Loading Dock Gallery exhibit opening tomorrow

Painting by Ashlee Welz Smith

Beginning tomorrow and running through March 27, the Loading Dock Gallery at Western Avenue Studios, 122 Western Avenue in Lowell, will present a show of paintings and photographs by two local artists, Ashlee Welz Smith (painting shown above) and Laura Doran (photo shown below). There will be a reception for the artists Friday, March 4, from 6 to 9 pm. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 11 am to 4:30 pm. The following release has more information about the artists and the show:

A photograph or painting may hang on a wall and be bounded by a frame, and to a casual glance it may seem static. But it can take the observer to surprising places. Shifting Boundaries, a show of paintings by Ashlee Welz Smith and photographs by Laura Doran opening at the Loading Dock Gallery in Lowell on March 2, challenges us to push the boundaries of our experience of the world.

“For me,” Welz Smith said, “it’s a show about constant change. I’m observing and exploring how atmospheric shifts affect light, color, and mood, as well as playing with the idea of lines as visual blockades.” She added that her paintings in the show have “become a visual reminder of the constant redefinition of who I am as a person, artist, wife, mother, and friend.”

Doran added, “With each stage of life there are new ‘rules’ and boundaries that can stifle your creativity and spirit if you let them. Creating these photographs and working with Ashlee for this show has allowed me to break through yet another boundary and continue on my journey.”

While Doran often gets inspiration from the changing moods of the ocean, Welz Smith has “always been intrigued by objects that pierce through a vast expanse of sky. Focusing on the intersection of material objects in an otherwise intangible space allows me to toe the line between abstraction and reality, playing with color, line, composition, and feeling.”

Welz Smith, of Lowell, received a BS in Fine Art from Skidmore College and studied painting and photography in Paris. She realized art was a necessity in high school: “In the art classroom I felt the most fulfilled and exhilarated, and yet completely terrified.” Her medium of choice is oil paint.

Doran, of Chelmsford, has been working with digital photography for the past four years. She has studied at Maine Media Workshops, the New Hampshire Institute of Art, and the DeCordova Museum. Both have studios at Western Avenue. Doran said, “The artists at Western Avenue are the most talented and sharing people I have ever met. The creativity that happens there on a daily basis is awe-inspiring. Being part of that community pushes me to learn and grow.”

Photo by Laura Doran