We’re both in a show opening this month at the Rob Schouten Gallery This show has been a real pleasure to get ready for. The big reason for that is that we have had almost a full year to paint and prepare. The result is a show titled “Go Figure”, and it is I think our best one to date.
I started off by doing a painting of a print I had done last year. The print had been a popular one and it was a easy decision to enlarge it to painting. Then I started working on a series of figures; all women, all participating in various activities-- playing sports, playing music, horseback riding. I’ve always been drawn to figures and saw this as a great chance to just concentrate on the figure. Also, my schooling had centered around representing the figure. All my art heroes have been figurative painters at one time or another. Some, like Richard Deabenkorn had moved from figures to an abstracted landscape. That’s my kind of artist. So, some of my paintings end up as landscapes with figures: hence dancers on the plains.
I joke that some of my paintings were landscapes in search of figures, eg.The Chair with the Phone and Rosemary. I really liked this one, especially the time element, essentially the fourth dimension introduced.
Buffy had started out with a very detailed portrait of a friend with a very detailed story of multiple countries, situations and clothes.
“A Girls First Ax” came from an old newspaper photo attached to a story of a local woman who had saved up to buy a mandolin
In all these cases, both Buffy and I were collecting stories or making up stories to fill in a narrative of the people we know or might want to know. Some come from the places we’ve been such as “Oaxacan Day Dream” and still, most of them revolving around the figure. We didn’t set out to both concentrate on figures but with studios right next to each other it’s no surprise that it happened.
Here’s the statement as we wrote it for the show:
Well nigh forty years ago, as we set out on our life’s journey, we shared a common hero in Dick Deibenkorn. As, it seemed to us, he transitioned from the figure to a brand new aproach to landscape, his understanding of the relationship between the form and the environment was the key to bringing the subject to life. This understanding of the relationship of form to environment, the juxtaposition of active and static to create a balanced dynamic is at the heart of the work in this show.
Bruce says: “Most of these paintings are figures seen in landscapes or environments. However, there are a couple of paintings that you could say were landscapes looking for figures.”