Sunday, February 2, 2014

Every Picture Tells a Story, Don't It?

Juror Carl Samson in the midst of it
Did you get the Rod Stewart reference?  If you didn't, you were probably wondering what had happened to my grammar skills!   As I have been enjoying the works in the National Art Exhibition, I've realized that there is in fact a story behind every single painting in the show.  For some works, it might be a reminiscence of a favorite place or the mood of the artist at the time the painting was done.  For other works, though, a quite explicit story is being told. 

Ron Sanders' "Book and Cover"
Ron Sanders is one of the Visual Arts Center's many talented instructors. So it wasn't too hard to catch up with him to find out what story his work "Book and Cover" tells.

Sanders is currently working on a series of paintings entitled "Artists and Their Art."   Sanders says that he is enjoying creating the series because it enables him to work conceptually and figuratively at the same time.  The series is all about contrasts, with the contrast in "Book and Cover" being between the highly contemporary looking artist and both the traditional forms of art from which she takes her inspiration and her own painting style.  As you look around the room, you see portraits of Poussin, Velazquez, and Sargent.  There is a landscape done by a Hudson River school artist.  And there are numerous studies in human anatomy, a must for any figurative artist.

The books at the artist's feet are traditional academic books, including Victorian era drawing books and R.H. Ives Gammell's "Twilight of Painting."  (In an odd coincidence, Gammell was juror Carl Samson's instructor, and the title of Samson's own series of works--"Twilight in the Battle of Painting"--is a tip of his hat to that book.  Sanders had completed this work well before he knew that Samson would be the juror for the show.)  

Sanders works from life, and he found the models pictured in this work on a website called Model Mayhem.  The artist has bright pink bangs in real life, but Sanders felt that would be a bit too much for this work.  (He did a break-out painting of the model's face, including her "real" hair color, that sold for $7,000 to a California collector.)    The tattoos are not the model's own.  Sanders was at Disney with his kids, and a young woman's tattooed arm caught his attention.  She permitted him to photograph her tats, and they are shown here.  (As a rule, Sanders is quite faithful in his replication and "confessed" that the tattoos actually were on the woman's right arm.)  On a painting note, Sanders pointed out how the values in the work are arranged so that the viewer's eye is led to the artist as the focal point. 

Ron Sanders'"Descending Grace"
The model for the painting within the painting inspired a second break-out work in the show entitled "Descending Grace."  The staircase that is pictured in both works belongs to someone Sanders knows, so again it was taken from real life.

To see more of Ron's work, including the close-up of the model in "Book and Cover" and other works from the Artists and Their Art series, click here.  (You might recognize Ron's fabulous work entitled "Mirror, Mirror" that was displayed in last year's National Faces and Figures show at the VAC.)  You will also find a list of prizes bestowed upon Ron's work, including the People's Choice Award in the 23rd Annual 2013 NOAPS 'Best of America' Exhibition for "Book and Cover."  

"Book and Cover" is just one of the 128 works on display at the VAC during the 2014 National Art Exhibition.  Admission to the VAC is always free.  Don't miss the opportunity to come and see some great art!  

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