The Chazan Gallery at Wheeler is pleased to present surface shadows an exhibition featuring the new work by Robert Datum and Neal T Walsh, from September 19th - October 9th, 2019. There will be an opening reception for the artists on September 19th, from 5:00 - 8:00. The public is invited.
For Robert Datum "true freedom in painting comes when one sees that there is no alternative than to give oneself up. From this complete resignation, the feeling of the whole world bursts like a flower from its bud. This is the act of creation, not that of imitating your conceptions of what is seen."
Robert James Datum is an American figurative painter who presently lives in Old Lyme, Connecticut. He previously lived in Chicago from 1990 to 2014. Datum focuses on portraits and landscapes in and around the area of southeastern Connecticut. His work draws heavily upon the immediacy of painting directly from life, with an ambitious painterly style. Datum's painting accompanies the in-depth study of Neoplatonic and German idealist philosophy. Among the artists that have influenced his work are Pierre Bonnard, Chaim Soutine, Frank Auerbach, Eugene Leroy, George Inness and Albert Pinkham Ryder.
Neal Walsh uses old and salvaged canvas from previous paintings, torn pages from discarded books, debris from the studio floor, oil paint, graphite, ink, dry pigment s, and adhesives, to build his paintings layer by layer. The surfaces are scratched, torn, tattered, sanded, scrapped bare and started again and again upon canvas or wood panels until the accumulation of materials is finally deemed complete. Walsh often uses grids as a foundation for his paintings; with each layer this initial uniformity tends towards entropy, the fixed becomes ever more fluid. In this process of adding and subtracting each layer has an opportunity to play a part but is also altered with the artist’s intentionality; hence, Walsh's work echoes nature’s familiar patterns of growth and decay, chance and control. The paintings mark the passage of time: they are vessels of memory containing the traces of their past. The paintings explore the space between order and chaos, and the creation of place through memory and experience. They are meditations on our complex relationship with time, history and the construction of consciousness. These works strive to capture in painting those poetic fragments that make up the essence of our transitory lives as it unfolds before us.
Walsh is the Gallery Director for the Providence arts organization AS220. Walsh was part of the RISD Museum’s Locally Made exhibition and has exhibited widely. He also curated NIGHTVISIONS, a series of experimental site-specific films and performances for the City of Providence, the group exhibition We Don’t Make Mistakes at the Chazan Gallery at Wheeler and co-curated with Maya Allison, the exhibition Among the Breakage: New painting from Providence at the David Winton Bell Gallery at Brown University.