reprinted from Springfield News-Leader (May 1, 2005)
Exhibit at Keyes has easy-to-like landscapes and people
Springfield is really fortunate to have two fine painting exhibits in town at the same time this month.
George Nick, whom I wrote about in my last column, has a wonderful retrospective of oils at the Springfield Art Museum through June 5.
At the Keyes Gallery, where the shows seem to be getting stronger all the time, there’s another terrific show of works by painter Timothy J. Clark.
Titled “A Sense of People and Place”, this exhibit of mostly watercolors is full of easy-to-like landscapes and paintings of people. Near the front door, a work titled “The White Dress” introduces the show, and next to it are several quotes about Clark’s work.
Writers have lauded his use of visual and emotional stimuli and spoken on his sense of space, light, and composition. He’s been compared to John Singer Sargent and the American Impressionists, which you can certainly see on “The White Dress”. There are also references to his insight and sense of expression.
The one thing that really struck me, though, that these quotes didn’t mention was how Clark’s paintings transport viewers on a minds-eye journey. When I looked at his paintings of Venice, I was there. When I saw his lighthouse in Maine, I could almost feel the wind and smell the nearby salt water.
Clark’s watercolors have the ability, not unlike Nick’s exhibit at the museum, to make you forget you’re in an art gallery and give you “visions of good times that brought you so much pleasure,” to quote Jimmy Buffett. And if you’ve never been to Venice or Maine, well, Clark makes you want to go.
Clark teaches at the Art Students League of New York where Nick studied some years back, and, like the elder Nick, Clark’s subjects are scenes anyone would like – boats, water, architecture, doorways, people in quiet contemplation.
In some cases, his technique changes from painting to painting. For example, “Fenice Restorante (Venice)” is painted on textured paper that gives a light-kissed quality to the work. Adjacent to it is”Boats and Nets, Azores,” which has a smoother surface and the right combination of wet and dry brush technique to create the textures of sand, water, and fishing boat hulls.
Clark captures light, texture in paintings
Another Venetian scene I liked was “Canal in Fenice Neighborhood (Venice)”, a view down a canal of several old buildings. Clark effectively captures the sense of light and shadow that artists have been finding in Venice for centuries.
Compare the light in this painting to “South Bristol (Maine) Cocktails” which hangs beside it. The cool, thin light of Maine provides an interesting juxtaposition to the almost palpable warmth of Venice.
Lest you think I’m talking too much about this quality of light Clark so effectively captures, just step into the back room at Keyes and look at some of the muddy, dull landscapes hanging there. That alone should underscore what a master manipulator of light Clark truly is and how much other painters could learn from him.
“Watercolor USA” will be in town soon, and we’ll have a chance to see how the medium of watercolor is being played across the nation. In the meantime, enjoy this smaller one-man show and get in the mood for the big splash about to come.