Show Preview | Bodine & Tseng

Santa Barbara, CA
Waterhouse Gallery, October 14-December 3

Hsin-Yao Tseng, Dining at Pascucci, Santa Barbara, oil, 16 x 20.

Hsin-Yao Tseng, Dining at Pascucci, Santa Barbara, oil, 16 x 20.

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

Evocative new paintings by George Bodine and Hsin-Yao Tseng grace the walls of Waterhouse Gallery this month in a two-man show that gallery co-owner Diane Waterhouse describes as “a true visual feast.” While their styles are distinctly different, she adds, “both artists paint with rich, powerful emotion.” Narratives surrounding the human figure receive the limelight in the exhibition, which opens on Saturday, October 14, with an artists’ reception at 4 p.m.

Working both in his studio in Newport, KY, and en plein air throughout the United States and Europe, Bodine finds inspiration in a variety of subject matter, but the figure continues to emerge as a leading theme in his oeuvre. Among the 18 new oils he brings to the show—all of which reflect his expressive, painterly style—a majority portray solitary individuals lost in thought. Pondering his latest body of work, Bodine says, “Let’s just say I wanted to capture the moments when we remember, when we hold something dear to us in our memory.” 

The artist almost always has a story in mind about what’s happening in his paintings, he says. When Bodine painted COOL JUNE, for example, a scene of a 19th-century farmhouse and barn in Bucks County, PA, he intended for it to be a pure landscape piece. While painting on location, however, he became acquainted with the owner, who opened up to Bodine about memories of his wife of 50 years. Together, the couple had planted the now thick, tall pine trees bordering the farm. Later, when Bodine returned to the painting in his studio, he added a woman crossing the field. “It completely changed the painting,” he says. “It’s not a painting until there’s a story.”

Like Bodine, Tseng frequently seizes opportunities to include people in his impressionistic interior scenes, landscapes, and cityscapes. In the two dozen new paintings he brings to Waterhouse, the San Francisco artist relates his interactions with friends, fellow artists, and his environment. Several oils feature the workmen around his childhood hometown in Taiwan, to which he periodically returns to visit family. In OLD HOUSE, TAIWAN, Tseng excludes the figure entirely, instead highlighting the weathered stone and traditional Chinese architecture of a vacant home in Taipei. “I loved the textures because they convey time passing by,” he says. “The edges of the walls tell a story—not only that years have passed but that people once lived there. I love the feelings of it.”

In several pieces, Tseng veers away from his usual tonalist palette in an exploration of lighter, brighter colors. In FIRST PUMPKIN PICKING, the artist portrays his childhood friend as she cradles her toddler amid a heap of harvested pumpkins, suffused in warm, autumn sunlight. “I just found the perfect timing with the light hitting them,” says Tseng, who snapped photographs of the scene last fall. “I thought, ‘Wow, this is a painting already.’ I can paint en plein air all day long, but I love the interaction with people, with family, and how they communicate with one another.” —Kim Agricola

contact information
805.962.8885
www.waterhousegallery.com

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

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