Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Town & Country

Working feverishly on the last few paintings for the show with Garry Turpin, Town & Country: Urban Scenes by Isabel Forbes and Beyond City Limits by Garry Turpin.

I've enjoyed getting to know Garry. He is originally from Spartanburg, then moved to Greenville. After I finish the paintings, frame them and tie up loose ends I'll post some more about the show.

This is a Press Release about the show, written by Beverly Knight.

“Town & Country: Urban Scenes by Isabel Forbes & Beyond City Limits by Garry Turpin,” opens May 1 at the Artists’ Guild Gallery in Spartanburg’s Chapman Cultural Center.
Both artists work in oil and focus on subjects that they find to be compelling, attempting to capture a visual moment that the viewer can experience vicariously.

Forbes’ “Smith’s Drugs #1” pictures a nondescript storefront that people drive by every day as they hurry from one end of Spartanburg to another. The painting transforms it into a colorful scene, a red bicycle leaning casually against the front wall contrasting with the blue striped awning of the small building on Main Street.

Turpin’s “Mountain Folk” recreates a relaxed scene as well, but one filled with people—and in the forefront a young woman, red hair flowing and bare feet dangling from the edge of a front porch, smiling directly at the viewer.

“Goldenwater,” a painting of a mountain stream, white water rushing around boulders and toward the viewer, showcases one of the recurring images in Turpin’s work. The artist says his work captures water’s variable nature, “its beauty and power, its color and lack of color and its varying degrees of transparency, always providing an interesting ‘painter’s journey’.”

Forbes, since her recent return to Spartanburg, her hometown, after three decades away, has focused her art on urban scenes that “had a visual spark or surprise and revealed something new about the familiar.” For several of the paintings in the exhibit, she explored Spartanburg with a bicycle rented for three months for $15 from the Hub Cycle Spartanburg Community Bicycles program run by Partners for Active Living. With her sketchbook and watercolor pad, she rode around, drinking in the sights until an image attracted her attention.

“Typically I work quickly and directly from life for two to three hours on a painting or drawing until I get the feeling, light, and space of a location,” Forbes says of her oil paintings, referring to herself as an observational painter who works from subjects that are part of her everyday life.
“I will then work on the painting back in the studio, developing the forms and trying to resolve the design. I look for the extraordinary in the ordinary. Painting, for me, is a way of connecting and discovering.”

She chose paintings for the current exhibit from subjects that she had a personal response to, focusing on subjects with a “sense of familiarity not just because I recognize a particular place but because I also recognized a feeling or remembered an experience.”

Turpin, who received a Bachelor of Fine Arts at Mars Hill College in 1971, has lived in the Spartanburg area, with his wife Bonnie for the past 38 years. After twenty-five years in the graphic design, illustration and photography business, a career that led to numerous awards and opportunities, he decided in 2000 to return to fine arts, more specifically oil painting. For the past nine years he has made painting his primary work.

“I invite the viewer to join in my interpretation of our world.” Turpin says of his paintings, many of which are portraiture or landscape. “I use the rich variable colors of oil paint to capture my feelings and the presence of my subject and hopefully pass it forward to trigger a memory or connection in viewers to what they see.”

Turpin describes his art as “my memory, the many paths I take, the people I encounter and the balance and rhythm that are created by man and nature,” those things that not only express the artist’s experiences but also revive memories in the viewer’s mind of things he too has experienced. Turpin loves the challenges that are presented in portraiture. “Rendering a physical likeness and projecting that person’s personality make portrait painting a unique offering to both the person being painted and to the artist,” Turpin says.

An artists’ reception for the exhibit is scheduled for May 2, 6 - 8:00 p.m., and is free and open to the public. The exhibit continues through May 28.
Gallery hours are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Admission to the Guild Gallery is free of charge.
For information, contact Laura Pinkley, 864-764-9568.

Happy drawing & painting!

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