PAINTING + MIXED MEDIA
My interest in painting lies in the place where the natural landscape and the man-made environment meet. I like to look at the patterns that the two environments make, especially in contrast with each other – the rounder and more varied shapes of the natural landscape against the more rigid and regular features of the man made landscape.
Strater’s includes all kinds of rooftop views, rendered in pastel on paper. For the most part, she does not reveal a horizon; she obscures it with a kaleidoscope of buildings which are right at the edge of reality. Crowds of roof lines tilt and clamor: roofs with lofty peaks, round tops, and spires atop tall thin buildings lining narrow roads. Strater shows clusters of buildings at night, in bright day, and just at evening. To Strater, the process of painting is much like building and placing shapes, adjusting their colors, figuring out how to connect them or separate them from adjoining shapes. Realism is her starting point, but the process of painting gives her an opportunity for abstraction finding combinations of shapes, colors and patterns that correspond to reality but not always, suggesting rather than describing. A viewer looking into a Strater roofscape will find the colors manipulated to create a cohesive picture with the romance of mystery and otherness. The deeply layered pastel colors, saturated and odd, add to the character of the neighborhoods she depicts. She places cool bright colors with those more dull and dark, exaggerating the intensity of each. Strater takes her audience on a small journey through cities, towns and neighborhoods made by people in far places, places that remain unidentified. In her own words: The thing that I hope my paintings share is a bit of ambiguity or a tension between realism and abstraction, between shape and form, between reality or fantasy the feeling that it could be this, but it could be that, or it could be something else. – Victoria Crain, Rutland Herald, 2016.