LandEscape Art Review // Special Issue - Page 96

Land scape CONTEMPORARY ART REVIEW Gail Factor or Gail Factor, painting is a means to access serenity, a calm soul. Artists throughout Fhistory have created bodies of work in an effort to solve their personal aesthetic dilemma. Laid at the feet of Factor’s quandary is a life’s work. The unrelenting impulse to create something of beauty and personal truth has resulted in five decades of focused and committed painting; a daily offering of sorts, whereby the act itself generates luminosity and eradicates darkness. Harmonizing rich color, tone and texture, Factor strives for pure abstraction, but as images emerge, the past often makes an unwitting appearance. Memories surface and integrate into the visual field. With only slight reference to the tangible world, she takes the viewer along on a journey through an altered reality, the unknown. She is after a synthesis of it all. Reaching for an archetype of her life experience, in paint. Art is to the eye, as music is to the ear. “Any resemblance to reality is merely coincidental.” -- Gail Factor Gail Factor passed away at the age of seventy on July 16, 2013, after a brief illness. The cause of death was pancreatic cancer. She was a wonderful mother, a dear friend, music lover, gardener, patron of the arts, and a masterful painter whose work explored the beauty at the fine line between realism and abstraction. Gail’s maiden name was Polayes. She was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, moved with her family to Chicago, took painting classes as a five year old at the Art Institute of Chicago, moved to Los Angeles, and spent most of her childhood there. After gaining a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree degree at the University of Southern California, she studied art at Yale University and in Europe. With her first husband, the architect Jon Jerde, she had two children during the 1960s, Christopher and Jennifer. A decade later, with her second husband, the developer and philanthropist Davis Factor, Jr., she had a daughter, Emily. Gail’s children recall a mother whose passion for art and life were inseparable. Christopher: “Mom parented like she painted: lovingly. She never took us for granted, and we never doubted her undying devotion to care for us whenever we needed her. She was an amazing mother, and now that she is gone, we are in even greater appreciation for how she lived her life as a mother and friend.” Jennifer: “Mom often expressed gratitude for the depth of her friendships. She believed that the making of great friends is a skill--one that she had honed over the course of her lifetime--and based on the outpouring of support the past few days I'd say she was right.” Emily: “In her life, Mom created, loved, and painted with pure compassion and touched the hearts of many. Her vision will always remain present in the legacy of art she leaves with us. Her spirit full of boundless inspiration and beauty travels onward.” Gail studied with the painters Wolf Kahn and Wayne Thiebaud, but her work was always distinctly and uniquely her own. Behind Gail’s gentle, soft-spoken façade lay a fierce intelligence, a strong will, and the willingness to go her own way. Landscapes became the principal focus of her art when she was in kindergarten. For the next sixty-five years, she continued to strip away what was unessential from her paintings, pushing to get at the core of things. The difference between the abstract and the representational became meaningless. Her paintings were beautiful, intensely heartfelt, and often haunting. In an art world dominated by shameless self-promoters, Gail never called attention to herself. Her work spoke for itself. You either understood the integrity of it or you missed it. Her paintings fundamentally reflected who she was. Gail distained all that was loud, shallow, and complacent in modern art. She loved this quote by the choreographer Martha Graham: “There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost, the world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable it is, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. No artist is pleased...there is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction; a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the rest.”