Whitworth University 2020 Faculty Biennial

Gordon Wilson Part 1

Hello again. Today we will take a look at the paintings Gordon Wilson presented in the faculty exhibit.  I am going to take a step back and let the paintings and Gordon’s words speak on their own.

Orvieto from Clock Tower 2 (vertical), oil on linen, 2020, 36×30 inches

I have been fortunate to travel numerous times to France as a part of Whitworth’s semester-long Art In France program. In 1992 I began plein air painting after being introduced to Jeffrey Hessing and Jim Ritchie in Vence, France. Since then, my work has been primarily painting, including painting in Vence at Jim Ritchie’s villa and later in Germany, and Italy. 

Orvieto Arial View (Italy), oil on linen, 2020, 30×36 inches

Four of the last five summers were spent in Orvieto, Italy. Prior to this I painted in the south of France for a number of summers. Once I discover a place that is rich in visual experience and content, I find it important to continue to mine that space for material for paintings. Becoming more familiar with an area allows for a growth in understanding and observation.

Bride, Lake Bolsena (Italy), oil on linen, 2020, 36×30 inches

After my first experience in Europe, I became attracted to places that combined landscape and cityscape with history. When seeking a painting location, the number one consideration is composition, but I am also looking for meaning–some sort of story-telling element/content element. Painting on location provides a front row seat to the subject. The painting experience is direct and influenced by all surroundings. One can feel connected to that specific place and express that experience in the painting. These plein air paintings are usually completed on location over a space of a few days.

Simone Explaining Geography with Spoons (Munich), oil on linen, 2020, 30×36 inches

Part of the plein air observation process is observing those living within each environment. Those Paintings with a figure include a particular environment and a person related to that environment. For instance, in one painting, my wife’s German friend, Simone, is explaining the location of Croatia to my wife using two spoons. Behind Simone is a well-known Munich cathedral and a German train station, two locations referenced in the conversation. Because of the pandemic, travel has not been possible, so I have been going through images I have from the last several years, looking for both rich visual experience and the potential for content in combining images. The next paintings will use manipulated and combined images from this storehouse of images.

Gordon is represented by the Art Spirit Gallery in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho.  You can see more of his work on their webpage.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s