John David Wissler’s Drawings – Great Cranberry Island
September 3 to 30, 2013
Preview the exhibition
Thoughts from the Director
“When considering the work for this exhibition, I was reminded that drawings need not, and should not be limited to being viewed as only a “sketch” from which a painting evolves. We can re-state the obvious about the quickness and spontaneity of capturing a quick note for reference, but it would be a mistake not to recognize the required elements of composition, color and picture plane.
In one sense, I can look at Wissler’s drawings in the same way that I look at his paintings. They are both about a sense of place, space and time defined with the use of shape and color. But, in the drawings, I see that the color has to be enticed to the surface. I needed to allow myself to see the color as it emerged from Wissler’s use of the ink as opposed to the more obvious use of color in paint. In a few of the drawings, he experiments with the use of red ink. As you look at those particular drawings, see how he gently starts to pull back that pigment – making it comply. It is his hand that works the color into the drawing, not the pigment of the ink. There is a new bond created between artist and drawing medium.
The artist is no stranger to using the support (in this case – paper) to his advantage in composition or color. With the drawings, he demands that the paper own even more of the final work. Qualities of the paper and how much of it is used become as important as the ink in the end. Fourteen of the works included in this exhibition are on treasured handmade English paper collected by Seymour Remenick during his service in WW II and later gifted to Wissler. A command of balance between paper and ink is required from the beginning as there is no place in the drawing for the brush or layers of paint to compensate.
Complete and developed as any painting, these drawings present themselves as “a moment quickly captured” as they tease us away from our preconceived definitions.
Joyce G. Heberlein, Gallery Director
Artist statement by Donald Sam Sneeder whose exhibition continues in the gallery.
“I think of myself as an abstract painter, though not in the conventional sense. After the initial impact of recognizable imagery, it is the shapes, design and color that appeal to me. I use a lot of pattern and stylized objects combining the two. The two-dimensional backgrounds are as important as the subjects who often disappear into each other.
I want my work to have movement and energy. I’m always trying to make it fun for me and the viewer while conveying to them the sense of pleasure that I got creating each piece. I don’t really know where my work is going and I don’t want to be pigeonholed, either in my style, technique or subject matter. It just continues.
I’ve never found, until recently, a style or look that expresses the way I see things. It always had the look of – “it’s been done before”. In the past ten years I’ve been developing and expanding a technique I call Laminated Acrylic. The image is painted directly on glass in layers. Later the painting is “pulled” from the glass by adhering it to canvas. The finished painting is then stretched like any ordinary canvas.”
Near the Beginning 12" x 16" oil on panel
Thoughts from the Gallery Director
Recent Paintings is a body of work that is easy to talk about. It doesn’t take much to see what the artist is passionate about. Capturing atmosphere, sky, water and light with the use of paint and color is obvious. And yes, I am compelled to note that, as one would expect from any artist whose true pulse comes from painting, there are changes in the way he accomplishes and captures that which he sees.
In 2009, Wissler was awarded a painting fellowship through the Heliker – LaHotan Foundation, taking him to Great Cranberry Island, Maine. Whether it was seeing a landscape from the perspective of a more northern and oceanic environment, or the experience of the freedom and yet expectation of full time painting – that experience became a catalyst for his continued study of those subjects. I could go on and on about what I see as those changes. We could talk about some new colors I see or how even the preparation of those works on paper becomes part of the painting. As one viewer remarked: ”He has clearly – very sensibly – had a good look at Turner’s late watercolors and his extraordinary “sketchbooks”. (And if he has never seen them, he has somehow had the remarkable luck to be infested with a great swath of Turner’s genius – the lucky sausage !!)”
Wissler cannot, nor would he want to deny that he has indeed looked at Turner, and many others. But beyond looking, he has studied. And beyond studying, he has taken that which he learns and constantly builds upon it. Each composition is a tool. Each completed painting is a beginning for the next. With as much accessibility as we have these days to art, it is not easy to find an artist whose goal at the completion of a painting is not just a product, but to understand the artists and their paintings who have been AND to be a contribution to those artists who are yet to be. This selfless approach to painting as well as the talent that accompanies it assures Wissler of succeeding at both. When we look at his resume, his accomplishments outside of our region remind us of his talent and the rightful respect he receives among both academia and fellow painters. We are honored to represent his work and watch his role unfold in the history of painting. And a beautiful unfolding it is.
Joyce G. Heberlein
Recent Paintings by John David Wissler is up now through the end of October at Lancaster Galleries, 34 N. Water St.