In a series of 14 vibrantly colored paintings, Bellevue artist Brian Forrest depicts scenes from Bel-Red, the 900-acre area east of downtown Bellevue expected to transform into a collection of robust, mixed-use neighborhoods over the next 20 years.
The paintings will be presented in an Aug. 13-Sept. 23 exhibit at the Marketplace at Factoria. Forrest will be at the opening Saturday of "The Bel-Red Paintings. An Expressionist's View," in the concourse outside Panera from 1 to 3 p.m.
Bel-Red has long been a light industrial area. In 2009 the City Council approved zoning intended to help change the area with retail businesses, apartment complexes, new streets and parks and open space. An arts district is envisioned for the area as well, so the Bellevue Arts Program issued a call for art related to Bel-Red and is sponsoring the exhibit.
Forrest, an artist influenced by colorists such as Vincent Van Gogh, creates raw and expressive works hovering between realism and abstraction. Fascinated by the coexistence of light industry and wildlife in Bel-Red, he sought to capture that feeling by painting his scenes with a low angle of warm light and a rich layering of paint.
"I wanted to express Bel-Red emotionally on the canvas, and share that with people," Forrest said. "I wanted to help people gain a greater appreciation for the beauty and diversity in Bel-Red's landscape."
While the works will probably ultimately be for sale, Forrest hopes to exhibit the series more times this year.
The Bellevue Arts Program, advised by the Bellevue Arts Commission, serves Bellevue residents through direct funding to artists and organizations for arts programs and events in Bellevue, public art, cultural policy development and other activities. The "Cultural Compass" is Bellevue's strategic vision for arts and culture in the city.
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