Bowery is pleased to announce “Back on Land” an exhibition of recent paintings by Grier Torrence. The large scale paintings are narrative/image poems and landscapes. The show runs Feb 26- March 23.
Torrence generously shares his thoughts and motivations behind the recent work.
He begins by saying, “These paintings are like diaries, collages, association poems, anchors that get me through the day. Infinity boards. Places I come to for meditation.
….And in my working man’s life, I come to them daily, but often briefly; and so they build, an accumulation of decisions. There is the light of day, the dark of night, here are formal issues, many intuitive feelings…as I reach through the forms… the painting helps me find my way through life, guides me, informs my thinking.” .
Wonderwall oil on linen 50 X 56″ 2018
When asked about his process, Torrence says, “It is all pretty intuitive especially the larger invented works. The ideas are worked out in the process as they became revealed gradually, after an initial epiphany or in a slow meditation/reflection”.
“The paintings in the end …make sense to me and they are a record of time and of experience….. I used to call these allegories, and then narratives, and now maybe they are image poems”.
Emmaus oil on linen 50 X 24″ 2017
“In my work there are references to the Bible, to spiritual texts and experiences, and there is also an affinity for the Ash Can school stemming back to my early love for art made during the Work Projects of America”.
Ephphatha oil on linen 34 X 38″ 2016
“My list of heroic art is vast and I return year after year and decade after decade to the work of Van Gogh, Cezanne, and Gauguin, though perhaps my work is closer in appearance to a hybrid of Bonnard and Beckmann”.
The Return (Palio) oil on linen 54 X 50″ 2018
“I yearn for the common ground, for the specific truth, the authentic, and integrated…. values which can be discerned and found in the universal language of visual art”.
“I think of my three shows over the last nine years (2011, 2015, and 2019) at Bowery Gallery as a kind of trilogy: By the River (Still Rowing), Through the Notch, and Back on Land (a Working Man’s Life)”.
The Cup oil on linen 36 X 30″ 2016
“There is much reference to the water and to crew because for fifteen seasons, from 1999-2013, each spring, I coached the crew team at Miss Porter’s School in addition to my main commitment of teaching painting, drawing, printmaking and for twelve years computer graphics. Being a coach, working on the water, was a wonderful and totally unexpected turn in my life. And while I have been back on land since the 2013 season, the water always draws me and so I draw the water”.
Time Ago and What is Next oil on linen 40 X 58″ 2017
“These are like history paintings, my own history, life as i see it and have sensed it”.
Time Passages oil on linen 44 X 52″ 2017
… I’d like to add that the challenge of painting is huge and fully enrapturing. The most ambitious of problems occupy me, or what seems to me to be a feat: to paint people, places and things, all in one painting, in a kind of world-scape. How to select a palette, to decide on a format, on a scale, to layer colors, and the whole use of the right materials for the message, how to draw and to realize the forms needed for the idea. I appreciate the company of Bowery Gallery artists in this quest, this struggle. In this respect, I remember Hokusai:
At seventy-three I learned a little about the real structure of animals, plants, birds, fishes and insects. Consequently, when I am eighty I’ll have made more progress. At ninety I’ll have penetrated the mystery of things. At a hundred I shall have reached something marvelous, but when I am a hundred and ten everything I do, the smallest dot, will be alive.
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