Sunday, July 19, 2009
Wayne Thiebaud is best known for his Pop Art images of cakes and pies sitting in a bakery shop display. The retrospective of his work on view this summer at the Loveland Museum and Gallery in Loveland, Colorado, includes those paintings along with other still-lifes, charcoal sketches, figures and abstract landscapes. We were fortunate to be able to see it last Friday. The exhibit even has its own Facebook page. There's a 60-minute interview that you can watch in a room alongside the exhibit. Thiebaud is animated and articulate (at 88, he still plays tennis and teaches) and his sense of humor is as keen as his knowledge of art history.
Thiebaud is also known for using thick layers of paint (like frosting on a cake) and "halation," which is a line of bright color that our stereoscopic vision causes us to see on the edges of a subject in bright light or strong sunlight.
These works are obviously not plein air, but he doesn't work from photos.
"Photography takes the world all together as a source...Painting starts with nothing and has to get something...it's a world of its own. So if you are trying to mix the two together, it's probably okay if you're Degas, who used photographs, but, how deeply he was trained first to be able to use those options. If you start copying photographs, you're going to always be on this flat surface, and it's so easy to tell when something is photographically based. You can't lie about it.
"I just spend a lot of time drawing from objects and people and things, and then, like reading a visual dictionary, you develop tools." - Wayne Thiebaud
The exhibit will be at the Loveland Museum through August 16.