hidell brooks is super excited for our september opening tonight for david kroll and ron porter. very special to follow up our big 20th year exhibition with another amazing show by seattle based painter david kroll. david was one of the first artist we found at the chicago art fair before we even had a space for the gallery. we both took one look at his work and were in love with his contemporary still life paintings with their underlying narrative of our relationship with nature. at the time he was teaching at the art institute of chicago and after a little southern wooing we convinced him to send us a few of his paintings to show. here we are many years and solo exhibitions later and we still feel the same way as the first time we saw his work.
i paint personal refuges in the form of still lives and imagined landscapes - places to visit for solace, meditation and sanctuary. i work intuitively to create a connection between the viewer and the power of place, the web of life, the idea of nature itself. my approach to still life allows me to work with a number of themes that have long interested me, and draw me in again and again. thematically i am interested in the interaction between man – and manmade objects – and nature. in a painted still life these ideas collapse on each other - and raise many questions. which is more beautiful – a rural landscape or a chinese vase? which is more alive, which is more still? is the rendering of an egret or a mountainside on porcelain more or less profound than treatment of the same subject on canvas? is a nest a bowl? is a vase a broken egg? and isn’t all of nature anthropomorphized in the sense that, inescapably, man sees nature through man’s eyes?
i repeatedly place songbirds, koi, and reptiles in my compositions – delicate and fragile, yet purposeful and assured. a bird rests on a rookwood vase. koi swim powerfully in mid-air, above a blue and white ceramic bowl. an egret hesitates before striking a stoneware fish. do these animals care as much as we do about the difference between human objects and the natural world? and what does any of this have to say about what nature is, or the beauty of nature itself?
compositionally the still life allows me to explore contrast – the contrast between foreground and background, between light and dark, between circle and square, between motion and stillness. it also allows me to work liberally with color – the color of natural elements contrasted with manufactured objects.
for these reasons and more i have found the still life form, often incorporating landscape elements, to be a tremendously rich means of expressing my sense of the beautiful and for exploring contemporary topics and concerns that perplex, compel and fascinate me.
-david kroll 2016
opening in the third gallery recent truck paintings by nashville based artist ron porter. just like david kroll's work we have always been intrigued by ron porter's surrealist landscapes. his fascination with trucks using them as metaphors to tell a story and the absent of the human figure create a palpable tension. when viewing ron's paintings so many questions pop into your head. his work speaks volumes with their eerie compositions while transporting you to a quiet place of contemplation.
ron porter recently retired from vanderbilt university where he was a professor of art for 14 years. porter received his mfa from ohio university. his oil paintings are surrealist in nature, often depicting dramatic, exquisitely rendered landscapes interposed with mysterious still lifes or tractor trailer trucks indecipherably blended into the natural scenery. his paintings explore ironies and paradoxes, emphasizing the dynamic tensions integral to existence, such as those between clarity and ambiguity, spontaneity and planning, truth and illusion. intriguingly, these tensions are as much a part of life as they are the creative process. technically proficient, intelligent, and with a good sense of humor, his work stirs thought provoking questions about life and the enigmatic yet precious relationship we have with our surroundings.
all new paintings by david kroll and ron porter are on our website under the artist page. click on their image to view all available work. the opening reception is tonight from 6-8 pm with bites by reids. please call the gallery if you have any further questions.