Wednesday, July 27, 2022

"Eye" Respond --- Day 11/169

Walk: Hood/Presidio

Distance: 5.5 miles, small yoga 

For readers who wondered about Ciwt's reply to her sister's marvelous explanation of what 'Leopard Eye' painting and frame means to her, here it is:  (See yesterday's CIWT)

This is a wonderful artwork!  Especially including the frame - which is perfect.  I love that alive but enigmatic eye.  Who knows what he (?) is thinking- which makes him so present no matter how many years go by and how many times you look at him.  And the impasto technique must really bring him/her to life.

I also think you lucked out on your timing.  I went to the artist's website, and, while he is still excellent and sensitive, he seems to be more realist now.  Your piece is more 'impressionistic' and free."

Here's the work I'm sharing today:

Mary Robertson, By the Russian River, 1981, oil on canvas

Sorry to make you dizzy.  All my art is still 'under wraps' in various stacks around my new place.
So I have to send an off balance shot I took while quickly documenting my things during the move.

This is the first work I bought when I moved into my place 40 years ago.  Like you, I really stretched to buy it then, but liked it so much I went for it.  It captured the best of Northern California living at the time - restful, peaceful, meditative.  (so different now!)  And I love that the man is reading - in a beach chair most people can totally relate to.  It also captured memories of the tiny beach at our house growing up where I sometimes sat reading in a chair that looked identical to the one in the painting.  Starting with this work, I began to focus on Northern California artists for my collection.

Peripheral things that were meaningful to me were the fact that I bought it from my favorite gallery and gallery owner - Charles Campbell - and then had it framed by framer extraordinaire and friend, Ed Green.  Both Charles and Ed were 'old' San Francisco art world institutions. 

Here's my write up about Charles in my little daily blog,  

Writer Jon Carroll,* a longtime friend of Robertson, reflects on her work. “I have always wanted to live on Mary Robertson's Russian River. Such an indolent place, so dreamy, like an underwater kingdom. The umbrellas, towels, beach chairs, and the people in Mary's paintings are frozen in time, always inhabiting that same summer. It's a little like heaven and a little like camp.”

“Mary Robertson’s joyous and meditative paintings are are colorful simulations of contentment and sacred play.” Wayne Thiebaud. Steeped in the Bay Area figurative movement, Mary Robertson’s oeuvre focuses on Northern California's Russian River, where she has been painting for over 25 years. The region’s beaches, umbrellas, floats, and figures are iconic in the quiet and intimate paintings of Robertson, but it is the afternoon Bay Area light that takes center stage, as it interacts with the landscape to create the real magic. Her oil paintings and watercolors have an affinity with the American Realists, the Impressionists, and the Pointillists such as Seurat. When taking in a Robertson scene, there is a sense of time standing still, and being bathed in a lazy California summer glow that doesn’t fade.

If you somehow wade through all this, you will have become an expert on the late Bay Area Figurative art scene.   Thanks for the memories...


* He's also Joan Didion's nephew and lived with her for a while growing up.  Have you read her?

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