When I started trying to promote my own artwork online I kept coming across other people's art that amazed or compelled me in one way or another. This blog has been a way for me to practice thinking and writing about art, as well as learning more about my peers and all the incredible art that is being made out there.

Search for an Artist on this blog (or cut and paste from the list at the bottom of this page)

Friday, September 26, 2014

William D. Lewis

"Bonfire 2"  gouache on paper  12" x 16"  2012
"Bonfire"  gouache on paper  12" x 16"  2012

"Smith's Ferry Fire Ring"  oil on canvas  68" x 66"  2012

"Campfire" porcelain  24" x 24" x 5"  2012
"Match"  oil on canvas  36" x 36"  2014

William D. Lewis has a thing for fire. Among other things of course. But fire is a particular obsession. It should come as no surprise since the artist is based in Idaho, a state not only familiar with campfires and fireplaces but one that has been ravaged by it's share of wildfires.

A year after the Beaver creek fire nearly destroyed the prominent arts communities of Sun Valley and Ketchum, his work is included in a show called "Forests, Foraging and Fire" at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts (Aug. 23rd - Nov. 12th). In addition the artist is giving a 2 day workshop (Oct. 18-19) on depicting fire as both subject and symbol. Participant's will create their own charcoal with which they'll create studies of fire from photographs that they bring with them. On the second day they'll produce a painting from those studies. Fire as a subject is not as easy as you might think. For one thing it is difficult to capture even in photographs making reference material of limited use. Something is always lost because fire is in constant motion. It is ephemeral. And it is a light source, not reflected light. So you have to suggest as much as depict.

Fire as symbol however... well it's almost impossible for it not to work as a symbol. Mankind's inextricable relationship with fire goes back to our earliest ancestor's before anatomically modern human beings even emerged. It went with us across the planet and together we changed everything in our paths. Fire is deeply embedded in our imaginations.

But Mr. Lewis explores almost every subject he tackles with the same dual purpose of observation and meaning. He often depicts various objects, everyday items like the burnt match above which I included because of its relationship to the fire images, but also things like a knife, a hammer, a shovel, a paint brush, and so on. By isolating these objects and giving them both space and focus, they take on a loaded symbolic force. This is in part due to the nature of the human mind which desperately seeks to attach meaning to almost anything it encounters. We understand coincidence and randomness intellectually, but emotionally they don't even exist. Mr. Lewis' work takes advantage of this and draws the viewer into his work by forcing you to bring all the available associations you may have with his subject in order to interpret it for yourself.

You can see some work on an older post from January 2011. And there's much much more to look at on his website: wmlewispainting.com. He is represented through Ochi Gallery in  Ketchum, ID.

1 comment:

  1. Une publication qui ne manque pas de chaleur !

    Gros bisous ☂