Lily Pad | WEST is proud to present the online exclusive exhibition Impasto.
Although the impasto painting method has been around as long as painting itself, for many years the goal of the artist was to hide the idea that something is painted. For this reason, many masters of the past eliminated the brushstroke or any evidence of the artist’s hand. Impasto is an energetic painting style in which the artist’s effort is not only present but celebrated as an added level of dimension to their work.
Impasto painting is laid on an area of the surface in very thick layers, usually thick enough that the brush or painting-knife strokes are visible. Paint can even be mixed right on the canvas. When dry, impasto provides texture; the paint appears to be coming out of the canvas.
The impasto technique serves several purposes. First, it makes the light reflect in a particular way, giving the artist additional control over the play of light in the painting. Artists like Dan McCaw and Brad Robertson employ this technique to create an almost eerie aura in their work. Impasto can also add expressiveness to the painting, amplifying the strength and speed by which the artist applied the paint. This intention is evident in The City by Danny McCaw. Third, impasto can push a piece from a painting to a three-dimensional sculptural rendering as evident in the work of Brad Gingerich.
The use of impasto became more or less compulsory in modern art as the view took hold that the surface of a painting should have its own reality rather than just being a smooth window into an illusionist world beyond. With this went the idea that the texture of paint and the shape of the brushmark could themselves help to convey feeling, that they are a kind of handwriting that can directly express the artist’s emotions or response to the subject.
The artists of Impasto go beyond the borders of the canvas to describe the transformation of the painting from a mere surface to a living, breathing object carrying the autograph of its author.
Impasto will be featured on the Lily Pad | WEST Artsy page from September 5 to September 18. However, these works are all present on the gallery floor if you’d like to get a closer look!
Lily Pad Gallery West is located at 215 North Broadway in the Historic Third Ward of Milwaukee.
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