ARTIST PROFILES

RALPH GOINGS
"Tux" - 2002-03
oil on linen
32 x 46 3/8 inches (81.28 x 117.78 cm)

		Ralph Goings was born in Corning, California, and studied art at the California College of Arts and 
		Crafts in Oakland in the early '50s. He recalls that the prevailing interest then was in Abstract 
		Expressionism, and most of the students and teachers had little time or patience for any other 
		approach. Goings followed the trend as a student and painted abstractly for several years afterward.

		He began to feel dissatisfied after a while, however. "Abstract painting just didn't offer me the kind of 
		satisfaction I wanted" he recalls, "so I tried, representation." This involved dusting off skills and 
		approaches learned early in art school and long forgotten. lnitially, Goings didn't take his new work too 
		seriously and hesitated to show it to fellow artists. He first colaged images from magazine 
		photographs and then did paintings of single figures on neutral backgrounds using his students as 
		models (by this time he was teaching high school art in Sacramento). But these subjects, he believed, 
		were somehow too "arty," and he began to look around "the rest of the world" for something new.

		He hit on pickup trucks and highway paraphernalia "things," he says,"that were so common in the 
		environment that people didn't even look at them."  Breaking new ground, Pop art had shown that it was 
		possible to make paintings of mundane manufactured objects and mass media images; thus Goings 
		felt "permitted" to approach everyday subject matter not painted previously. The kind of finish and 
		intensity he developed, however, proved far more spectacular than anything the Pop artists had 
		contemplated.

		Goings adopted a deliberately cool approach. Lie photographed the subject, projecting the image 
		from a slide onto the canvas or paper and then painting it with a kind of seamless, flat surface in which 
		the brushwork, or indeed any human touch, was not in evidence. He crammed the paintings with visual 
		effects, featuring extremely neutral even banal subject matter. There exist in them no romance, no 
		hints at intuitive insights, no sensitive brushwork or quirks of drawing.

		"My intention was always to remove myself from the work," says Goings, "so that there was nothing 
		no intermediary between the viewer and the subject of the picture."  With the personality of the artist 
		taken out of the loop, all that remains are objects and settings harshly and brilliantly exposed under 
		the bright California sunshine. The effect can be unsettling and overwhelming, an invitation to become 
		immersed in the visual wealth and splendor contained in a mundane environment.

		In pursuing this line of painting over the last 30 years, Goings has taken time to produce a significant 
		body of watercolors. These are not studies for oil paintings but works intended to stand in their own 
		right. The artist came to the medium, he recalls, on a trip to London in the early '7Os. (The day he found 
		himself in a small room somewhere in the bowels of the Tate Gallery, surrounded by an exhibit of 
		19th-century watercolors by minor artists. The style of these paintings - all very dense and seemingly 
		overworked - differed markedly from the open, fresh use of watercolor that had been encouraged 
		during Goings's training, an approach with which he'd had little success.

		The possibilities of using watercolor in this dense and highly controlled fashion immediately fascinated 
		Goings. When he got home, he picked up one of his children's watercolor trays and tried it out. He was 
		hooked. "It made me see," he says, "that whatever the medium, you can always find something 
		different to do with it."

		In recent years, Goings has produced a remarkable series of extremely bold still lifes. These feature the 
		familiar arsenal of diner paraphernalia -cream jugs, napkin dispensers, salt shakers, ketchup bottles, 
		and ashtrays. But now they are painted close up, taking on a new monumental quality. Goings admits 
		that for the first time he is arranging his still lifes in the studio rather than going out to find them in diners, 
		"It used to be I had a kind of 'code of honor' never to move anything I found," he says. "But over the 
		years I've amassed quite a collection of this stuff - jugs and napkin holders and suchlike - so I thought I'd 
		try some still lifes in the studio."

		This, he says, has given him a new world of possi-bilities in which he can con-trol the light and construct 
		whatever groupings appeal to him. In works such as Sugar, he has chosen bold frontal compositions in 
		which the viewer is now so close to the objects that they seem to protrude out of the painting. In a sense 
		this is a brilliantly logical step forward for Goings, whose work has always insisted on the supremacy of 
		the physical world and demanded that we look with new eyes at the commonplace rather than worry 
		about the personality of the artist.

		In these late works the objects have become so palpable that we can see the tiny scratches on the 
		chrome of the salt shaker, the pits and imperfections in the glass, the texture of the napkin, and the 
		individual grains of pepper clinging to the sides of their container. Further, the paint seems to have 
		taken on a new richness and density, with an unparalleled sense of clarity and resolution. After 
		producing so many extraordinary paintings in his career - pictures that have uncovered and reveled in 
		the visual delights found in the day-to-day world, Goings seems poised to amaze us all over again.

		From Watercolor (Fall 1996), by John Parks
		Ralph Goings
Back To Gallery Artists

John DeAndrea
"Seated Figure" 1994
polychromed polyvinyl
60 x 24 x 37 inches (152 x 61 x 94 cm)

		"I always believed in the real thing," sculptor John DeAndrea says of his ultra-life like work, "lf I could 
		make it breathe I'd say.'l've done a good days work now! " For more than twenty years,John DeAndrea's 
		sculpture has extended realism, his inheritance from ancient Greece and Renaissance Italy, to its 
		extreme. His figures remain the last word in illusionism, enduring chilly gallery settings with serenity. 

		Yet the artist's own myth is Promethean. His is the legend of the creator who challenges the Gods 
		themselves to favor or condemn his intentions. Deda!us makes a statue of a hero so lifelike that 
		Hercules takes it for a rival and knocks it down. Aphrodite breathes life into Pygmalion's ivory Galatea. 
		There are Dr Frankenstein's furtive experiments and Coppelius's wonderful doll.

		DeAndrea's astonishingly realistic figures are cast from life and rendered in minute detail. Hair is set 
		into plastic scalps, brows and pubes a few strands at a time. The oil polychrome 'skins' reveal moles, 
		tiny veins, and scars. For draped works, garments are taken apart and reassembled on the fully painted 
		bodies. In the nudes, pressure marks on the flesh made by clothing are preserved by the casting material.

		These amazing simulacra are among the most enduring legacies of Photorealism, and they have 
		gained John DeAndrea an international reputation. Usually the viewer's first reaction to DeAndrea's 
		work is shock at seeing an unclothed person in the decorous space of museum or gaIlery. If there were 
		nothing beyond this startling evocation of the human gestalt, DeAndrea's figures would offer only a 
		superficial, transient, and vaguely erotic sensation. They would be three-dimensional pinups, but they 
		are not. DeAndrea's work has an abiding fascination that derives from the way it reconci!es apparently 
		conflicting esthetic tendencies.

		On one hand, much of DeAndrea's work perpetuates the artistic tradition of the ideaized nude. Linda 
		(1983) and Joan (1992) are sisters of the long-legged, high-breasted Aphrodites revered by the Creeks,
		and the recumbent nymphs and goddesses of Titian and Giorgione. DeAndrea continues this tradition 
		by choosing youthful models who are firm and well muscled. They are individuals whom nature has 
		fashioned close to the Western canon of beauty.

		On the other hand, the fact that the sculptures are cast directly from the models' bodies ensures that 
		every birthmark and wrinkle, every flaw, however small will be reproduced in plastic and paint. This 
		insistent individualism and deviation from perfection run counter to every notion of an ideal art. Realism 
		is by definition opposed to idealism, yet they harmonize in John DeAndrea's work.

		In the most fundamental sense of the term, DeAndreas art is also Classical. His sculptures are direct 
		descendants of the rouged, gilded, and waxy idols we know (though we scarcely believe) the great 
		stone sculptures of Classical antiquity to have been when new. The artist's sensibility is at the same 
		time peculiarly Mediterranean-another paradox, for this is an anti-Classical tendency-and his figures 
		likewise are related to the illusionistic madonnas and saints of Spain, Italy, and Mexico with their "real" 
		clothes and hair, and crystal tears. However, DeAndreas figures are wholly secular, with none of the 
		sentimental passion that typifies these religious images.

		Indeed, the poignancy of DeAndrea's sculpture derives from its very coolness, its lack of eros. Dressed 
		or naked, the figures make no attempt to engage the viewer. Even those with energetic or agonized 
		poses remain self-contained, introverted. Eyes are downcast or closed-or look into an indefinite middle 
		distance as if their world is another dimension in which the visitor has no reality. Even the exquisite 
		Mother (1995) gazes at her sleeping child with reserve. It is as if these enigmatic icons meditate on 
		what the flesh-that is, our flesh-is heir to.

		John DeAndrea
Back To Gallery Artists

John Salt
"Tree" - 2001
casein on linen
42.75 x 65 inches (108.58 x 165.1 cm)

	
		The automobile is the over-riding theme of John Salts work. Moving to New York in the late  1960s, he 
		was impressed by the sheer scale of the American cars which came to dominate his work. Obsolete, 
		ugly and yet possessing a faded grandeur, he saw these cars as an intrinsic part of the U.S. landscape. 
		Salt worked from his own photographs of wrecked cars which had been abandoned and left to rust 
		alongside dilapidated mobile homes on the wrong side of town. With their crisp realism, the resulting 
		paintings have the quality of a documentary photograph, recording the feeling of waste and ruin which 
		has resulted from material prosperity. Latterly his work has become more romantic in spirit, featuring 
		spacious suburban houses with their long verandas and parking lots under a soft covering of snow.

		A huge amount of skill and patience is involved in producing each work. A small painting takes about 
		eight weeks to complete. The artist first makes a detailed drawing from slides which he projects onto 
		the paper or canvas. Then, referring to a color print, he paints directly onto the drawing using an 
		airbrush to achieve his sharp focus effect. For more detailed parts, such as branches and foliage, 
		he cuts stencils through which he sprays.

		John Salt was born in Birmingham in 1937 and trained first at Birmingham College of Art and then at 
		The Slade School of Art in London. When he arrived in the States he abandoned his early abstract style 
		in favor of a more representational approach, soon becoming one of the most popular and significant 
		artists of the American Photo-realist movement. He has taken part in exhibitions all over the world 
		including Canada, France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland and Japan.

		John Salt
Back To Gallery Artists

Robert Van Vranken
"Untitled (Icarus, studied)" - 2003
oil and printed matter on board
72 x 40 x 4 inches (182.88 x 101.6 x 10.16 cm)


		"These paintings are a synthesized collage of mistakes. That is, there was never a master plan and if 
		there was no one ever took it seriously...these paintings are simply a record, and perhaps even a 
		synthesis, of billions of infinite small moments; moments of sleepiness and moments of wide-awakeness; 
		moments of clarity and of confusion; moments of hoping for something and moments of fearing 
		everything; moments with music and moments without music; moments of abandon and moments of 
		control -- but all moments identical in dimension to the moment in which you now stand, your shoes 
		pushed down hard against the floor."
		Robert Van Vranken 1999

		These paintings are made in much the same way a plaster wall is constructed. First, 3/4" plywood 
		panels are covered with wire mesh and then painted with a covering of latex liquid bonding agent 
		(Weld-O-Bond) - this helps to bond the subsequent layers of plaster to the board. Nest the first coat, 
		or 'scratch coat' of plaster is applied with a notched trowel. For this first coat a perilited gypsum plaster 
		called "Gypsolite" is used -this creates a good rough surface for the nest coat and is also light in weight 
		After this coat dries the surface is again coated with latex liquid bonding agent and then given a second 
		coat of plaster - this time a standard plaster made with 50% gauging plaster and 50% slaked time. The 
		surface is troweled to a desired finish. After the plaster dries, usually a couple of days, oil paint can then 
		be applied. In some areas additional layers of plaster are added, or previous layers are sometimes 
		removed with a chisel. The painting becomes a slow cumulative process of the addition and subtraction 
		of plaster, paint and collage materials. The intent of the process is never clearly known

		"Inside these paintings, one has the feeling that time has passed, that lives have been lived here, that 
		ideas and events have come and gone, that things have changed. What remains is a kind of tracery of 
		the passage of time, and the enormous sound of its silence. After the storm of time, what remains are 
		not the specifics of each intention, each thought, or each act, but rather some kind of pure distillation of 
		the energy of change itself - a distillation which renders this small piece of plywood whole, complete, 
		beyond the need to measure."
		- Anonymous

		There is nothing extra that you need to know. Trust your own experience - it is exactly right.

		Robert Van Vranken 1999

Back To Gallery Artists

Robert Bechtle
"Two Volvos" 2001
oil on canvas
32 x 50 inches (81.28 x 127 cm)

	
		I am interested in how things look; I am also interested in painting that is based upon how things look. I 
		like to see things the way they are rather than thinking how they can be changed. The richness and 
		range of the visual world constantly thrills and amazes me. I am most particularly interested in using the 
		part of our world which we seem to notice least...that is, our everyday surroundings as we live day to 
		day. Thus, I have painted friends and family, familiar houses, streets and neighborhoods. The paintings 
		are on one level, about middle class American life as experienced in California. On another, they are 
		about reconciling that subject matter with concerns about formal painting issues (the use of color and 
		light, design, and the kinds of marks one must make to replicate appearances). They are, in that sense, 
		a part of a long tradition of European and American painting which has sought to find significance in the 
		details of the commonplace.

		Robert Bechtle, 1999

Back To Gallery Artists

Jack Mendenhall
"Blue Pond at Kapalua" - 2001
oil on linen
48 x 68 inches (121.92 x 172.72 cm)

		In the last few years my interest has turned to painting the allure in an exotic environment. I have traveled 
		to the Caribbean and areas in the Pacific Rim searching for seductive light, lush color and gleam; all 
		elements important to my painting style.

		In that most of the photographs for the paintings were taken around resorts, leisure has also become 
		an issue. I must admit though, that as a Realist painter, at the heart of all this is the temptation to visual 
		alchemy. When I paint water, rocks, sky, trees, chairs, etc. I must imagine touching them, convincing 
		myself as it were, that I am creating these things in the very real sense. The magic occurs when I believe 
		that I have done this.

		Jack Mendenhall, 1999

This web site was designed and created by REDRUM DESIGNS 1999 OK HARRIS All Rights Reserved