(Martin Jones) #1

076 http://www.AmericanArtCollector.com



irginia Woolf (1882-1941) said,
“As I write, there rises some-
where in my head that queer
and very pleasant sense of
something which I want to write; my own
point of view...” I often write about look-
ing for the “something else” in contem-
porary realist art and a “point of view” is
part of that. Woolf lived in a wider world
merely tolerant of the efforts of women to
be creative but her closer milieu was full of

women and men living life to the fullest and
creating, unfettered by convention. John
Maynard Keynes (1883-1946) redefined
contemporary economics. Novelist Vita
Sackville-West (1892-1962) lives on in her
writings and in the extraordinary gardens of
Sissinghurst Castle, which she planned and
tended. She wrote, “I worshipped dead men
for their strength, forgetting I was strong.”
The artists in this introduction express
their own points of view, experiment with

their media and place their work within the
context of history.
Prior to 2015, Ali Cavanaugh says,
“I took an idea and then painted every
square inch with perfection and control.”
Her eldest daughter, her muse for many
years, was going off to college, and her
youngest daughter was 2—destined to
become her next muse. She wanted to
simplify and abstract her watercolor tech-
nique and began to allow the medium to
do what it does—flow, blend, puddle. She
calls Open her “breakthrough” painting—
limiting her palette and abandoning her
application of paint with tiny brushes.
She discovered, “As I began loosening
up I could no longer capture subtleties.
I needed to anchor the expression in the
eyes.” Through the eyes in her portraits,
she may reveal more than a fully realized
portrait can do. She says, “I strive to paint
not only the delicate features of the external
person but to capture the tender unseen
presence that transcends understanding
in the depth of a soul. In my experience
in working with the people that I paint,
I repeatedly discover the profound mystery
of existence.”
The human body has been the vehicle
for artistic explorations into the mystery of
existence for millennia.
Early in her career, Alexandra Becker-
Black found oil paints toxic and turned
reluctantly to watercolor, fumbling at first
and then coming as close to mastery as one
can with a medium that has a mind of its
own. The figure in Oracle is godlike in a clas-
sical way, inspired by the gods to interpret
them and to provide prophecy. When she




  1. Ali Cavanaugh, Open, watercolor on clay panel,
    12 x 12" 2. Gallery 1261, Shiva Shakti, oil, 20 x 16",
    by Suchitra Bhosle.

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