The Bottle Works is proud to present "The Dichotomy of an Artist" by Fred Gilmour!
Join us in the Black Box Theater from August 20 - October 10 for an exhibit of abstractions and realizations from Fred Gilmour. We will hold an artist's reception on August 29 from 11 AM - 2 PM. Fred will be on hand to discuss his work and how it makes you feel. " I can’t know when another person looks at the color magenta what it looks like to them. I only know what it looks like to me. I can’t know what espresso tastes like to them. I only know what it tastes like to me."
The Dichotomy of an Artist
Abstractions and Realizations
“I can’t know when another person looks at the color magenta what it looks like to them. I only know what it looks like to me. I can’t know what espresso tastes like to them. I only know what it tastes like to me.
My job as an artist is to help a viewer see, feel, or experience my art to the best of my ability so that it evokes the same or similar feelings in the viewer as it does in me. Sometimes I am successful; sometimes--according to some--not so much.”
This exhibit embodies an artistic struggle between the realistic and the abstract in my current work and my personal nature.
I have been formally trained to interpret real world objects as technically accurate as possible. As an illustrator, there was no room for abstraction or “creative interpretation”. Generally, one can master the technical skills necessary to replicate an object or scene on a two-dimensional field relatively easily. Occasionally--and rarely--a fine illustration can be viewed as art.
On the other hand, as a fine artist with both formal art education and significant practical experience, abstraction can push the boundaries of creativity into uncomfortable territory. No longer is it safe to lay down the “technically correct” texture or color. And more often, a piece is almost expected to have an unusualness. For the viewer or consumer, the expectation is to be somehow annoyed, tricked or confronted with some esoteric profundity—an inner exploration of one’s deepest, darkest thoughts or feelings as it were.
For me having the viewer appreciate one of my works comes down to the simple reality of how I choose a good bottle of wine. “If you open and drink a particular bottle and you like it…it’s a good bottle of wine”. When you look at my work, there is no trickery, no profundity. If you like it, then I’ve done my job. Conversely, if you don’t care for it or feel you don’t “understand” it, then, I’ve done my job.
Abstractions: A Thought Collective
A Selection of Assemblages
This series of abstract assemblages is dominated by the commonality of four general elements; feathers, photographs, metallics or organics, and words; all being found objects. Sometimes they are found as a collective, sometimes they have been intentionally assembled.
For me, feathers embody the ethereal; the unobtainable free spirit of flight. The inclusion of actual feathers brings a textural element to the composition. They are also intended to invoke whatever it is they represent to a viewer’s mind.
Found photographs capture the mundane, the face of a long departed relative or those with whom we have no recollection. They are random snippets of time, and since they are “found” they may have no relationship to any of the other elements, or, they might.
Metallic castoffs, oxidized survivors of our daily social progress, are gathered from a variety of locations as are the organics; twigs and stems that present interesting textural relief or shapes.
Words and phrases with unusual juxtapositions have been collected from professional journals, papers and other public sources. Individually words can invoke incredible meaning. Collectively, when gathered from a variety of sources, their meaning can summon total confusion. Some words are left to rust and wane, some are used until they no longer serve a function. Some others express humorous or thought-provoking approaches to life’s dilemmas. None of the statements are related.
All the elements have been manipulated, modified and massaged. Many are intentionally connected with deliberate bindings and reside on a non-objective abstract background reminiscent of a chaotic flurry of unintentional drug induced energy. I do this art when I want to escape the precision of illustration.
Realizations: Architectural Archaeology
A Pen and Ink Series
This series embodies a collection of pen and ink illustrations focused on the visual preservation of rural architecture. The buildings, with a few exceptions, can be found within the greater Lycoming County (PA) region. They are artistic snapshots of utilitarian structures that have passed into uselessness. These barns and out buildings have successfully evolved from the mundane into the sublime. The works explore the play of light and shadow, stark contrast, and hyper-realistic details that reside within the structures. Purposely editing out much of the surrounding environment focuses visual attention on the subject bringing the viewer simultaneously into and out of the scene. This is what I do when I’m suffering jet lag from a recent flight of fantasy.
Disclaimer: No birds were harmed in the creation of these pieces of art. All feathers were obtained from legal sources.