There is a wonderful watercolor exhibit currently hanging in the Riffe Gallery in Columbus, Ohio that is a must see! A Century of Ohio Watercolor, curated by Charlotte Gordon of the Southern Ohio Museum, is a wonderful grouping and historical chronology of watercolorists originating from or working within Ohio from 1915-to today...100 years! Well known artists like Alice Schille are of course included, as well as many I did not know. What fascinates me most about this show is the range of styles! Watercolor can be a frustrating medium to work with as it depends on precision of hand and the correct ratio of water to paint. Some in the show have a very soft touch and painterly style putting forth a light, airy, colorful scene, while others have a cubist, heavy handed use of the pigments, incorporating very little water!
One painter that stood out to me especially was Ralph Fanning. Not from Ohio, he was a Quaker who came to Ohio in the 1920's, where he ended up teaching art history at the Ohio State University for 37 years. I was struck by his portrayal of a train yard, bustling and filled with steam, depicted by bold swirls of blues, whites and gray. My Grandfather used to paint the very same scenes in West Virginia! HIs train yards depicted the quietness of the space, not bustling but rather rusty cars sitting in the hot sun awaiting the opportunity to move down the track. It made me wonder if these two artists ever crossed paths, given the time period, they may have somewhere along the way.
Another painter I was drawn to was Joseph O'Sickey. He was from Detroit, but later became part of the Cleveland School, a group of renowned artists of the time who were influenced by the Great Depression and WWII. He was drafted into service and visited India and Algeria, which obviously influenced his whimsical and vibrant style.
I especially loved his artist portrait accompanying his bio, he looks like quite the character!
So...you have until April 15th to check out this century of inspiring work from our talented Ohioans! Enjoy!