Contemporary approaches in SoCal Art using the medium of water color are showcased in Soluble Power on display at the Carnegie Art Museum from June 11- August 20, 2017. It features the art of Gary Brewer of Los Angeles, Gail Faulkner of Ventura, Joanne Julian of Oxnard, Mona Neuhaus of Oxnard, Paul Pitsker of Santa Monica and Doug Shoemaker recently of Palm Springs.
Ground pigment suspended in water is one of the oldest mediums known, waning and rising in popularity with changes is technology over the centuries. California artists excelling in both oil painting and watercolor burst out from 1925-1955 with a new a popular approach for watercolor that was quintessentially Californian and was named The California Style. Gone was the pencil detailed English approach, replaced with using large sheets of paper, sweeping free brush strokes, bold color and strong, quick lines. Although currently more paintings in acrylic and oil seem to be commonly displayed, Southern California artists’ experimentation with watercolor to push it to depict contemporary visions continues unarrested.
Gary Brewer captures the rich universe of complex life forms, sharing how they engage and excite the mind. A self-taught artist, his fascination with the natural world began in the Mojave Desert where he was raised and has gone on to have works in a variety of mediums exhibited in galleries and museums in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Gail Faulkner’s works amazingly convey the richness of old master oil paintings but with the reflections and fresh hues of watercolor. Following a career in the medical field, Faulkner attended the Philadelphia College of Art and the Sanski Art Center in Haddonfield, New Jersey. Among her numerous awards are first place in the 2008 California Gold Coast Watercolor Society.
Decades of drawing, painting and printmaking have provided Joanne Julian a foundation for watercolor works. Presently her methodology for watercolor does not differ from her approaches to other media. Mandatory are paying attention and being in the moment. Also pacing, timing, control or lack of it, and with watercolor, liquidity and the weather play a role in the artist’s outcome.
A traditional landscape painter at heart, Mona Neuhaus paints primarily in the media of soft pastel and in watercolor. The often rugged and wide open scenes of America’s, and especially California’s, country side provide her limitless inspiration. Neuhaus’ works are in the Museum of Ventura County’s “Bank of A. Levy Corporate Collection” and the Collection of Jackson Wheeler (often a lender to the Carnegie Art Museum) as well as in corporate and private collections throughout the United States, Mexico and Japan.
Because the watercolor medium is transparent and its materials vulnerable when being applied, Paul Pitsker has been inspired to use it for transparent, fragile and vulnerable subjects. A key goal for Pitsker is to make paintings that do not look like traditional watercolors by incorporating uncustomary effects like an intense velvety black for backgrounds. Growing up the artist’s family lived in a wildlife sanctuary in New England. At the nearby sanctuary visitor center, Pitsker was allowed to draw by the hour and to photograph the small museum’s mounted bird specimens, laying the rudimentary ground work of his process today. Despite his early art interest, he majored in mathematics at Pomona College in Claremont. Pursuing art seriously after graduation, Pitsker took courses in drawing, watercolor painting, and completed an independent mentor program at Santa Monica College.
Realist painter, Doug Shoemaker, works in his chosen medium of watercolor to explore the richness and complexity of everyday, ordinary objects in our urban and natural
environment. Elements of the built and natural environment, often abandoned or decaying in sunlight and shadow inspire the artist to create meaningful images where the ordinary becomes memorable. Trained as an architect at Lawrence Technological University, Shoemaker advanced his interests in painting and drawing en plein air at the Cranbrook Academy and in intaglio printmaking at the Fort Mason Art Center in San Francisco. In 2015 he was selected as a Joshua Tree National Park Artist-in-Residence affording the opportunity to alter his focus from the urban to the rural environment. His work was a part of the Artists Council Exhibition at the Palm Springs Museum of Art in 2013 and 2014. This summer Shoemaker’s recent paintings will be exhibited at Skidmore Contemporary Art at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica.
Opening Reception: Saturday, June 10, 4 -6 pm$10 / members free
Carnegie Art Museum, 424 South C Street, Oxnard