These Western Sonoma County Artists have combined their joy and need of working in the raw, un-tempered open-sky studios without walls.
"Open-Air Painting"......Currently showing at The Center Gallery, Fairfield Center for The Arts, Fairfield,Ca. (707) 428-7430
These artists first exhibited together in the show "Open Air Painting", June 3 - August 23, 1996 at The Mills Building, San Francisco, California. Presented by The Mills Building and Artsource, San Francisco, California.
From the notes to "Open Air Painting":
Adam Wolpert, William Wheeler. Tony King
Painting landscapes has provided different challenges for artists over the centuries. Lanscape paiters in seventeenth century Holland, for example, responded to the local fluctuations of nature by painting indoors; while sometimes capturing a particular moment, it was a moment caught with great deliberation from the distance of the studio.
King, Wheeler and Wolpert paint outside, throughout the day. Their experience of working directly before their subject, of having to work quickly and amidst the chaos of a view whose details constantly change, becomes parrt of the images they produce. As King has put it, "at first the chaos is disturbing, but you learn to enjoy the unexpected. You find a balance between paint and image... you are not painting an instantaneous copy but an essence of the place." Such an approach emphasizes the subjective experience of being, and working, out-of-doors."
For the viewer, the meaning of landscape imagery also has shifted over the generation, as man's use of and relationship with the land has changed. These paintings exhibited here reveal a concern with the forms and colors of the natural landscape - man is emphatically absent from most of these images - and reflect the energy derived from working outdoors.
Ann Jensen Adams, Professor of Art History
University of California at Santa Barbara
From The Bodega Bay Navigator, 1/17/97:
SOAP Artists Re-Frame Fairfield's Mirror
A new view from three unique eyes, experiences and
Artistic translations is available in The Center Gallery at The Fairfield
Center for The Arts. The City of Fairfield has been looking at itself in,
and perhaps through, a fresh looking glass lately. The reflection's taken
a new appreciation of the delta landscapes. Sloughs meandering through
tall grasses lead one to wander toward the eastern slopes of Mt. Diablo.
It's not the big Budweiser sign on the Highway this time by. Paintings
from three different angles, constructs and execution form a powerful,
cohesive, full spectrum showing of unexpected Fairfield scenes.
Western Sonoma County Artists Adam Wolpert, Tony King and Bill Wheeler have joined together as SOAP.(Society of Open Air Painters). This grouping brings together a fluid interpretation of the more out of the way, undisturbed Fairfield locales they sought and painted.
This mutually rewarding opportunity came about when Sherry Willis, the Director of City Arts Fairfield, saw the first showing of SOAP at The Mills Building in San Francisco. She visited The Occidental Arts & Ecology Center and encouraged Adam Wolpert, The Center's Art Director, to come to Fairfield. To paint Fairfield. They would work with an imbedded response to a Fairfield undercurrent less obvious. The process would be the integrating theme of The Show.
Tony King says the six week period they spent going around the marshes added to the richness he received from the painting. "The Suisun Bay, the bogs, the overall beauty has always been here... We watched the recent 'clothing' of these last thirty, fourty years diminish as we felt and learned more about the place... One woman, who'd been born here told me about how tough it ws just to get around years ago. Horses would get stuck in the bogs and have to be pulled out... "
The Center for The Arts, many local businesses and the local newspaper all warmly welcomed the trio. The City can warmly embrace the group's re-view of the more subtle underlying and surrounding reality of its innate natural beauty.
Bill Wheeler said that he loved the quiet marshes and the everlasting sense of continueity when its left alone, but that also gave the recent developments an added element. " One night, close to the opening of the show, it was raining like crazy. You know that overpass by the Budweiser Sign...? Well, I just pulled over, pulled over on the overpass and started a watercolor of the sign... I tucked a flashlight between my shoulder and cheek and painted that thing... And I thought of the work, when we were by ourselves out by a slough and just went... 'yeah... this is all right... The Budweiser Sign..."
The current showing of Open Air Paintings at The Center Gallery ought to be bought by the Chamber of Commerce and proudly offered as a more sublime view than one gets from the Freeway or City streets. An Artist's perspective can re-define an area's self-image. The fresh look caused a number of folks at the show's opening reception to comment they'd never seen these locations before. Whether never noticed in the past, now through a new looking glass, it's seen and felt in a reinvigorated form.
Whether it's actually seeing a particularly sweet little waterfall, or seeing it through a different eye, the results remain. This collection has opened the eyes of an entire town, an area that is rarely thought of for the beauty that lies behind the superficial facade of development.
Adam Wolpert mentions how he watched and worked with the difference in the light. "It's different there...the colors might be brighter or maybe there's more color... The fog and humidity here on the coast gives us our own unique light, just as the natural conditions of the Fairfield Delta filters color in its special way..."
The joy of this showing lies beyond the immediate strength of the individual works. The water's reflection in a Wheeler work; a broad, effusive contemplation in a King waterfall; the quiet distillation of a spare tree in an open field by Wolpert... these are all representations that showcase the three Artists in their own unique voice. The lasting effect on many will be the feeling of cohesive interlinking perspectives. A momentum builds as one experiences the pieces. An assured, firm hand seems to guide the unfolding story of their combined unveiling of Fairfield.
While enjoying the dance with Fairfield, one can look forward when these Artists, as SOAP, again enter the mirror of another community, spin its axis, throw preconceptions out the window and frame an altered reflection. Old definitions and parameters become history. Another unsuspecting community can loosen up, return to the roots and get their colors done.
Bill Wheeler, Tony King and Adam Wolpert will offer an Artist's perspective of their works, the locations and how they were found, and the translation into exhibition on January 19th, at 2 pm. The Center Gallery,Fairfield Center for The Arts, 1035 Texas St, Fairfield, Ca.( Take the West Texas off-ramp into town. Gallery open Wed., Thurs., and Fri., 10-5 pm. or by appointments on wknds. (707)-428-7430 ) *******************************************************