The Quiet Painter: Dana Oldfather



Self-taught painter Dana Oldfather could boast that she is one of only a handful of working Cleveland artists with a Wikipedia page dedicated to their biography. But if she were to brag (unlikely—when we last spoke with her, she was reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain), she would more likely bring up her Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award or her upcoming shows across the country and at Cleveland's own prestigious SPACES gallery.

Then there's the fact that she's expecting her first baby this October with her husband, a quality engineer in the aerospace industry. Finding a partner outside the art world was a conscious decision. "I never wanted to date an artist. How could you make room for all the egos and ideas?" Oldfather says.

Indeed, her own art both flows from and inspires many ideas, though they are thoughts that are felt or experienced rather than processed with words. Her abstractions, with their appearance of fluid and organic forms in spaces carved up by Euclidian lines, feel like music, the apparent spontaneity of which is really the product of exact notes arranged in severe lines.

Space, landscape, and the objects contained in both all bleed into each other, like the indivisible but lumpy texture of emotional life. Though Oldfather's paintings have recently drawn comparison to those of her favorite artist, Jackie Tileston, she isn't bragging, let alone resting on her laurels. "Work can always be better," Oldfather says.