Noyes Museum of Art
Ambience and Energy: Expressionist Painters Give Life to Inanimate Spaces
October 17 to December 26, 1999
Expressionism is an art form in which the emotional content of the piece takes precedence over the form. It is a subjective view of the world that stresses the artist's emotional attitude toward himself and the world. Forms are often simplified or flattened and color is used in a way that abandons the semblance of realism.
A distinctive trait of the expressionists is to emphasize color over line. Common elements found in the works of many of these painters are dramatic contrasting colors and the breaking up of forms. The works are emotional and powerful, created from the depths of the artist's soul and transformed into something visible. (left: Jeff Epstein, Night School No. 19, 1997, oil on canvas, 36 x 30 inches, Courtesy of the artist)
Seven artists following this expressionist style are currently on exhibit. Using bold colors and painterly squiggles, Adele Alsop takes us away from visual reality and into her own emotional landscapes filled with abstract clouds and flowers dappled in sunlight. Martha Armstrong, through light and color, creates a world filled with bright spaces and origami shapes. David Brewster expressively depicts his search of man's relationship to nature in his paintings of dark mysterious interiors and abandoned farmhouses set against the natural beauty of a landscape. Using intense color variations, William Smith expresses a personal sense of isolation by painting images of nature that are both beautiful and melancholy. Carlton Fletcher reveals his own philosophy of art in an effort to create an "ideal" environment in his painterly Arcadian landscapes. Using distorted forms and intense colors, Paul Weingarten captures the spontaneity of a moment into a carefully composed landscape by working on location, filling his works with energy and passion. Jeff Epstein, in his loose expressive style, prefers painting nighttime scenes when the deep shadows take on strangeness of form that is extremely geometric. (right: Carlton Fletcher, Bradford Marsh #2, 1997, oil on panel, 6 x 14 inches, Courtesy of Jane Haslem Gallery, D.C.)
Expressionism creates a world that is a defiant rejection of our own visual reality. Surface reality is transformed and distorted from the world as it appears to the eye. Nature is no longer depicted as it is, but rather as the artist "saw" it. The uses of forms from the outside world become vehicles for the artist's inner world. (left: Adele Alsop, Juniper Moon, 1998, oil on canvas, 36 x 44 inches, Courtesy of Schmidt Bingham Gallery, New York)
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