Emerging Artists | Jeffrey Beauchamp

Stories to relate to

Jeffrey Beauchamp, Woody Romp, oil, 36 x 48.

Jeffrey Beauchamp, Woody Romp, oil, 36 x 48.

This story was featured in the March 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  March 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

Well-versed in art history, Jeffrey Beauchamp will happily and eloquently expound on his diverse artistic influences, from painters like Diego Velázquez, Peter Paul Rubens, and Paul Gauguin, to the Renaissance, Baroque, and Rococo periods and beyond. Painting a variety of subject matter is the Northern California painter’s “modus operandi,” he says, and he tries not to “segregate the languages” of style and genre in his work. “It’s a way of telling a story. Each one is the grammar, not the content,” he says. “It’s the perennial human experiences that really carry through [in art].”

In Beauchamp’s studio landscape paintings, classic representational scenes are often entangled in painterly, abstracted patterns. Realistically rendered figures might be surrounded by a conceptual background of lively, colorful brushwork. “Even these loosest passages will play the role of some element of a place,” says Beauchamp, “some landscape feature that may be up to the viewer to incorporate logically.”

In his youth, the New Jersey native’s creative interests centered on filmmaking and animation, and for a time he worked in those fields. But he experienced an epiphany, he says, when he came across the light-imbued paintings of William Adolphe Bouguereau, John Singer Sargent, and Jean-Léon Gérôme. The artworks displayed what he now realizes was a “silvery, Vermeer light.” He thought, “I could do that.”

Intending to study the old masters and apply their “lighting secrets” to filmmaking, Beauchamp enrolled at the San Francisco Art Institute in 1987. “But once there,” he says, “the siren song of oil painting captured me completely.” When a fellow art student introduced Beauchamp to painting en plein air, it afforded him an opportunity to explore the land outside San Francisco. “What that gave me was a philosophy that, even in the studio, painting is an exploration,” he says.

The artist, now 52, says he explores different worlds every time he makes a painting. Although his sizeable studio landscape paintings are “completely improvised,” he never excludes the recognizable—a grove of trees, mountains, a girl whirling in a hula hoop. “Pure abstraction offers nothing to hang your hat on,” says Beauchamp, who likes to weave literary and cultural references into the titles of some pieces. “Part of the appeal of any work is its specificity,” he notes, “that which makes it relatable to our own experience in some way.” —Kim Agricola

representation
Pippin Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM; Seager Gray Gallery, Mill Valley, CA.

This story was featured in the March 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  March 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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