September, 23 2018

Finding the essence of florida's landscape

A painting by Gary Borse reaches out and immediately steals your gaze.

Gary Borse is an artist who, the more you delve into his life and work, the more you think, “yes, he is doing something very special.” Borse was born in 1950 and has an Associate’s Degree in Commercial Art and Design from the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. The Art Institute of Chicago played a vital role in his study, and he is influenced particularly by Contemporary American and European Modern Art. He is also an accomplished musician, having performed rock, jazz and blues as a bassist and vocalist throughout his life. He now resides in Fairfield, Florida. Also known as the “Color Research Cowboy,” he spends his time riding horses, raising cattle, and working at the easel. But he does not stop there. Borse stretches his canvas and makes the frames for his paintings. Start to finish, Borse methodically and meticulously paints the essence of Florida’s landscape.  

We often hear this term, “essence,” thrown around in art. Essence is not the exact existence of an object or landscape. Rather, it is indicated by the choices Borse makes in color, perspective, subject matter, etc. that pull at our emotional heartstrings and make the viewer realize the significance of the painting. 

Notably, you will not see animals or other wildlife in his work. As Maya Ellenson from Art Kaleidoscope described so perfectly in an article from 2013, “by using close values of reds, greens, and blues, Borse allows the viewer to discover a landscape inside the landscape by removing a physical shroud and stepping into its spiritual realm.” In saturating the colors, Borse emphasizes the fantastical qualities and beauty of the precious, natural world. 

In a conversation with Borse at 530 Burns Gallery during his solo Exhibition in 2017, Borse walked up to his painting, Lighten Up, and exclaimed something to the effect of “I like to paint big.” He continued and I summarize,  “when you get up close to a large canvas you see nothing but the landscape in your periphery.”  While painting, he discovers himself in that particular moment and space. Completed, the painting transports the viewer, a complete escape found within his variation of the landscape.

Previously an accomplished jazz musician, Borse paints with vibrant color because it creates a vibration, like in his music, that can be best described as a window to old Florida’s soul. Borse says, “Painting what you see and what you feel at the same time is like walking the fence. If you fall one way you will have what everyone sees, if you fall the other, you will have what everyone feels. Therefore, you must stay on the edge of the fence.” As the viewers, we jump up on the fence, walk it like a tightrope, and balance by the unification of what we see and what we feel.

September, 3 2018

Individuality Versus the Whole

An analysis of Carter Wentworth's "Vertical Series." 

Each painting by Carter Wentworth is its own entity -- a complete story -- but as the pieces lay side-by-side, there are a series of patterns, layers, and details waiting to be unpacked by the eye. This is where the fun begins. By looking more, we begin to forge personal associations with certain patterns and colors that lift off the paper and piece together the conversation Carter once had with nature. 

  • A peek into the process behind Carter's Paintings.
    A peek into the process behind Carter's Paintings. 

Carter Wentworth is a mixed media artist and works with water based paints, primarily British pigments, on thick cotton-based paper.  Carter says that for him, “painting is a process of discovery. It’s not premeditated, but a reaction to the first mark I make upon the paper. I remain aware of the edges, and the painting becomes an excerpt of a larger imagined space.” Living in Marblehead, Massachusetts and tending to his expansive gardens, Wentworth lets the garden inform his painting and vice versa. 

In a recent conversation, I asked Carter what he thought of his “Vertical or Seed Series,” available at 530 Burns Gallery, looking back on its years of development and progression. Wentworth emailed me, “I do the small pieces to stand on their own, but I am sure that they suggest directions to take {for the larger work}. I also see reviewing the work of three years ago that several series are repeated within the small paintings. I think that there is a double circle series about to emerge {in the new work}.” 

Though abstract, the pieces meticulously record a narrative which passes through the lens of his subconscious mind. Take “Crossing Two Oceans:” elongated curved lines flow with short wisps of orange pigment. Then, layered on top are muted, translucent yellow vines that bring the eye around the piece like a road map to unlock the water’s purest moments and diverse life forms. Again, looking at “Night Plankton,” we see the use of layers. The level in the forefront creates windows and individual vignettes to explore into a new tier, texture, or color. Both tell an individual tale but the repetition of curves is used to emphasize the piece’s verticality.

Carter utilizes the same vertical proportions in “Untitled #6 seed series.” Bursting with bold color, the painting becomes a chatty conversation between three pinnacle elements to any painting: color, line, and shape. As in controlled chaos, a mix of seeds and abstracted forms has sprouted into a diverse ecosystem. Juxtaposing contrast colors of cobalt blue to tangerine orange and leaf motifs to oval buds, the painting seems ready to flower. From from his personal garden to Florida's oceanscape, Wentworth captures a specific, life-giving moment. Notably, you will not find a harsh, jagged line in his work. Rather, the emphasis is on the whirling of curves and the awareness of nature’s interconnectivity. 

So, Carter paints the story. With a nod to reality, his imagination and creativity fall on our shoulders, and we are invited to explore and forge a personal relationship with the work. I now ask you to continue the dialogue with this openended question: where does Carter Wentworth’s work take you?


An in-depth look into Katie Cassidy's oil paintings.

  • Artist Katie Cassidy.

    Artist Katie Cassidy.

Katie Cassidy has been a positive force for 530 Burns Gallery not only in the growing popularity of her transformative oil paintings, but also in her gentle spirit. When Cassidy delivers new work to the gallery’s brick-and-mortar exhibition space, she emanates a certain calm that, too, jumps from hand to brush and canvas.  “We always look forward to unveiling new work by Katie. When the wrapping is removed, there is a sigh of contentment… like everything is as it should be in that particular moment,” says Molly Lindberg, 530 Burns Gallery Assistant Director.

As Phil Lederer of SRQ Magazine wrote on Cassidy’s recent solo exhibition, Meditative State: “On the walls at every side, large-scale works by Cassidy evoke sea, sky and land, in great atmospheric canvases that simultaneously intrigue and soothe the viewer.” In addition to her work as a painter, Cassidy teaches yoga and meditation, which informs her work. Cassidy taught a two week introductory chair-yoga class to accompany this exhibition and demonstrate the possibilities for the body that are unlocked for the eye in her paintings. 

Cassidy says,  “I take the liberty of expanding and contracting what is before me. I allow myself to submerge into the imagined, uncharted, yet to be discovered, places.” 

In works like Rhythmic Silence, the viewer enters a void that clears the mind and allows the viewer to re-emerge with a newfound fullness brought forth from the movement within the constraints of the canvas. Each work is overtaken by a haze of subtly shifting colors that engulfs the canvas, leaving viewer with evocative memories of life before entering the paintings' transformative void, indicating this is just the beginning.


Follow the link to read the full article mentioned here in SRQ Magazine.

Take me there!