Influences

I’ve been exhibiting at the West End Gallery for over 15 years now and have benefitted in many ways.  It was the first place I showed and sold my  first piece of work.  It was the first place my work was showcased.  It was the place that first gave me hope of doing what I love as a career.  So many other things as well.  But perhaps the greatest benefit may have been what I have gained from observing the work of the other artists there over the years.

I’ve talked here and in my own blog of how artists such as Mark Reep, Marty Poole and Dave Higgins, among others,  have shaped how I work and how I see my own work.  Another such artist is Treacy Ziegler who has shown her collagraphs and, more recently, her distinctinctive paintings at the West End for many years now.

From the moment I saw Treacy’s work, I was intrigued.  I instantly recognized that she was doing with her work what I wanted and didn’t have in my work at the time.  Her prints had great areas of dark and light contrast and even in the lightest sections, a sense of darkness was always present which gave every piece real weight.  Her bold colors and striking contrasts gave even the simplest compositions a deeper feeling.

They were also immediately identifiable as Treacy’s work.  You could see a piece from across the street and you knew whose work it was.  She has a very idiosyncratic visual vocabulary and her shapes and forms react beautifully with one another in the techniques she uses in producing her work.

At the time, my own work was still very transparent and very much watercolor based.  With Treacy’s work in mind I started adding layers of darkness in my own way.  Simplifying form.  Enhancing contrast and color.  All the time searching for my own vocabulary, my own look. 

I’ve always maintained that artists are often more like synthesizers than creators.  They absorb multiple influences and take what they see in them,  merging them together to create something that is completely different than the original.  For me, the West End has always been a great source for ideas and concepts to absorb.  It may be in a certain brushstroke or the way a painting’s composition comes together or just in being exposed to an artist’s body of work for a long period of time.  Whatever the case, I always find something in the work there.

And that has been a great benefit…

———————-Posted by Gary Myers

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