The Color of Water Contemporary Watercolor Paintings
Through February 23, 2018
Charleston, South Carolina
At Robert Lange Studios, inspiration is one of their art exhibition goals. “If you are a watercolorist perhaps you’ll find renewed inspiration for your medium of choice, and if you are a collector, perhaps you will purchase your first watercolor piece,” says Lange, artist and gallery owner. “We have really tried to find artists with unique voices for our group exhibits. No two are alike in their approach and specifically for this watercolor exhibit we wanted to find painters that didn’t create traditional watercolor scenes.”
He goes on to say, “Local favorite Mary Whyte is responsible for introducing me to contemporary watercolor painting. Before seeing her work I was unaware of how versatile watercolor could be, and since that day I’ve wanted to bring together a group of contemporary painters who are using the medium and choosing subject matter that truly propels the genre forward.”
“One such watercolorist who was invited to the show is Mario Robinson,” writes the gallery, “who recently began to extensively incorporate rural subjects into his paintings. Each subject is very personal for the artist in both selection and execution. Robinson says, ‘As the work progresses, my relationship with the sitter develops and a uniquely personal story begins to evolve. I frequently depict subjects framed within the context of their daily lives. The underlying narrative counters sentimentality and serves as the underpinning for my figurative images.’
“Artist Kerry Simmons, who studied in the Ukraine, has created a figurative piece entitled ‘Frost’ using dry brush watercolor techniques. A single figure is seen gently lying on her side. The layers of watercolor, softly layered on top of each other, lend themselves perfectly to help propel the narrative.
“Alexandra Becker-Black, who paints portraits of contemporary figures, says, ‘Watercolor is a delicate medium with a powerful impact. Every mark must be a deliberate decision because there is no undoing what has already been done. It’s a slow and challenging dance that at first was very difficult and had a lot of disadvantages. But now I only see advantages. As a watercolorist I am forced to work in the moment, to consider every stroke that I make and to proceed with confidence and grace, even if I know that a large painting could be ruined at any moment because of one mistake. I feel that working with watercolor keeps me focused on the true meaning of what each painting is and urges me to remove everything but the key elements. It’s a beautiful dance that I wouldn’t trade for any other medium.’
“Many of Becker-Black’s pieces have large areas of negative space around a single figure. She says, ‘I’m magnetized by the power of simplicity. I think the best stories of any kind are the ones with just enough detail to deliver a message, but still enough space to leave some mystery. Whether it be a painting, a song, a film, or a novel, I love art that makes us wonder.’
“Reuben Negron, who will also have a piece in the show, said, ‘I’ve long been interested in using art to tell stories. Beyond the larger ideas that hold up contemporary art, an image’s ability to transport me into a narrative has always resonated most. Taking a page from those I’ve worked with in the past, this new series allows me to turn my lens inward for the first time to tell my own personal narrative. Each image in this new body of work is approached as a passage (and in some cases a full chapter) in what is essentially a visual novella. Over the next year or so this series will touch on themes of loss, sexuality, memory, and discovery… All while pushing and expanding my relationship with watercolor — finding ways to utilize the medium in a manner that challenges public perception of what it can or should be.’”
Artists participating include: Alexandra Becker-Black, Matthew Bird, Denny Bond, Kerry Brooks, Jason Drake, Joshua Flint, Michiyo Fukushima, Katie Green, Oriol Angrill Jorda, E.B. Lewis, Adam Lister, Karl Mårtens, Laurin McCracken, Dean Mitchell, Reuben Negron, Melanie Norris, Endre Penovac, Dylan Scott Pierce, Mario Robinson, Nick Runge, Ester Sarto, and Kevin Taylor.
This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. Click here to start receiving Fine Art Today for free.