The two painters in this exhibit through Saturday May 21 at Thomas Deans gallery on Miami Circle offer similarities only in their obvious command of their mediums. Photos of individual works courtesy of Thomas Deans Fine Art.
The press release offers this synopsis: Scott Upton creates abstract paintings that sometimes project the atmosphere of landscape. Cathryn Miles creates landscapes that border on geometric abstractions. Both artists display a rare mastery of color and form.
Cathryn Miles works with a palette knife and brush in broad planed strokes in a mostly horizontal or square format. “Abstract shapes, aerial perspective, flat patterning, and traditional perspective have all contributed to my developing style”, writes Miles. It’s satisfying to see paint handled so well, Miles boldly slabs her canvases with pigment. She states in her bio that she has been influenced by Diebenkorn, German Expressionism and the Bay Area figurative artists that include David Park and Elmer Bischoff. She has also spent time over the past six years in Oaxaca, Mexico. While most of her work in this exhibition has an intensely blue palette, I am curious whether Oaxaca native and renowned painter Rufino Tamayo and his brilliant reds and oranges will at some point surface and creep into the color spectrum of her work.
Miles has an MFA from the University of Houston and a BFA from the Atlanta College of Art. She taught design and color theory at Kennesaw State University’s School of Art and Design from 1994 to 2004, and has taught painting and design at both Georgia Perimeter College and the Art Institute of Atlanta. Now that Miles has retired, she is painting full time, find her site here. She has been exhibiting in Atlanta for many years and is represented by Thomas Deans here.
An extremely competent colorist, Miles judiciously uses cadmium red for emphasis along a diagonal or horizontal plane.
Morning Heat is one of the few paintings in this exhibit that breaks from Miles’ azure/cobalt/ultramarine palette to offer more oranges, ochres and earthy greens that echo Diebenkorn’s series of work from New Mexico. Whether the painting was created in Oaxaca is not noted, but it would be intriguing to see more in this vein.
Miles’ darker gestural slashes serve to divide and determine horizon, sky, and land in the broad forms of these landscapes, much like Richard Diebenkorn’s diagonal thrusts from his Berkeley series.
Scott Upton has had his work featured in film and television, with a history of exhibiting in Atlanta and the Southeast since the late 1970s. His almost meditative paintings elicit comparisons to Mark Rothko and JMW Turner’s late abstractions. As with those artists and more contemporary ones like artist Olafur Eliasson (who based a series of color experiments on Turner’s work), Upton agrees on the importance of luminosity: “For me, light is the unifying force, transforming everything it touches by banishing darkness and encouraging renewal.” Upton explores an existential realm in these calm works, suggesting that “in addition to the beauty”, light can offer feelings of hope and peace.
One is drawn in close to discover texture and layers of colors in the works that elude from a distance. Red flecks might appear in an underlayer, while the topmost layer seems to have been scraped and sanded down. Upton’s multiple layers of acrylic paint both conceal and reveal reflective silver and gold leaf through his proprietary varnish. I haven’t witnessed this with his work since I was only at the gallery during an afternoon, but during different times of day, the reflective properties might add to changes in hue. Although he claims to paint fairly quickly, the work demands contemplation and a break from the multitasking that is ubiquitous in most lives today.
Upton has a website showing his painting, with reviews from both Atlanta based art critic Jerry Cullum and Richard Maschal, author and retired arts and architecture critic for the Charlotte Observer.
Scott Upton received his BFA from the University of North Carolina and attended the Art Institute of Atlanta. He has exhibited at the Asheville Art Museum in North Carolina and the Art Institute of Atlanta. His work is in many collections, including the Knoxville (TN) Museum of Art, Four Seasons Hotel, Atlanta, the Arthur Blank Foundation in Atlanta, Northside Hospital of Atlanta and the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. He is also represented by Thomas Deans Fine Art in Atlanta.
From the Earth, mixed media on canvas 48×36 inches
Thomas Deans Fine Art, 690 Miami Circle NE #905, Atlanta, GA 30324
T: 404 814-1811 F: 404 814-1812
Gallery Hours: Monday-Saturday, 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.