Viewing a Philippe Charles Jacquet painting is like entering a visual poem, drifting straight into a dream. Cool subdued colors usher the viewer into a peaceful world of a seemingly infinite stillness that stretches across sparse seascapes. Within these environments, the isolation of the artist’s subject matter – whether they be lighthouses, boats, or homes – provides a minimalist attitude to his compositions that borderline the surreal.
Born in Paris in 1957, Jacquet was originally trained in architecture at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs. However, having become self-taught as a painter, he changed the direction of his career for fine art and now lives and works in Pantin, a suburb north of Paris, where he runs an exhibition hall. ARCProspect Foundation has selected Jacquet for the supernatural and poetic quality of his compositions.
The abstract figurative contours and massive land forms of Tony Abeyta dance rhythmically and freely before the viewer’s eye. This contemporary Navajo artist’s visual language becomes musical in character as he draws it from the New Mexican landscapes that he has long called home. Nature and ritual stand hand in hand, thematically stringing together all his work and providing it both a primitive and spiritual quality. While his abstract contours often embody an ethereal, spirit-like character, the artist’s extensive use of deep contrasts solidifies their presence, as if making the invisible visible. They share the same boldness of American Indian masks whose strong lines and colors demand attention, but the airy and groundless atmosphere that Abeyta’s abstract forms inhabit suggest that their origins transcend materiality.
This same element of transcendence is found in Abeyta’s deserts, mountains, and forests in which the earth and sky seek communion, one with the other. As the earthen landscapes reach upwards in rhythmic motion, the sky with its clouds and rains descends downwards so the two may embrace each other as elements of earth and air living in harmony.
Abeyta has long built a high reputation for himself, having graduated from New York University and being awarded an honorary doctorate from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe. Additionally, in 2012 he was a recipient of the New Mexico Governor’s Excellence in the Arts award and was soon accepted as a Native treasure by the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture. Currently, he is based in Santa Fe, NM and Berkley, CA. His work has been included in a number of prestigious museums and private collections throughout the U.S.
Staring down at the ripples of a pond where reflections of a whole universe of lights and shadows seem to shudder at the breath of the wind – this is what the watercolors of Nikolay Ovchinnikov impress. Not just this, but far more. This shuddering universe bears fading streaks of watercolor that suddenly become angel-like figures, church structures with delicate crosses, grand cloud formations, abstract landscapes, and much more. All at once, a sense of ephemerality and eternity embraces Ovchinnikov’s scenes as if at any moment his vision with the blow of a gentle breeze can change, perpetually susceptible to flux. He fashions the illusion of fluidity to a frozen moment caught in time, which becomes the groundwork for his spiritual outlook of the divine world as dynamic in its beauty. Just as masterful as he is in his content, so too is he in his medium as he explores the behavior of watercolors – standing at an edge between the spontaneity of bleeding colors free from control and a stricter command over minute details.
Ovchinnikov was born in 1952 in Gomel’s region, Belarus and graduated from the Vitebsk Art Institute under the art and graphic faculty where he studied under F. Gumen and I. Stolyarov. Throughout his years, his work has been informed by his spiritual and philosophical understandings that have been as much reflective of his inner world as of the divine.
Photo Courtesy by Katerina Sushko
When ancient Biblical storytelling meets Japanese folk culture in the art prints of Sadao Watanabe, one is struck by both a gripping familiarity of his content and a delight over his innovative and distinctly oriental style. Covering both the content of the Old and New Testaments, this 20th century Japanese artist provides a new visual reinterpretation of such subjects as the Temptation of Adam and Eve, Noah’s Ark, the Nativity, and the Last Supper among many others. His signature bold line work demonstrates flowing elegance and fearlessness as well as a primitive quality with an undertow of a sophisticated iconography drawn from Christianity and the stylizations of Buddhist painting.
Having been part of a minority of Christians in Japan, Watanabe’s work serves as a visual evangelism preaching of a Jewish Messiah of a distant time and land who has redeemed the world and to whom myriads of ancient prophecies point. His works are imbued with a childlike spirit and trust in the workings of the divine.
A glance at a Jacek Yerka painting seems to send one spiraling into a series of impossible dreams: boat-castles flying across an idle countryside, a volcano made out of city buildings lit at night, still lifes grossly enlarged to the size of metropolises – the list could go on. As an undercurrent in the works of Yerka, one sees his tireless devotion to detail that imitates the same devotion of much earlier painters such as Hieronymus Bosch, Pieter Bruegel, among others. Yerka follows much in the tradition of these Old Masters, while providing his own voice to his works that is both whimsical and philosophical with a moral complexity.
Amidst the seemingly phantasmagoric string of surreal visions, concrete themes do surface in the works of Yerka as he explores the fragile balances of culture, nature, and human civilization. His works recognize the social and environmental challenges of our times as his art blurs the distinction between civilization taking over nature and vice versa, as if playing with the paradox between hope and despair over the future. He addresses his work not to any one class of society, but magnetizes the attention of all people – from children to adults of all walks of life.
Yerka was born in Poland, and during his career, he has won international awards for his art and has had exhibitions in Europe and the US.
Abstract symbols and markings over a gradient of color and tones in the work of Navajo contemporary artist Emmi Whitehorse invite steady meditation. Upon closer inspection they seem to form into an encrypted language of the earth to be carefully contemplated and felt for the beauty, balance, and harmony they translate of the earth’s land formations, abundance, and energies. Like a cardiogram and map of the earth’s topography, Whitehorse’s paintings zero in on a specific region whose unique pulses and abstract likeness are encoded against an atmospheric aura of color. Far from being a cold and distant observation of the land, each piece is an intimate quest to really know and become familiar with the land over time. Such intimate details include markings that symbolize the plant species unique to the region she depicts, as well as the people and experiences associated with the land itself. As the seedbed for the artist’s creativeness, her Navajo culture and background inspires a reverential bond between the artist and her land, as the relationship between her people and their land holds sacred value.
Over the course of her life since her graduate studies in the fine arts at the University of New Mexico, Whitehorse’s works have been exhibited in a number of solo and group shows across many noteworthy museums, galleries, and public collections in the US and abroad.