Art of Memory – Works by Dean Evans and Angela White at Gallery 621

Gallery 621 presents “Art of Memory,” an exhibition of artwork by member artists Angela White and Dean Evans. Paintings and other works in this exhibition are inspired by each artist’s memory of things past or places visited. The exhibition will run from January 5 through 29, with a reception open to the public on Saturday, January 14, from 4 until 6 pm.

Dean Evans grew up in Clayton and remembers a more rural environment than exists today.

“My paintings are about trying to preserve what things used to be like, the rural quality, especially in Contra Costa County,” he says. “I’ve watched that disappear over time. Around 2008 I moved to Martinez and became familiar with the Carquinez region. It surprised me how little it had changed, compared to the rest of the Bay Area. Towns like Crockett, Port Costa, Martinez, Benicia, even Vallejo have been able to maintain that small town waterfront character. I’ve become almost obsessed with painting that, before it disappears.”

In addition to landscapes of the local area, Evans’ oil paintings also depict old town buildings and the decaying artifacts of industry such as those found on Mare Island.

His current works are detailed and realistic, painted with a variety of palette knives. “I always wanted to be a painter. Growing up in Clayton, I liked to go out and sketch things.” In high school, he modeled his style after James Enemark, a well-known watercolor artist and teacher who painted rustic barns and rural scenes in a realistic manner. “I really got drawn into that genre. But when I went to college, no one was painting in that sort of style. In the 1980s there was a trend toward conceptual, non-objective work, and I painted in an abstract style for a while.”

Evans graduated from San Jose State with a BFA and MFA and began a career teaching art, eventually specializing in teaching students with disabilities. When he picked up his painting some years later, he gravitated back to his earlier, more realistic style. Now retired, he still teaches art in the Mount Diablo School District as a substitute. “I’ve lived in other places, but I’ve always come back, this is the place that has everything … near a big city with museums and restaurants, near mountains, the ocean. My wife and I enjoy hiking and being outdoors.”

Angela White has spent most of her life on the East Coast, relocating from Bethesda to Benicia with her husband in late 2021, seeking to be closer to their children.

“A lot of my paintings are of subjects on the East Coast. But I often visited my son who lived out here, and he would take me to many beautiful natural environments. And then I would go back into the studio and try to recreate the memory of how it felt to be there.”

White’s works include oil paintings, encaustic paintings, and assemblage. Her oil paintings are mainly seascapes, abstract representations of specific places. Her encaustic works include abstracted landscapes as well as abstract designs created by stamping patterns in the soft wax with Indonesian tjaps that she has collected. She began developing assemblage works during the COVID shutdown period. “I was an art educator for many years, and I used to teach the technique of assemblage to my students. During COVID, I felt a lot of isolation and spent time walking around in my neighborhood collecting natural objects. I began combining these items to create assemblage works in cigar boxes that I’d collected over a long period.”

White describes herself as an “air force brat” who had the opportunity to live in various art-rich European cities as a child.

“I was always surrounded by art, and I always knew I was going to be an artist.” White received the BA and MA from University of Maryland, and majored in painting, with a second bachelor’s degree in art education. She taught in Montgomery County Schools for 30 years, at all levels. She has been represented by Wohlfarth Galleries for many years. “It was a big transition to move here. Benicia has a good feel, it’s art-friendly, has antique and vintage shops, the waterfront, and a beautiful natural environment. I love the community here and have made many new friends.”

The gallery is located at 920 First Street, Suite 203 and is open Thursday through Sunday, 12 to 6pm. You can see more of these artists’ works at and on Instagram, @dean_evans_art and @anglwhite.