Here is a selection of some intriguing, exciting and innovative artists whose works on paper are distinguished for their style and stunning effectiveness in a variety of materials.
The first group of artists draws inspiration from their surroundings, art for them is very much woven into the chores and routines daily life. For example Ellen Phelan’s watercolors are representations of domestic settings. And her world is created very much from her surroundings: a passion for gardens and furnishings infused by light that can be both natural and artificial. Intimate would be the best term to describe these works and classical in their refined character and simple compositional arrangement. And as Vuillard has said: “conceive of a picture really as a series of harmonies.”
Such harmonies also exist in Squeak Carnwath’s charcoal drawing. Like Phelan it is also a look at the artist’s world, a snippet of artist and her dog close up. The texture and atmosphere of the piece making the drawing feel like an old black and white snapshot.
Mary Heilmann is an abstract painter recognized for her very personal twists on the modernist idiom of color and form. Like Phelan her colors and patterns are not based on theory but drawn from the everyday. Her palette choices are drawn from nature but just as easily can be colors found on advertising billboard or found in the street. Kathryn Lynch too is someone who gets inspiration from the street. Her works on paper and prints are filled with images of city buildings, river tug boats and pet dogs. She paints and depicts her surroundings which in the winter means the city and in the summer the country. Here is a panorama of a local dog park filled with pet owners and their dogs laid out like a screen in seven sections. Jane Rosen’s rural studio is inhabited by animals both domestic and wild. Her subject matter are those creatures that become part of her daily routine, horses, crows and of course her dogs Finally Alice Aycock recent public sculptures exploring the dynamics and physics of movement and have led her to explore the same process on paper, translating the three dimensional parts of her twisting and turning sculptures into equally energized large scale prints.
The next group of artists also play with the traditional notion of works on paper, whether it is the traditional use of watercolor on paper, oil on paper or mixed media on paper. Each uses his medium in a way best suited to his thinking; layers of watercolor for Burton; rich brushstrokes of oil for Holliday and dense forms in graphite and charcoal for Petersen. As if planning a free standing structure Richmond Burton first lays out underlying structure around which and upon which he builds and expands on patterns, repetitive forms and the nature of color harmonies. Frank Holliday presents a group of four works on paper. Holliday is enamored by nature and he explores light and how it exists within varying atmospheres invented clouds, sky, oceans and seas colored by sun through intricate layers of paint. Mark Petersen’s approach is to create a single work from multiple sheets of paper. Color is restricted to blacks and browns, strongly graphic, like visual haiku. For Mach the paper is board and the process is collage, hundreds of bits of visual information culled from newspapers, advertising and magazines that are ingeniously pieced together to create large scale tableaux narratives. Here two from a great series called Precious Light that retell stories from both the Old and New Testament using 21st century imagery.