Art From The Soul: Nine Lives At Rocky Neck

Ingrid Johnson, "Loosely Connected," oil and cold wax, 8” x 8”.


FEATURED EXHIBITION
ART FROM THE SOUL: NINE PAINTERS
THE CULTURAL CENTER AT ROCKY NECK
6 WONSON STREET
GLOUCESTER, MASSACHUSETTS
THROUGH MAY 13
by Beth Neville

Nine women painters founded “Art from the Soul,” a group led by mentor and teacher Nella Lush. Exhibiting together at the Cultural Center at Rocky Neck, their paintings exemplify a style I call “Romantic Abstract Expressionism.” (See Nella Lush profile, page 36.)

The painting techniques employed by Lush and her students demand a new vocabulary to describe them. “Scrubbery,” “color-mash,” “scribblery,” “tombstone-shape,” “shape-butting” and “paint-mixture” seem more appropriate than the often-used terms “painterly,” “brush-work” and “overlays.” If the women would contract the name of their group to “artfromthesoul” we will have invented another new expressive word. The artists’ style, method and content combine the tenants of two major art movements; 19th century Romanticism and the mid-20th century Abstract Expressionism, thus my term “Romantic Abstract Expressionism.”

Lush, the group’s teacher and curator of the exhibit, “Art from the Soul,” exhibits two paintings that represent polar opposites in style of the “Romantic Abstract Expression” movement. On the purist side, there is little reference in painting to physical reality and the work derives entirely from the artist’s imagination. On the other end of the scale, the artist depicts physical reality “abstracted,” hinting at a known object, but distorted without realistic accuracy, or Renaissance rules of perspective. Often the artist employs paint-mixtures with sand, string or other lightweight materials ground into traditional pigments such as oil or acrylic.

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