Santa Fe, NM, July 6-20
This story was featured in the July 2012 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Order the Southwest Art magazine July 2012 print edition here, or purchase the Southwest Art magazine July 2012 digital download here. Or simply click here to subscribe to Southwest Art magazine and never miss a story!
At age 19, artist Joshua Franco freelanced for Binney & Smith (makers of Crayola crayons and Liquitex acrylic paints) and then spent five years developing and producing promotional art products for marketing and display. “I can probably say that I applied every single color of paint that Liquitex had to offer to some kind of a surface,” says Franco. Then he moved to New Mexico, where he began painting every day and focused on being a fine artist.
Franco and three other artists present five to 10 new works each in The Saturation of Color, this month’s show at Giacobbe-Fritz Fine Art, which runs July 6-20 and opens with an artists’ reception on July 6 from 5 to 7 p.m. “We chose four artists we thought used color effectively but all very differently,” says gallery director Palin Wiltshire of the show.
Franco paints enigmatic images in acrylics on panels. “My style has a certain surreal/magic realism quality to it,” he says. His new works continue his Skeleton series, which was previously “a symbol for me of hope. The new ones are about the little things in life that are a true enjoyment for me and were inspired by Charles Schulz’s Peanuts: ‘Love is Walking Hand in Hand,’” he says.
Formally trained in Florence, Italy, and New York City, Britt Freda recently moved from Seattle to idyllic Vashon Island in Puget Sound. “A lot of her work is about how we mess with nature and the consequences of that,” says Wiltshire. Her subjects include butterflies, bees, birds, elephants, and natural objects. She also incorporates cutout letters from seed catalogues and other publications into her acrylic, graphite, and metallic paintings with their layered, etched, and scratched surfaces. “I like to compare her to a contemporary Klimt,” Wiltshire adds.
Freda explores “the ephemeral, illusive quality of things that stir the human soul. This work most resembles the body of work I did a few years ago in which the subjects ‘dis-solved,’” she says. “In life and in painting, I repeatedly come back to the idea that the spaces between the lines (or subjects) are where the most important stuff exists. I have not been particularly drawn to bold, bright colors. My palette for this show is more about color theory—the potential for the colors to evoke feelings.”
Taos artist Mark Gould works in acrylic on panel and presents pieces from three separate series: My Neighbor’s House (“my earliest subject, the landscape I live/lived in as I interpret it”), Arcadian (“transitions into more personal views of a pure landscape”), and Tempus (“attempts to deal even more with my own abstracted view of our existence by using transient atmosphere, light, and those ethereal moments found in all our daily lives,” he says). “Color is perhaps the most powerful tool a painter can wield,” adds Gould, whose palette pops with almost DayGlo hues. “He’s a great colorist and wildly popular,” says Wiltshire. His subjects include landscapes, still lifes, and “mindscapes.” He describes his style as “somewhere in between semiabstract, neo-Fauvism, and abstract mixed-media painted assemblages.”
“People refer to my style as innocent realism,” says Wendeline Matson, a Tulsa artist who works in acrylic on canvas. “But I consider myself a landscape and still-life painter.” Says Wiltshire, “Wendy grew up in Texas. She’s very nostalgic about her youth. Her work is very whimsical, positive, and childlike.”
“A couple of years ago I started incorporating small creatures into my still- life and bicycle paintings. In this show animals take on a much stronger role as subject. I am focusing on bunnies now because they are intriguing mammals with long ears, and I like their shape,” says Matson. “I love to explore milky pastels and saturated colors together. I’ve been painting and creating as a professional artist for 13 years. After graduating from the University of Arkansas in 1999, I chose to make my art my career.”
“This is a really interesting show because it’s really eclectic,” Wiltshire concludes. “It’s reflective of our gallery, which is also eclectic. People who visit say everything is so different, but it all works together—and they like that about our gallery.” —Reed Glenn
Featured in the July 2012 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
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