Saturday, February 03, 2007

Winter Exhibition

While Steve and I were in DC the annual "Winter Exhibition" featuring Stephen Chesley (my mentor!), Mike Williams, Ed Wimberly, and David Yaghjian opened in the gallery just outside my studio door. I look forward to this show every year. These four are about the "best" in the area. What do I mean by that? Well, they are SERIOUS artists, full time and mostly self-supporting. Their work attitude, approach, and reflecting resumes are to be admired and emulated. I cannot say enough about Stephen Chesley's work. It is simply wonderful. His generousity to other artists is almost as famous as are his oils and pastels. Mike Williams, the youngest, has been "hot" ever since he graduated from USC only about a decade ago. I've liked earlier work far better than most of the pieces in this show. For me, his more minimal approach killed the energy, atmosphere, and movement I so admired in his swamp and fish imagery. It is David Yaghjian's work, however, that steals my breathe. Steve and I purchased one of his oils (in the most gorgeous handmade silver-gilded frame) three years ago for Steve's 50th birthday. It pictures a quiet seaside dune with the most serene blue sky above. David's work now, however, has moved into a figurative cycle. Most of the men look like David but are clearly meant to be "Everyman". Each picture shows the amazement I often see looking back at me from the mirror: shock at my own aging and stunned at the world around me. I particularly like the man riding a unicycle while trying to hold a rattle snake and the man diving off a board into a pail of water. There is comic, innocence, and life in each painting. The show is up for about four more days!

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