Featured Artists

August 2018

Dick Whitson

Artist Statement

“As a freshman art student at Carnegie Tech (70 short years ago), I began to discover the world of painters. Among those completely fascinating and new to me were Charles Sheeler, Lyonel Feininger and Robert Gwathmey. Their visions and styles crept not so subtly into my paintings for a while but the sense of design and composition I “borrowed” from them stayed pretty well etched into my “style”. As I began thinking about this exhibit, I decided on a series of paintings based on vintage photos of musicians which I had been saving for quite a long time and I also decided to refreshed my memories of my early influences. For the past several months I have been on a wonderfully nostalgic ride, deliberately incorporating some, this time, much more subtle touches of those three old heroes. I hope you enjoy these paintings…I had thoroughly fine time making them.”

Biography

An Ohio native, he moved to Lancaster in 1962 to work for Armstrong World Industries as a graphic designer.  He earned his bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) in 1952.  Since then he has worked as an illustrator / art director and graphic designer for General Electric Company, design studios in Philadelphia (including his own) and for Armstrong until retiring in 1995. For nearly three decades he relaxed away from the business world designing and painting stage settings of about 50 theatrical productions for The Actors’ Company of Pennsylvania, The Fulton Opera House and The Ephrata Playhouse.

 

James Maria

Artist Statement

Una Prospettiva Straniera  (A foreign perspective)

While over the course of my painting career, I’ve dealt almost exclusively with the subject of urban decay; recent trips to Italy have reignited a dormant but long-standing passion for ta historically and culturally rich subject. During these sojourns, I produced a digital mountain of photographs documenting the architecture and ancient aura of the Italian landscape.

During the earliest stages of a painting or drawing, I make important editorial decisions about including and excluding elements that are present in the original reference. Despite being little more than an American tourist visiting family, I found it increasingly difficult to appeal to the stereotypical tableau’s.  I was suddenly aware that an unchecked inclination towards an almost orientalist reduction of the subject allowed a living, breathing family’s home to be turned into a film set-a façade. The Italy that was merely charmingly indistinguishable from the Italy of the Renaissance lacked the complexity that I’ve striven for in my other work. With care to avoid producing a flat body of paintings in danger of being criticized as the “olive garden” of watercolors, I fought the inclination to edit out all of the trappings of modernity in my references.

I made a decision to reject the romantic and instead, honestly embrace the Italy that I captured with my camera-a panorama of power lines and propane tanks, of satellite dishes and security cameras-a complex country not unlike our own. Italy is a place to be loved for what it is and I hope to have, in my own way, produced works that document that reality.