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ART CURRENTS: What's new in artists' studios?

Editors' Note: This archived BIDDINGTON'S article dates from 2000.

A word unspoken since Renaissance painting techniques class has resurfaced
on the tongues--and in the work--of several New York painters:


Van Deren painting

Nancy Van Deren suggests that interest in pentimenti, soft after-images of previous painting layers, reflects a fin de siecle nostalgia about the painting process.

"Summer Warbler" Detail

Van Deren likes to work backward rubbing out the top layers of paint pulling these shadowy images out of her own work.

Hewitt painting

Charles Hewitt sees his ghostly layers of re-worked paint as representing the richness of experiences brought to a painting. Hewitt resolves his paintings with bold, solid foreground images that probably wouldn't work without the layered substructure.

"Black Cherry" Painting

John Clarke painting detail with pentimenti
In several of his 1997-1998 paintings for the Allentown Museum Show, John Clem Clarke used fake, intentional "pentimenti" to suggest the number of variables at play--decisions great & small that might have been made otherwise--in the art process.

CLARKE Pentimenti Detail

This leads us to another hot topic in artists' studios:

art about art constructs

Clarke painting with plastic eagle
John Clem Clarke has a history of making art about art. In his current work, Clarke paints found objects then makes paintings of the painted objects. The end product combines objects + paintings in intriguing mixed-media pieces whose elements re-inforce one another.

Plastic Eagle Affixed to Canvas

Also working in combinations of pieces, Charles Hewitt makes small paintings then blows them up into large photocopied constructions. He likes the small painterly work to be viewed side by side with the large "artificial" construction. The magnified brushstrokes differ in impact from the original ones. Hewitt enjoys the surprisingly "faux" feeling of the enlarged strokes.

A certain willingness to cede control is another current trend:

unpredictability and randomness

Jetter bronze sculpture

Frances Jetter is willing to use accidents in the casting process as compositional elements in her sculpture. Jetter sometimes adapts purely functional venting gates as significant design elements in her sculptures late in the production process.

"Nose" Bronze with Vastly Extended Venting Gate

View paintings, prints and sculpture by Nancy Van Deren, Charles Hewitt, John Clem Clarke, and Frances Jetter in BIDDINGTON'S Contemporary Art Gallery.


BIDDINGTON'S reports today's art buzz gleaned from artists' studio visits & art gallery openings. ART CURRENTS is one of many content features of BIDDINGTON'S Contemporary Art Gallery and BIDDINGTON'S upmarket, online art & antiques auctions.

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