This story was featured in the October 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art October 2013 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!
The word “reflection” can suggest contemplation, remembrance, or the reflective qualities of light. In Daniel Gerhartz’s newest paintings, featured in a solo show that opens October 1 at InSight Gallery in Fredericksburg, TX, each of these concepts is woven into multiple layers of meaning and association in the artist’s thoughtful, expressive approach. The show entitled Reflections: The Art of Daniel Gerhartz includes an artist’s reception on October 4 from 6 to 8 p.m. and runs through October 21.
Gerhartz, who has earned major awards at such venues as the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum’s Prix de West and the Oil Painters of America National Juried Exhibition, is known for capturing the incandescence of female beauty and the innocence of childhood. Among this show’s dozen or so paintings, he also masterfully renders pastoral landscapes illuminated by softly romantic or dazzling light. RUNNING THROUGH, for example, depicts a river on a winter evening, highlighted by brilliant watery ribbons of silver and gold. GRACE AND LIGHT, on the other hand, focuses on what the artist describes as a “creamy sense of light” through translucent curtains and the flowing lines and soft folds of a young woman’s gown.
“As I evolve as an artist, I’m interested in capturing an enhanced sense of light,” Gerhartz notes, speaking from his Wisconsin home. “What always draws me to a work of art is a depiction of light that sends all the other senses and emotional longings stirring. All great art does that: It gives us tangible feelings and thoughts that sometimes can’t be put into words or organized in our minds in any other way.” In ALL THINGS NEW, a feeling of sparkling freshness reflects both the rebirth of spring and the charm of two young girls as they sit side by side on the branch of a blossoming tree. For Gerhartz, the title also suggests the promise made by Jesus in the Bible: I will make all things new. “As we get older,” the 48-year-old painter observes with a smile, “that’s good news.”
While collectors will find all that they have come to expect in Gerhartz’s art, a few paintings in particular also move his body of work forward by focusing even more intentionally on elements of visual rhythm and strong design. The artist reaches back to the inspiration of Art Nouveau painter Alphonse Mucha and other turn-of-the-20th-century illustrators in such works as WRAPPED IN WINTER. In this portrait of a young caped woman and her horse, the snowy background is expressed in soft focus to accentuate the foreground with touches of vivid color and strong, bold forms.
Light and lightness take on yet another layer of meaning in THE TOYMAKER, whose elderly subject—a friend of the artist’s late father—shines with a playful spirit and whimsical cheerfulness. “In every one of these pieces, no matter the subject,” Gerhartz says, “I’m looking for those connecting points that stir my soul.” InSight Gallery co-owner Meredith Plesko believes he achieves that goal. As she puts it: “Expect a stunning body of work at this highly anticipated one-man show.” —Gussie Fauntleroy
Featured in the October 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art October 2013 print issue or digital download
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