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John Blee Orchard Suite

John Blee, a Washington DC artist, explores new spatial and emotional dimensions in Orchard Suite, his latest series of acrylic paintings on exhibit at Touchstone Gallery.  While most of his works vibrate with the intense spring blossom hues that are signature to his palette, several other paintings offer  deeper, nocturnal shades, reflecting inverse color themes. Playful geometries activate abstract, luminous sky-and-earth compositions and dance with one another to create an unlikely balance and playfulness.  The effect in the viewer is usually an uplifted spirit one might call joie de vivre.

Nick's Orchard

Nick’s Orchard

While painting Blee strives to be open to creative forces that allow for spontaneous expression. “I am here with the work and it ‘comes’ to me. I am the recipient as much as anyone else,” he states.  Like spring blossoms, the moment of creation can be fleeting, so he has to be in a frame of mind to capture what comes to him.

While a certain color palette inspires Blee’s work, he is especially moved by Rainer Maria Rilke’s orchard poems, as well as Paul Klee, Hans Hofmann, Pierre Bonnard, and Helen Frankenthaler color experiments. While living in New York City, he did meet Helen Frankenthaler – who he calls the “Mother of Color Field” – and asked her how she selects her color.  “It’s like choosing a word in a poem,” she replied. Blee took this message to heart.  Since then color and poetry walk hand in hand with his memories of a childhood in India (and Indian miniatures) to influence the way he views the world, thinks and paints. Rosemary Luckett

Armenian Orchard

Armenian Orchard

Artwork by John Blee and Dee Levinson  February 5 – 28, 2016

Meet the Artists: Sunday, February 21, 1 – 3pm

Touchstone Gallery, 901 New York Ave NW, Washington DC 20001

www.touchstonegallery.com


 

Dee Levinson Inspired by the Moment

Washington DC artist Dee Levinson learned at an early age to collage imagery and colors together.  As a child she began by pasting small museum art reproductions into little booklets her mother provided.  This seemingly inconsequential activity instilled in Levinson the notion that one could mix just about anything together to make a piece of art.  Today she does this “collaging” by mixing classical forms painted in a linear manner with highly saturated colors reminiscent of early 20th century German Expressionists.

Las Reinas Tres

Las Reinas Tres

As with those expressionists, she keys her colors to the saturation point in each oil painting.  Still she likes to draw with her paintbrush, which explains the inclusion of religious and mythological figures that also inspired the sculptors of the Baroque and Renaissance periods.  “Art is a line around your thoughts,” stated Austrian painter Gustav Klimt, another of her influences.  This seems apropos to Levinson as she draws figures and patterns depicted in brocade fabrics of Renaissance era (circa 1490-1600) in her very contemporary paintings.

Of her process, Levinson comments, “I build the ground [for a new painting] using paint from a previous day’s palette obliterating the texture of the canvas by covering it with the texture of paint.  I preselect my subject and have figured out my basic color scheme before I pick up the brush. From then on I am “inspired by the moment.”

Artwork by John Blee and Dee Levinson  February 5 – 28, 2016

Meet the Artists: Sunday, February 21, 1 – 3pm

Touchstone Gallery, 901 New York Ave NW, Washington DC 20001

www.touchstonegallery.com

La Reina Plata

La Reina Plata

 

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