Somerville Manning Gallery (somervillemanning.com) announces the exhibition “Under the Influence: Contemporary Artists and the Masters Who Inspire Them.” Opening reception: Friday, September 20, 2019, 5:30 – 7:30 at their location in Breck’s Mill in Wilmington, Delaware. The exhibit closes October 12, 2019.
All artists study the masters in varying degrees. They glean technique, application, ideas, composition, meaning, and a host of other information that informs their art. After continued hard work and careful observation, an artist’s own voice emerges in a unique style. Somerville Manning Gallery presents an exhibition of talented artists along with the masters who gave them inspiration, exploring the importance of art history even through modern times.
As specialists in the Wyeth Family for over 35 years, it is no surprise that three out of five artists in this exhibit are linked to that distinguished family. Drew Ernst is a figurative realist gathering advice from N. C. Wyeth’s well-known son, Andrew Wyeth. As a student at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Ernst studied with numerous talented painters, many of whom could also reference the impact of Andrew Wyeth.
Shawn Fields (work featured at top) names both Winslow Homer and Jamie Wyeth as compelling forces in his development as a painter. Fields paints stories of childhood with convincing detail, reminding us of the simplicity of a childhood full of curiosity and play.
Theo Platt’s “Ocean” series, of which two will be on display, focuses on the magnitude of great bodies of water. He names N. C. Wyeth as his “recent obsession,” and his sculptural waves certainly reflect his reverence for the natural world and the scale of Wyeth’s powerful works. Platt attended the Royal College of Art in the UK and has been commissioned by the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and the Royal Family.
In a different take on epic panoramas, Victoria Adams’s paintings were shaped by the Hudson River School of artists. After spending her childhood under the skies of the American Midwest and more recent decades in the Pacific Northwest, Adams’s work owes a visible debt to those views. Her work is collected extensively in the Northwest, including works in the Tacoma Art Museum and the Allen Foundation for the Arts.
Also familiar with the pull of the Pacific Northwest, our final artist, Betsy Eby, creates abstract encaustic paintings that “fuse the line between the musical and the visual composition.” Experiencing these works in person casts a spell similar to that of her influence, Pat Steir. Eby’s works have been shown widely and collected by many institutions, including the Georgia Museum of Art, the Columbus Museum, and the United States Embassy, Dubai, UAE.