs us by content matter or a certain feeling we personally can feel is vulgar or insensitive on some level. Colors can affect some…too bright, too dull, the painting would be successful if the drawing was better, etc.  The artwork shown in this newsletter bothered me from my love of nature because I am a serious environmentalist. The art stirred a visceral reaction in me….. it was involuntary….check it out.

Many of you will love its playfulness, fun colors and “it’s in your face” factor. As I mentioned, being the naturalist that I am, was appalled that the rocks were actually spray painted!!!!!  That this was a collaboration with the Nevada Museum of Art sort of astounded me that it would not be an exhibit that was more environmentally friendly and temporal. Which brings to mind Christo’s work, which I have always loved and admired for its temporal quality and ability to amaze at some of the massive expanses of parachute cloth covering buildings and spanning vast surfaces. Christo’s work was spectacular, colorful, evolving with wind and environmental factors, but because of its temporary quality and time displayed made it that much more extraordinary and ambitious! Great achievements! So I question why these colorful monoliths could not have been covered with cloth and then returned to nature as is was. To see apprentices with spray guns and masks made me feel like it was “Desert Invasion!” instead of “Desert Intervention”.

So….. art definitely stirs reactions in humans, this human for sure missed a heartbeat!  Tell me your reaction… I’d love to hear!


Darlene Furbush Ouelette is one of the featured artists in the 8th Annual Button Factory Artist Show, happening March 6-April 21, 2023 here at PMAC.

Come see Darlene’s works and the works of the other featured artists and feel your emotions from the pieces at the Opening Reception on Friday, March 10 from 5:30-7:00pm. Then come back Friday, March 17 from 5:00-6:30pm for the West End Master Series, where Bri Custer will sit down with Darlene Furbush Ouellett, Ann McKee, and Dustan Knight in a panel discussion, sponsored by Brick & Barn | Compass.