LUSH: Flora e Fauna dalla Quarantena – Wendy Artin – Gurari Collections, Boston, November 21, 2020 – PRESS RELEASE

by Wendy Artin

Wendy Artin, From Fausta’s Garden, watercolors on paper, 2020

Lush: Flora e Fauna dalla Quarantena

Gurari Collections is delighted to present Wendy Artin’s new show, Lush: Flora e Fauna dalla Quarantena.

Transcending the confinements of 2020, the exhibition is a treasury of beautiful works on rebirth, movement and intimacy.

An American in Rome, Artin has drawn on her immediate environment in 50 watercolors on white paper.

Verdant plants, life models caught in motion and bucolic scenes of classical sculpture offer liberation from lockdown.

Wendy Artin, Clover Conversation, 21 x 29 cm, watercolor on Arches, 2020

“Each work represents something luscious. Whenever I paint watercolors, I try to make each mark count, to make each stroke of the brush describe what I am looking at, to get the right puddle on the paper and capture life,” said Wendy Artin.

Wendy Artin, detail of Farnese Sarcophagus, 28″ x 73″, watercolor on Khadi rag paper, 2020

The centerpiece of the show is a tour-de-force watercolor drawn from the 2nd Century Farnese Sarcophagus, one of the most important works of art in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The scenes depicted on the huge marble are those of revelry, and Artin shows satyrs cavorting with the women as they gather grapes, pulling at their tunics and exchanging amorous glances.

In counterpoint to these large intricate watercolors are small portraits of live models. Prevented from working in person with her models, Artin used video she had taken during photo sessions to capture them in between poses.

Wendy Artin, Callista Scare, 28 x 48 cm, watercolor on Canson Mi-Teintes, 2020
Wendy Artin, Callista Scare, 28 x 48 cm, watercolor on Canson Mi-Teintes, 2020

“Figure drawing sessions have always been a golden spot of my week. For those few hours the world melts away and the only thing that exists is trying to capture something of the model in a pose that will soon vanish.” said Artin.

“Suddenly the whole of humanity was immobilized.  Forced to abandon live sessions, I pulled out videos of models I had taken pre-lockdown. I became entranced by the positions in the middle of a movement, poses that are physical, private and oblivious, like someone exercising alone, poses that no model could ever hold long enough live for a watercolor to be made,” she said.

 As the world closed in, Artin’s walls soon became covered in the intimate paintings of human bodies caught off balance, stretching and flowing, alive, physical and dynamic.

Jostling for space on the walls were the watercolours of the clover she picked on her daily officially sanctioned walk through Rome’s streets to drop off the trash.

“Each day I brought home a new stem of clover to paint. I had never realized how utterly beautiful clover is, how fascinating, how endlessly challenging. I filled bowls, vases, the kitchen sink…” she said.

As lockdown eased, Artin’s kitchen table soon began to heave with the garden produce from her friends, from turnips to zucchini, with broccoli, radicchio, strawberries and figs in between, and all have ended up in her paintings of life springing back. 

Wendy Artin, Barely Open Fig, 13 x 15 cm, watercolor on Arches, 2020

The scenes of the bucolic grape harvest of Farnese Sarcophagus, the models in motion, the clover plucked from the city streets, the fresh fruit and vegetables are all part of the cycle of life caught by the brush of Artin in a show which will delight her many fans.

Due to restrictions the show will be available for four months at Gurari Collections and online. Due to Covid – 19 the gallery will be welcoming a maximum of 4 people at a time.

Exhibit dates: November 21, 2020 – March 20, 2021

Wendy Artin, Devata Indian Dancer, 58 x 78 cm, watercolor on Khadi rag paper, 2020

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