Monday, September 08, 2008

Jaime Gartelos, Robert Treece, On the move

I see, by the number of events last week, the new season is upon us. Of the many great opportunities, I chose to go to the openings of two artists that have tweaked my interest for some time. It is curious that one of them has just moved to Chicago and the other, from.
I met Jaime Gartelos at last years open studios tour. That meeting was brief and long ago. I didn't even remember what he looked like. I did remember his art. I kept his card. When the tour came around again, I thought I would look him up. He wasn't on the tour this year. However, I emailed him and found he was to have an opening at Mad Art Gallery. Good, I could see a collection of his work in a Gallery setting. The thing which attracted me to his work at that open studio tour a year ago was his use of graceful dark line, drawing with a brush, intermixed within the painting. He uses this technique less at the current show but it is still there with great interest. I mentioned it and he was happy to tell me how it is done with a round and thin, dark oil paint. He also offered advice to others wishing to learn how to create art: "Just paint".
The idea being that creativity is something which is self taught.
Ellie Balk is also in this show with some of her work done in collaboration with Jamie. To make things even more interesting, Ellie created a video based on one of the pieces, "Collaborative Painting 1". Using a computer projection screen, it showed the develoment of two different works by displaying various stages of the paintings in progress.
It was interesting to see how his paintings are created. Using brushes, he lays the foundation adding sections, first one here, then another in counter balance. Moving on to knifes, he adds thicker layers of color. Sometimes, something gets removed, something else added. Textural lines are scratched in. One of his goals is to make the work full and complicated while still keeping it in harmony. Much of the work was done in St. Louis with the last being finished in his new location in Chicago. Wishing him the best of luck in the Windy City.

I noticed Robert Treece from the posting of a link to his web site in the art section of Craiglist. The self photo is different, he has on a gas mask, and his artist's statement has a line in it that is completely crack me up funny. A graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago, he has an admirable dedication to the creation of visual art. The overall style of his large works are based on the Italian Renaissance period. That is pretty much where the similarities end. The details are more like abstract textures. They are build in layers, sometimes adding a collage of altered digital images taken from an earlier painting. He spends a good bit of time on each piece, developing them as he goes along. Add and subtract, change and change again, enveloping himself and his work in the creative process.

There is another side to his work. He uses photo-realism as a sort of an extreme counter balance to the other work. Perhaps it is to keep himself grounded. When working for extended periods in the outer reaches of your mind, it helps to have a way home. Robert has recently moved from Chicago, citing the cost and confusion of living in the "big city". He may not stay, but we got him for now and he is a great addition to Saint Louis and very much welcome.
While we are on Chicago - Saint Louis, there is a show, "306" with work by eight Chicago artists and work by eight St louis artists. It opens Friday, Sept. 12 and Hoffman LaChance Gallery 3100 Sutton in Maplewood.


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