RS Hanna Gallery, November 2-December 19
This story was featured in the December 2015 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art December 2015 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story
Gallery owner Shannon Hanna has built a seasonal show around the humble yet intriguing square. Although some shows during this season are made up of square miniatures, Hanna cast the net a little bit wider, allowing the 20 gallery artists who are participating to submit works of any size, as long as they are square in shape. “Squares just draw your eye to the wall. I personally love the shape,” she says.
The show, which is titled Art Squared: It’s Hip to be Square, includes some 50 works and features two receptions. They coincide with Fredericksburg’s First Friday Art Walks on November 6 and December 4, both from 6 to 9 p.m. Among the participating artists are Elizabeth Pollie, Bryce Cameron Liston, Lindsey Bittner Graham, Dan Beck, and Peter Fiore, each of whom contributes up to five pieces for the show.
Fiore says he’s long been attracted to painting square shapes—perhaps, he observes, a remnant of his days as an illustrator 40 years ago creating album covers for record labels. The shape presents special design challenges, he says. “It’s a stable shape. There’s no feeling of power, as you’d get from a vertical, or tranquility, as with a horizontal. So the way you design in the piece creates the energy. You create the dynamic movement,” he says.
Fiore draws upon familiar subject matter near his Pennsylvania home for his pieces in this show, depicting serene lakes with light dancing on the water, open fields, and winter motifs with trees illuminated in alpenglow—an orange tangle of branches against a cobalt stream, for example. “My true subjects are light, color, and air. My approach has always been about light and the emotion it evokes,” Fiore says.
Dan Beck, who’s based in North Carolina, echoes Fiore’s sentiments about the solidity of the square shape. “It’s fun to be stretching from the standard sizes into the square and pushing ideas around in design. You have to break down the square into uneven shapes,” he says.
His five show submissions capture mostly outdoor settings; four have figures placed in an environment, and one is pure landscape. This body of work reflects Beck’s recent explorations of color harmonies, bringing a greater awareness to warm and cool tones. Those experiments—and the challenge of making form and depth successful in different color systems—have resulted in some different approaches to brushwork. “Some of my work is the loosest it’s ever been. Others are more realistic than I’ve ever done,” he says. The experiments have also unlocked his process. “Color is the heart of the whole thing. I saw things happen at a different rate, saw things on the canvas that previously I wouldn’t get to until later in the process. Some of my work is looser, some of it tighter. I should have done this a long time ago. This has been a really fun year,” he observes.
Hanna is looking forward to a successful show to close out the year. “I’m always thrilled with the gallery artists and the work they submit,” she says. Be there and be square. —Ashley M. Biggers
Featured in the December 2015 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
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