Fluid Fields

Exhibition Dates: February 26, 2007 - March 23, 2007

Reception: Thursday, March 1, 6 - 8 pm

 Jan Aronson

Jan Aronson

 Alison Cattan

Alison Cattan

The Painting Center is pleased to present Fluid Fields, an exhibit curated by Susan Shatter. Susan Shatter is a well-known painter who has continually pushed the scale of her landscape watercolors to the level of oil painting. As a teacher she encourages her students to have higher ambitions for the medium and engage with its sensual, fluid aspects. She currently serves as 32nd President of the National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts and is represented by DFN Gallery in New York City.

Fluid Fields features 30 contemporary artists that engage the fluid, organic quality of the watercolor medium. The exhibit is an attempt to show how varied and experimental this medium can be. From Ray Kass’ aluminum watercolor trays to Bernard Chaet’s and Raoul Middleman’s explosive plein-air landscapes to the small gems of Don Holden’s and Jacqueline Gourevitch’s delicate washes of night scenes, and the abstracted loopy lines of Melissa Meyer and color fields of Ronnie Landfield, this medium is truly magical.

Watercolor is a unique combination of spontaneity and control. On the one hand you can work “au premier coup’ in a single fast-paced attack executing the painting all at once, summarizing the essentials of your subject through contrasts of light and dark, bold brush strokes, delicate bleeds and sharp edges or line and retain the paper surface for the lights. Or you can slowly build up layers of color that radiate light as the pigment meshes with the paper. Further control can be achieved through a variety of subtractive techniques such as masking out the white of the paper, scraping, sponging, blotting rewetting and lifting. Choice of paper is personal and one can experiment with surfaces and sizes other than standard watercolor paper.

Transparency and opacity evolve from the pigment-water ratio. Until you master this, the hazards of buckling paper, drying times, watermarks and muddy washes, the medium can be frustrating. It demands a faster lighter touch. Single wet brush strokes or dry brush on textured paper provide an abstract language for descriptive details. The excitement of watching watercolor bleed into the paper or into other colors remains full of potential. Artists include: Jan Aronson, Becky Brown, Alison Cattan, Kathy Crawley, Susanna Coffey, Eleanor Cogbill, David Dewey, Lois Dodd, Joan Dickson, Janet Fish, John Goodrich, Jacqueline Gourevitch, Kathy Hanson, Don Holden, Ray Kass, Peggy Kennedy, Ronnie Landfield, Ro Lohin, Melissa Meyer, Steve Manolis, Raoul Middleman, Graham Nickson, Elizabeth O’Reilly, Charles Parness, Margaret Richards, Reeve Schley, Harriet Shorr, Cynthia Sobel, Kamilla Talbot, Tina Tuttman, and Kevin Wixted.