Monday, November 23, 2009

Arts Flash: Mike Watson

Posted By on Mon, Nov 23, 2009 at 5:54 PM

Artist Mike Watson has lived in Charlotte for nine years after moving down South from Philadelphia. His colorful, abstract paintings are currently featured in the Emergence exhibition at the freshly opened Twenty-Two Gallery. Watson spoke to Creative Loafing about his art.

The exhibit continues through Nov. 29. For more details, call 704-342-0122.

Mike Watson's "In The Field 1"
  • Mike Watson's "In The Field 1"

Creative Loafing: What inspired the series of “In the Field” paintings? Why are the bodies cropped?

Mike Watson: There’s like three different ones. What inspired it was this idea of incorporating a figure into a landscape, but giving you enough information to kind of try to figure out what it is, as a viewer, in terms of what is going on and not showing the head basically – because that’s what’s cropped. By not showing that, I’m not giving all the answers, so you can’t tell the emotions or thought process by looking at this person and you can't see if they are young or old or anything. It’s mainly because I want the viewer to kind of fill in the story in their mind when they are looking at it.

Mike Watson's "Reflections 2"
  • Mike Watson's "Reflections 2"

Some of your paintings are of close-up facial shots and full bodies, like “The Bathers.” Do you use live models?

Sometimes I use head models that I will take photographs of and then work from the photographs later, or I'll do sketches based on that. But, more often than not it is part from memory, and part live sketches from nudes and stuff.

Mike Watson's "The Bather 1"
  • Mike Watson's "The Bather 1"

How do your paintings normally take and what is the process like?

Some work out very quickly and others take months and months. When you look at my paintings they are not hyper-realistic, they’re very representational, because I want you to see the brushwork, the process, and the layering. I think that’s important in terms of the experience.

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