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Frederick Woodruff’s New Abstract Art & Fundraiser for Vashon’s Interfaith Council

After a five-year break from his studio, Vashon astrologer and artist Frederick Woodruff will unveil 16 new paintings and collages at his upcoming show at the Puget Sound Cooperative Credit Union on Friday September 7.

Woodruff notes that his approach to these new paintings was influenced by The New York School: A raucous phase in art history when the abstract expressionists remade the process of painting in an outrageous way. "Think ‘action painting’, like the work of Jackson Pollock," Woodruff said, "or ‘still painting’ like the quiet mood of emersion Mark Rothko created in his work."

"I was born in 1956, right when Pollack, Adolph Gottlieb and Joan Mitchell hit their stride. By then their style had moved beyond the shock and doubt that shrouded the abstract expressionists in the 40s. By the mid-50s the culture knew something really revolutionary had happened within the art world. There was a place for them at the table."

Woodruff reflects on how that mid-50s phase in art history has influenced him more than any other ‘ism’. "From the very start, back in the 80s and 90s, studying art history and then painting and showing my work in Honolulu, that last phase of abstract expressionism, right before Pop Art popped, kept me spellbound. I’d return to revel in it over and over again."

"So I’ve preserved that 50s Zeitgeist, it’s in my blood. And of course, as an astrologer this makes sense to me. As Carl Jung taught, anything born at a particular moment in time is imbued with the qualities of that moment. So whenever I see a painting by Gottlieb or Mitchell there’s a part of me that responds instinctively. It’s like their paintings transmit a language that I know the secret code for. And I enjoy composing a painting from that same lexicon."

Woodruff’s opening on September 7 coincides with Vashon’s regular First Friday art showings and festivities. Scheduled to set the musical tone for Woodruff’s opening is Kelly Wyse, a popular Vashon piano instructor and keyboardist for the Seattle-based band Pollens.

"What a lot of folks don’t know about Kelly," Woodruff noted, "is that he’s a crazy-great DJ. His ability to blend ambient, electronic and classical music in a seamless way is mesmerizing. Because I played that kind of music in the background while painting this new work, it’s fitting to have a similar sonic atmosphere in place during the opening. Patte Wagner, the credit union’s branch manager, agreed."

In tandem with showing his new paintings, Woodruff has teamed up with the Vashon Interfaith Council to Prevent Homelessness to create a fundraising opportunity.

"These folks do awesome work for the community," Woodruff said. "After talking with Hilary Emmer and Emma Amiad about the Council’s aims and projects -- like bringing a dental van monthly to the island to help the kids here -- I decided to donate a portion of my art sales to the Council’s efforts. So I’m hoping the show will be a success for everyone involved: art lovers, art collectors and Islander’s that need some extra assistance."