Thursday, March 17, 2011

Broderick Gallery, Rainier, Oregon

George Broderick

Two days of stretching canvases with friends in Havana

Main Gallery Room, Galerie Guayasamin, Havana

When I wrote an article (“Art Tales along the River”) for the Columbia River Reader’s current issue, I visited George Broderick’s gallery in Rainier for the first time. I have known George casually for a couple of years but was not familiar with his art or his past. Now I am a fan and want to share his gallery with the rest of the world.

The Broderick Gallery is situated in a blue house on the main street (313 East B St., aka Highway 30). The interior has a number of sunny, colorful rooms stuffed with art. George has paintings everywhere and is more than willing to share the stories behind each picture. He represents around 30 artists, some world-renown. For example, Crawfurd Adamson (human figures and landscapes) is a Scottish painter who currently has a show in London and work in the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. I was drawn to Michael Cookinham’s glimmering still lifes and learned that George had studied with Michael in San Francisco.

But it’s George’s Cuban paintings and adventures that fascinated me. George first visited Cuba in 2002. A year later, the US Treasury Department gave him permission to bring Cuban art into the US and in June 2005 he was the first American to have a one-man show in a Havana Gallery. Since then, he has visited Cuba almost yearly; he is allowed to go wherever he wants and “feels safer than any place else in the world.” He currently represents three Cuban artists, Eduardo Labrtado, Ignacio Morida, and Ernesto Pumariga, each representing a different view of life in modern day Cuba.
George’s website ( characterizes his “narrative oil painting style as ‘hyperbolic reality’ as the figures and colors are overstated. The symbolism and color forms surrounding the figures define their environment, consequently giving considerable complexity to the figure's character. The distortion reflects how the individuals think other people see them.” His Cuban influenced paintings are large, stylized street scenes-with strong, colorful architectural features and figures. You can see for yourself if you check the website. It contains many paintings by all the artists, a description of the “nontraditional path” he trod to becoming a painter and gallery owner and information about past shows at the gallery.
George also does picture framing and has just started offering painting classes which he describes as “just a blast.”

But don’t settle for looking at this art on your computer. Go to the gallery. Stay for the stories.

Note: My article is in the March 15-April 14 issue of the Columbia River Reader. The CRR is available at various locations throughout Cowlitz and Columbia Counties (locations listed on the website: The article is also on the CRR website.