Ronald Watson: A Compact Retrospective
September 8, 2012 – October 27, 2012
My aim is to use common materials like plywood and oil paint to bring attention to the order that surrounds us and, in fact, is within us. I would like to make work that elevates the mind and the heart above the quotidian.
Although there is nothing wrong with everyday life and events as subjects, I want my art to be concerned with eternal questions. What is the nature of the cosmos and how can it be understood? If it began with the Big Bang, what forces were at work to create symmetry, regularity and consistency? I don’t know why, but I am drawn to structure when I think about these questions. I enjoy building webs, lattices, and grids that float in space. They are personal labyrinths and I see them as networks of possibilities. Each is synthesis of organic materials and abstractions of the rational mind.
In art history classes that I remember, we looked at slides of paintings and frescoes in chapels and cathedrals. Yet, when I saw some of the actual buildings, I saw that the sculpture and the architecture carry the day. Usually there is not enough light to see the paintings, but the three-dimensional work is easy to experience. I want my work to be interactive with light in a similar fashion.
Early Italian Renaissance panel paintings exhibited without frames in London’s National Gallery reveal the thickness of the wooden panel itself. The edges of the painted surface that are laid bare add an intensity to the object. The distinction between the depth of the world of the work with its gold background and the three-dimensional world I live in is not drawn with a hard and fast line in these paintings. Instead, there is a somewhat indistinct border that allows me to consider passing from one world to the other in a way that a framed work does not tolerate.
My works allow the viewer to consider them as objects in this world and as worlds in themselves. -- Ronald Watson
The Exhibition Advisory Panel of the Fort Worth Community Arts Center awards the Distinguished Texas Artist Award in even years to a living Texas artist who has shown excellence in their artwork and their service to the community. Ron Watson served as Director of the School of Art at TCU before retiring this past year.