Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Worley's Secret World

In the late hours of winter, when snowfall has silenced the night, one senses the stillness of a different reality. Who among us believe they see as things truly are. For an enchanting moment one suspends traditional beliefs and entertains thoughts of another world.
Saint Louis artist, Ken Worley, spends a bit of time in this nether world. If you let him, he will take you there. He goes there, not in the silence of winter, but through the solitude of nature.
Recently, through coincidence of circumstances, I had the good fortune of being introduced to Ken. He is part of a small group of artists that regularly visit exhibitions, followed by lunch. My friend, potter Tim Eberhardt, is also part of this group. He invited me along. We went to the Rembrandt exhibit at the Saint Louis Art Museum. (Don't miss it) Ken is sort of easy going, much like his work. William Griffin introduces Ken and his work to the cyberworld through a short online video.
I have admired Ken's work for some time now, first at the Bruno David Gallery and later at the Gallery of Contemporary Art at Forest Park. The work is often described as landscapes of the Rockwood Reservation. His work is up again at the Bruno David Gallery so I took the opportunity to return and observe it more closely. To round out my understanding, Mr. David was kind enough to provide me with a number of articles written about Ken. Though these, I find Mr. Worley has been working the Rockwoods pine motif for at lease 20 years now. This refinement undoubtedly plays to the polished element of his work. There is a sense of the real surreal world. Not that fantasy, dripping watch one, but the other one, the one that exists in the quiet of a empty stage.
To accomplish this, Ken uses strong graphical elements. Pine trees, simplified into pointed ovals, sit on sweeping hills. Depth is introduced with stark shadows. Distortion occurs as the shadows are not uniform. This is all made agreeable through a subtle yet powerful use of muted color. His medium is oil stick which allows the creation of a painting which looks like oil but is actually very different. This comes to light when observing the incredibly sharp detail. They are etched in with a pen knife, rather that a brush. Ken Worley's paintings are immediately identifiable. His style is well defined. It is interesting to find while he continually revisits the subject matter, each piece of work is uniquely different.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Suggestions for November

Just wanted to post a couple of events which may be of interest.

Studio Tour in Webster Groves Nov 4

Inspired Hands: A Show of Fine Craft - November 10, 11, 12, 2006

Cyanotypes Show Nov 10th