Editor's note: The Flint Institute of Arts provided source material to Resource Library for the following article. If you have questions or comments regarding the source material please contact the Flint Institute of Arts directly through either this phone number or web address:



 

Moving Toward the Light

June 18, 2016 - September 18, 2016

 

(above: Joseph Raffael American b. 1933, Inauguration, Watercolor on paper, 2009, 60 x 87 x inches. Courtesy of Nancy Hoffman Gallery, New York, NY)

 

Moving Toward the Light, which includes 11 large-scale paintings by Joseph Raffael, is on display at the Flint Institute of Arts from June 18 through September 18, 2016. According to the Institute, Raffael's "large-scale works typically depict flowers, water, and fish swimming in ornamental ponds. . . In Moving Toward the Light, Raffael's watercolors invite the viewer into moments of discovery, though a contemplation of nature and harmony."

 

Introductory wall text for the exhibition

Known for his monumental paintings celebrating flora and fauna, Joseph Raffael's work in this exhibition takes the viewer deeper and deeper into the mysteries of nature.
 
He captures the wonders that surround him at his home and garden in France, transforming what he sees into a heightened vision in watercolor.
Raffael begins by photographing plants, flowers, rocks, and shells that will become the subjects of his large-scale paintings. He projects the photographs onto a large piece of paper and traces each form to create a "map" for his brushstrokes. Since paper is large and cumbersome Raffael rolls it up before he begins painting. As he paints he exposes only the amount of paper he plans to cover in one day. This method does not afford him the luxury of seeing the overall composition until the very end but he believes it allows him to be more creative. He sees himself almost as an abstract painter saying, "I don't paint flowers; I paint energy."
 
Growing up in Brooklyn, Raffael helped his mother with the fruits, vegetables, and flowers in her garden, where he came to regard the changing of seasons as a form of magic: "Seeing blossoms come alive is the same as watching a painting come forth out of the white space of a page or a canvas. The garden is another example of how one begins with nothing but seeds and the brown-colored space of the earth from which, little by little, the garden emerges."

 

Checklist for the exhibition

Joseph Raffael American b. 1933 Wayfarer
Watercolor on paper, 2011, 43 1/4 x 55 1/4 x inches
Courtesy of Nancy Hoffman Gallery, New York, NY
 
Joseph Raffael American b. 1933 New Cycle
Watercolor on paper, 2009,10 73 1/2 x 89 x inches
Courtesy of Nancy Hoffman Gallery, New York, NY
 
Joseph Raffael American b. 1933 Orchids Dream
Watercolor on paper, 2013, 55 x 78 x inches
Courtesy of Nancy Hoffman Gallery, New York, NY
 
Joseph Raffael American b. 1933 Crescendo
Watercolor on paper, 2013, 53 1/2 x 75 1/2 x inches
Courtesy of Nancy Hoffman Gallery, New York, NY
 
Joseph Raffael American b. 1933 Inauguration
Watercolor on paper, 2009, 60 x 87 x inches
Courtesy of Nancy Hoffman Gallery, New York, NY
 
Joseph Raffael American b. 1933 Solstice
Watercolor, 2008, 59 x 86 1/2 x inches
Courtesy of Nancy Hoffman Gallery, New York, NY
 
Joseph Raffael American b. 1933 The Dance
Watercolor, 2011, 54 1/4 x 68 1/8 x inches
Courtesy of Nancy Hoffman Gallery, New York, NY
 
Joseph Raffael American b. 1933 Repose
Watercolor on paper, 2012, 53 x 63 1/2 x inches
Courtesy of Nancy Hoffman Gallery, New York, NY
 
Joseph Raffael American b. 1933 November
Watercolor, 2009, 51 1/4 x 41 1/4 x inches
Courtesy of Nancy Hoffman Gallery, New York, NY
 
Joseph Raffael American b. 1933 Swirling Fish
Watercolor, 2013, 51 1/2 x 76 x inches
Courtesy of Nancy Hoffman Gallery, New York, NY
 
Joseph Raffael American b. 1933 No Beginning No End
Watercolor, 2014, 50 x 50 x inches
Courtesy of Nancy Hoffman Gallery, New York, NY
 

To view an illustrated checklist, please click here.

 

(above: Joseph Raffael American b. 1933, Crescendo, Watercolor on paper, 2013, 53 1/2 x 75 1/2 x inches. Courtesy of Nancy Hoffman Gallery, New York, NY)

 

(above: Joseph Raffael American b. 1933, Orchids Dream, Watercolor on paper, 2013, 55 x 78 x inches. Courtesy of Nancy Hoffman Gallery, New York, NY)

 

(above: Joseph Raffael American b. 1933, New Cycle, Watercolor on paper, 2009, 10 73 1/2 x 89 x inches. Courtesy of Nancy Hoffman Gallery, New York, NY)

 

Resource Library editor's notes:

Readers may also enjoy:

For definitions of checklists and wall panel texts, please see Definitions in Museums Explained.

Read more information, articles and essays concerning this institutional source by visiting the sub-index page for the Flint Institute of Arts in Resource Library.


Search Resource Library for thousands of articles and essays on American art.

Copyright 2016 Traditional Fine Arts Organization, Inc., an Arizona nonprofit corporation. All rights reserved.