James J. Rieser Fine Art, April 18-May 31
This story was featured in the May 2015 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art May 2015 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!
Gloucester, MA, is a picturesque coastal town known for its fishing industry and its legendary appeal to artists dating back to the early 19th century. Painters such as Childe Hassam, Wins-low Homer, and John Henry Twachtman all came to Gloucester to capture the town’s atmospheric waterfront. Today painter Charles Movalli, who grew up in Gloucester and still lives there, carries on the tradition. This month James J. Rieser Gallery features 27 new works by Movalli. The artist’s marine paintings depict skiffs, shorelines, and the high seas—works that feature alluring color harmonies that come together to create a loose, expressive style. Movalli’s new works include scenes portraying the drama of far-flung ports of call, such as Italy’s Amalfi Coast, as well as ones closer to home, including Maine’s Atlantic coast.
In VILLEFRANCHE, inspired by a recent trip to the French seaside town, the artist displays his signature style that features patches of color and shapes. “It’s not the color; it’s the composition and values that count,” Movalli says. “I don’t like a lot of stuff in my paintings. It’s just like writing a poem or essay. I try to boil it down into the simplest statement possible without a lot of detail. I’m not interested in paint peeling on walls or painting blades of grass.”
Movalli met painter Emile Gruppe early in his fine-art career and cites the artist as an important influence on his work. Gruppe also lived in Gloucester and frequently painted the town’s harbor area. Eventually Movalli began painting with him and co-authored a book with him about expressive brushwork.
James J. Rieser, owner of the gallery, has represented Movalli for 15 years and considers him a modern-day master of “energetic painting” reminiscent of early California artist Armin Hansen. “What separates Movalli’s work from most of the art I see is its simplicity. If an artist has good drawing skills, painting realism isn’t that hard,” Rieser says. “But to reduce a subject to its minimum—as Movalli is able to do—takes a special talent. To paint large canvases in his studio and keep them as fresh as his best plein-air work takes years of painting experience and a special gift.” —Bonnie Gangelhoff
Featured in the May 2015 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art May 2015 print issue or digital download Or subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!
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