May-June 2018 Newsletter
The Fluvanna Art Association News is published bi-monthly and is written and edited by Page H. Gifford.
Members Exhibit at Purcell Gallery
Jackson Pollock’s influence was the theme for the current gallery showing at the Purcell Gallery at the Louisa Arts Center. It took many forms and among the participants were five members of the Fluvanna Art Association, including Linda Mullin, Windy Payne, Susan Walker, Mike McGurk, and Maria Carter.
A majority of the artists shared a similar vision, using modern techniques such as acrylic pours and alcohol ink resins. Many FAA members are familiar with the acrylic pours but the alcohol ink and resins had a far different texture simulating polished marble. Joan Bennett was one of the artists who told FAA member Jan Taylor that she hadn’t been doing it for long but was amazed with the results. Bennett took fellow artist Judy Hartman Brown under her wing and taught everything she knew about the process. Together, these two artists exhibited some impressive pieces.
Susan Walker sold her work Hawking Nebula = 42, which had swirling colors and accidental eyes popping out at the onlooker. It was a wonderful departure from her familiar work. Payne’s passion for flowers was integrated into a pollackesque medley of color.
But it was Mike McGurk that made a much different statement about Pollock by doing a pastel of Pollack’s tools, a realistic look at the larger than average artist’s paints, bags, buckets and cans and large paint brushes. The tools were the breakthrough to Pollack’s artistic epiphany and recognition.
Other artists, such as Barbara Powderly has an emotional connection to trees, their limbs and roots and used them in her three pieces featuring intertwining limbs. Like Pollack’s work there seem to be no beginning and no end, it was infinitive.
Another interesting twist on the Pollack theme was Lee Nixon’s One Tired Cat. He captures the essence of fatigue in his sculpture of a the cat’s head, offbeat and exaggerated ,showing the jaded look in the cat’s glassy green eyes and the pollack effect in its modernism and paint splattered fur.
The exhibit gave some FAA members idea for our future exhibits. The exhibit will continue until July 27, noon -4pm, Monday-Friday.
Featured Artist Andrew Wyeth, The Realist
Realistic yet ghostly in his renderings of something unseen hidden beneath the surface of his subjects, rugged New Englanders, living in Maine, Andrew Wyeth captures the essence of their hard core souls. Often not beautiful but always softly dynamic, Wyeth makes a keen statement with his subjects. The yearning seen in Christina’s World as Christina reaches forward with her body toward something unseen, she cannot escape. Wyeth was a master of seeing the underlying truth in the simple things. It is seen in the hollowed out faces of age and the bare bones of the landscapes of the cold and barren winters of Maine. The solitary figures glancing off into the distance, seeing things we cannot. Perhaps Wyeth himself says it best himself about his subjects:
“I do an awful lot of thinking and dreaming about things in past and the future-the timelessness of the rocks and the hills – all the people who have existed there. I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure in the landscape – the loneliness of it – the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it – the whole story doesn’t show. I think anything like that – which is contemplative, silent, shows a person alone – people always feel is sad. Is it because we have lost the art of being alone?”
Born in Pennsylvania in 1917, Andrew was one of five children. Experiencing fragile health as a child, Wyeth was removed from public schooling before finishing the first grade and was educated by tutors and family members who encouraged imagination and creativity. Wyeth had always engaged in personal exploration.
By 15, in 1932, Wyeth began his formal art education with his father Newell Convers Wyeth, an American artist and illustrator. He was the pupil of artist Howard Pyle and became one of America’s greatest illustrators. Andrew learned drawing and worked from models and mastered figure drawing, worked from life and memory. With his father’s guidance, he became skilled in watercolor, and later learned egg tempera from his brother-in-law Peter Hurd. He studied art history on his own, admiring many masters of Renaissance and American painting, especially Winslow Homer.
In 1944, a year before his death, N.C.wote Wyeth, encouraging an inner selfconfidence to follow one’s own talents without thought of how the work is received. In October 1945, his father and his three-year-old nephew, Newell Convers Wyeth II, were killed when their car stalled on railroad tracks near their home and was struck by a train. Wyeth referred to his father’s death as a formative emotional event in his artistic career, in addition to being a personal tragedy. Afterwards, Wyeth’s art consolidated into his mature and enduring style.
In 1940, Wyeth married Betsy James. Betsy introduced him to Christina Olson, who would become the model for the iconic Christina’s World. His wife had an influence on Andrew as strong as that of his father and like N.C., she played an important role in managing his career.
Their first child, Nicholas, was born in 1943, followed by James (“Jamie”) three years later. His son Jamie Wyeth followed his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps, becoming the third generation of Wyeth artists. He died in 2009 at the age of 91.
There are many fun things to try in art that help us to learn and grow. A great place to seek out creative ideas and inspiration is online at the Artist’s Network.