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- Kalpana Vadnagara
As a student of Crafton Hills College, I got the opportunity to view a collection of still life paintings and drawings by the Los Angeles-based artist Gershom, which is on display at the Crafton Hills College Art Gallery from February 21 to March 10. An opening reception was held on February 21 at 1 p.m., followed by a lecture from Gershom, “Precision and Soul: The Daily Practice of the Painting,” at 2 p.m. At the art gallery was a rare opportunity for student viewers to engage with this revered artist. The exhibition includes twenty-four different sized oil paintings on wood panel. It also includes the representation of his studio settings with some preliminary drawings, to show his art process, also some of the objects in a showcase, which has been used by the artist to draw, and a slide show of his emoji like drawings were moving on a computer.
Gershom was born in the Netherlands and lived for many years in Amsterdam. Art has always been his passion, but he earned the degree in Psychology and Epidemiology at first and then moved to Los Angeles to study sculpture and painting. Currently, he teaches Neuropsychology of perception and imagination at different schools, and also teaches drawing studio and rendering in oil paint. To make paintings, he has been using classical techniques of layering and glazes. Most of his still life paintings are painted almost life size. During his lecture, he explains the process of his paintings, which sounds very interesting. After a lot of pencil drawings, he traces them on tracing paper and cuts them, which he uses to create a balanced composition with a grid method by following the rule of third. Gershom said that lines create drawings and shapes create paintings. He also discusses that how important the background of an artwork works. To generate a three dimensional illusion he uses different values on two dimension surface. By creating the contrast, the objects automatically getting the attention and being a focal point of the whole picture.
Blue Bowl with Cherries, 2010
oil on panel
14 x 16″
17-1/2 x 19-1/2″ framed
From different paintings, I choose two different works to discuss about it. The first painting is titled “Blue Bowl with Cherries” was the heart of the show. Like all other work, this is also painted on panel with oil, size 17-1/2 x 19-1/2″ framed. To make this work interesting, the artist uses white, greenish gray, blue, and red colors, and composed it with asymmetric balance. The missing shadow of the bowl and different forms like spheres, and cube create a mystery here. Soft, shallow curves recalls the curves of the human body and often have a pleasing, sensual quality and a softening effect on the composition. Most of the shapes are formed by lines and shifts in color and value. As we move from left to right the value changes into darker, this creates a sense of depth and dramatic contrasts emphasizing a strong light source from the left side of the artwork. The negative space of the work which is lighter greenish gray background enables the viewer to clearly distinguish the shapes, moreover the emptiness of the top part is creating the asymmetrical balance to the artwork.
White Pot with Artichoke, 2005
oil on panel
24 x 19 “
29-1/2 x 24-1/2″ framed
The second artwork I chose to discuss about is titled “White Pot with Artichoke,” which he created in 2005, five years ago than the first painting. The disproportionate amount of negative space accentuates the artwork vulnerability and isolation. The changing values of different shapes play a major role in establishing space relationships. The artist uses different values to create different textures. Somewhere it feels so soft with lighter value, at the same time, with more contrasting values, he creates a very harsh surface. Artists use color, line, and shading to imply textures in a two-dimensional work. The use of such lines, values, shapes, color and textures create the illusion of depth in space from the foreground through the middle ground to the background. As per my point of view the focal point of this painting is the green Artichoke textured shape on the right side, which emphasis the most that catches the viewer’s attention. Usually the artist will make one area stand out by contrasting it with other areas. The area could be different in size, color, texture, shape, etc. Compare to first painting, this one is more calm and soothing because of the muted colors. These kind of work is very thought-provoking and accommodating for art students to study and understand the elements of art.
Gershom. “Precision and Soul: The Daily Practice of the Painting”. Personal interview. 9 Mar. 2017.
Gershom-art.com. WordPress.com, n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2017.
“Gershom.” Gershom. LORA SCHLESINGER GALLERY, n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2017.
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