Saturday, April 20, 2013

Scout Austin and The Rubber Raft

Scout Austin talks about a painting that particularly resonated with her during a recent visit to the Worcester Art MuseumThe Rubber Raft

Fellow encaustic artist Kellie Weeks and I recently wandered around the Worcester Museum of Art and viewed paintings until we could no longer input any more information. During our supervised meandering - guards followed us into every gallery - my attention was captivated by Philip Evergood's painting The Rubber Raft. Philip Evergood was an American painter (1901-1973), who apparently was as well known for his politics as for his painting style. A great supporter of workers' rights, he was not adverse to getting arrested numerous times. I was not familiar with his work or his life.
Philip Evergood's painting The Rubber Raft, collection of the Worcester Art Museum.
The Rubber Raft was first shown in the summer of 1945 and was seen as a footnote to World War II - a fact I did not know when I studied the painting, because, as usual, I did not read the entire blurb next to the painting due to my bias against having a painting explained to me before I make up my own mind about it.
I was first drawn to this painting because of its bright colors. The surrounding paintings were much lower key. In addition, I tend to be drawn to works that have at least some representational content because, for me, they contain stories. (And yes I had recently watched the movie "The Life of Pi" so I had the whole possibly being eaten at sea thing already going on in my brain.) I confess to paying little attention to the unfortunate men in the raft. Rather I was intrigued by the grinning sharks who seem to have gotten into the lipstick my mother wore when I was a child. To me they appear to be smiling and singing - possibly some shark show tune. I may actually have subconsciously ignored the men in the raft at first, because I did not see them until I looked closer at the painting. I am not entirely without sympathy for people who end up in a raft in the middle of the ocean, but the sharks are scene stealers.
The Rubber Raft portrays a human tragedy in bright happy colors. I like that type of contradiction and how it encourages a double take or second look at the image.The colors and dynamic brush strokes drew me in, and once there I was confronted with the darker reality of the situation. It is one technique that gets viewers to look at valuable subject matter they might otherwise choose to ignore. 
-Scout Austin     

And now a bit about Scout-
Scout has had many travelled many paths- photographer, graphic designer, practicing attorney- along her journey to becoming a full-time artist.She now resides in Massachusetts and produces encaustic paintings, artist's books, assemblage boxes, prints and other mixed media work.She is a Core Artist member of Fountain Street FIne Art, and shows her work locally and nationally. Find out more about her and her work at

Friday, April 12, 2013

Richard Kattman talks about Jules Olitski’s “Green Hands”

Jules Olitski’s Green Hands, on view through May 5, 2013 at the Davis Museum, Wellesley MA

As an artist and abstract painter, a Spring journey to the Davis Museum at
Wellesley College to see “April Brief: Notes from the Color Field” afforded no
less than Enlightenment.

Green Hands, the dominant artwork in the exhibit, by Russian born artist
Jules Olitski, is an astonishing, ebullient, immense, elegant, surprisingly simple,
and complex canvas. Daringly beautiful, overwhelming, psychological,
searching, and masterfully composed, it is painting of the highest physical
objectness, and intellectual order.

Created in 1969 (Vietnam, Woodstock, The Godfather, Chappaquidick,
Waiting for Godot), the painting is representative of Color Field’s most
advanced abstraction practiced by Helen Frankenthaler, Jack Bush, Mark
Rothko, and Barnett Newman.

Rafael Mineo, Architect of the Davis Museum, stated in 1993: “Therefore, I
very much wanted the Museum to be understood as a treasury, a treasury that
speaks about the lives of the people who received their education here”. 

To arrive at Olitski’s Green Hands requires endurance, wonder, and an ever
upward spiritual climb through the “Treasury” to end in a vast, white, skylight
flooded room at the upper recesses of a magic place, situated above the campus
treetops, viewing a serene lake, with Gothic architecture and wilderness

Green Hands is a grandiose work by any sense of the imagination, by sheer
scale alone, as a golden ratio 2:1 canvas measuring nine feet high and seventeen
feet long. Upon arrival, a sense of presence of the artist and the work is
immediate and all consuming.

But the Colors! The colors are opulent, staggering to the senses, full, rich,
exotic, lush, radiant, glowing, layered, and constantly shifting, evaporating, ever
changing. A grand green-yellow field fills the center and explodes outward to
the distant edges, modulated there by softened pale cobalt blues and violets at
opposite corners, up and down, all dissolving before the eye. The central marks
of spray reveal a dense overall pattern of lovely saturated permanent greens
underlain with riotous cadmium yellow. The right hand end moderates to sea
green and viridian as the natural light bounces red violet on the adjacent white

The field is endless yet self-contained, demanding meditation, heightened visual
awareness, quietness and peace.

It is difficult to imagine controlling the execution of the work for its airport
hangar dimensions. Green Hands must have been painted on the floor but is
viewed on the wall! Is this Spring green or grass green? But no, this is paint! A
Painter’s Paint and nothing more than Paint Paint Paint! Harmony and balance
are ever present. Stability challenges the senses.

Stepping back to take in the entire composition, the field is discovered to be
subtly enclosed at the edges by hand drawn, meandering, painted thin blue,
umber, and violet lines. A burst of raw sienna as perhaps Sun occurs in the
upper left solar system. The trails define the boundaries and bounce the
composition back to its origins the center, in a constantly moving, back and
forth, round and round, spiraling adventure. “Green Hands” glows from within
from great depths on a flat surface.

“What does it mean”, you ask? The answer lies in the Art.
Jules Olitski is a modernist artist with classical training, practicing in the
Renaissance tradition, applying twenty-first century ideas to the age- old
traditions of painting. 

Surface, depth, edge, drawing, color, idea, Paint.

-Richard Kattman

And now a bit about Richard Kattman-

An award-winning artist, landscape architect, and photographer from Holliston, Richard bases his abstract acrylic paintings on landscape and the intuitive, emotive mind. Along with brilliant color, the sheer size of his paintings (many are over 6 ft. wide) is impressive. See more of Richard's work at 

Richard Kattman's exhibit, Painted Abstracts, at Fountain Street Fine Art, Framingham MA, in March, 2013

Saturday, April 6, 2013

It's all in the Details

The three artists whose work is featured in Sight Lines, our current exhibit

-Roy Perkinson, Andrew Haines, and Greg Heins-

have been characterized as “poets of the commonplace.” The artists, each in their own way, transform the mundane details of everyday life.

Roy Perkinson, Moon, Farm Pond, oil on canvas

Take Roy Perkinson's 'Moon, Farm Pond', for example. The painting captures that moment just after sunset, on an evening where low clouds blur the moon. But the quiet reverie is punctuated by street lights in the distance, a reminder of the bustle and noise not far away.
The juxtaposition of the graphic elements in of Greg Heins' Dior at Nanterre are central to this photograph. But the subtler details, the way the patterns in the angles of the streetlights and circles of the signs repeat are what make the photograph work on many levels. 
Greg Heins, Dior at Nanterre, photograph

The bird's eye vantage point of Andrew Hains' Old State House,  draws the eye into the heart of the drawing. But it's the tiny world he creates down there that holds your attention.

Andrew Haines,  Old State House, drawing.
By focusing on those seemingly unimportant details, the artists call our attention to things most people would pass by without a second glance  and celebrate the way the ordinary  can be evocative and beautiful.

Please join us for an artist talk for 
Sight Lines,
Sunday April 14 at 3 pm, 
and see for yourself-
up close, and personal.