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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Group Gesture

Young Warriors   watercolor   12.5 x 17.5
It seems to take me a while to process large groups of art seen at exhibitions and critiques. Within days, however, those works that really touch me seem to float to my surface consciousness. There is an artist at "The View From Here" at Second April Galerie in Canton whose work has nipped my artistic aesthetic in a big way. I can't remember his name but all of his 5 or 6 paintings involved group gesture.....he is a very astute man. Using color and gestural groupings of figures, as well as the negative areas between them, he has so accurately described many social moments. One is called "Awkward Moment" and other something like "Just Arrived" (before the party begins). As a person who struggles with social engagements, I found these works to be all-powerful and all-telling with a minimum of description. Bravo! None of these figures has faces or distracting detail. The evolution is complete. We must learn that in the telling of the story of a figure, the face is secondary. When we tell the story of a group of people, facial detailing and other details simply must go. There is a limited amount of power innate in a picture....and that power is divided between all of the elements in the work. We, as artists, struggle to eliminate the non-essential in order to place the power where we want it. "Young Warriors" is my earlier attempt at a group gesture and was done before my work incorporated this important notion. It is in the collection of The State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio.