Artist Dana Roes Goes Under the Surface

“I don’t usually want to make pretty pictures.”

  Averi Roes arrives home quietly and offers an apologetic wave, announcing that she has returned safe and sound after a weeknight outing with friends. Her mother turns around in her chair, taking in her bespectacled teen as proof, then resumes the conversation with new relief. Something about positive and negative space. Or was it black holes? Definitely something about art. Dana Roes the mother might call this parenting. But Dana Roes the artist would call it an interruption in the piece. A peeling back of the paint to reveal the raw canvas. A teasing glimpse into the world beyond one’s exterior. “I like the tension that an interruption offers,” Roes says, explaining the halved canvases in her current series, Holding Fast. She creates unencumbered by beauty or realism. “I don’t usually want to make pretty pictures.” Pretty or not, Roes’ work has earned her wide recognition. Roes the Fulbright Scholar spent 12 months in Iceland, earned her MFA in painting from the University of Pennsylvania, spent stints at both Savannah College of Art and Design and Carnegie Mellon. She then agreed to come teach at the small Florida SouthWestern State College (then Edison State College). She remains there in Fort Myers, her home now for helping others tap into their individual inspirations and for birthing those cerebral works of her own. That signature interruption technique is all over Holding Fast. The series’ working title evoke
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