Feature Dates: July 3 – September 28, 2019
Reception: Saturday, July 13, 2019 | 5:30-7:30pm | River Arts on Water Gallery (590 Water St, Prairie du Sac, WI).
Save 10% on art purchases made during the reception on July 13 from 5:30-7:30pm!
River Arts is pleased to feature one of our most long-standing artists, Rick Nass, as well as welcome guest artists Wence and Sandra Martinez. Rick is a mixed media illustration artist, specializing in whimsical caricatures and animals in fantastic settings. His work is often more than it seems, and each time you look you see something new. Wence and Sandra Martinez are a husband-wife duo joining us for a limited time only from Door County, WI. Wence is a master weaver and creates handwoven tapestries inspired by his Zapotec heritage. Sandra is a symbolist painter whose contemporary works on paper reference human, plant and shelter forms. On view for a limited time only!
Join us for an evening on the river! At the reception, the public can meet with the artists, see their work, and enjoy light hors d’oeuvres. Artist talk begins at 6pm.
Illustration or art? As an illustrator, I create images for my clients that tell a story or draw the viewer’s eye to a magazine or product. As an artist, I capture a moment in time with as much detail within the image to again tell a story–more a story I personally wish to tell. Using caricature and humor, my work shows the world as we all know it but in a way that may bring a smile to the viewer by showing a different “reality.”
I have been using colored pencil and acrylic paint applied both by brush and airbrush on Canson Mi-Teintes pastel paper in most of my commercial art career. This paper gave me the textural base I felt comfortable with as I created my own textures with the pencil and paint. For the past several years I have produced my work digitally. I draw with digital pencils and paint with digital brushes and the airbrush on digital papers to create pieces that have the look and feel of my traditional work.
I have always enjoyed drawing and creating independently and collaboratively, helping others tell a story or present a product or service. Working within someone else’s guidelines is a challenge I welcome for I work similarly independently, setting my own guidelines for the piece I am producing. Is my work illustration or art? If I get a smile from the viewer, I have succeeded regardless of how the work is defined.
My life at the loom combines the weaving heritage of my birthplace, Teotitlán del Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico, with my formal training in Mexico City. I spent my childhood roaming local mountains, shepherding, and developing a love for the natural world. Tonal variations inherent to undyed wool and desert landscapes continue to fascinate me today. While immersed in tribal patterns of my Zapotec culture, I began training as a weaver at age nine with my father and grandfather. Five years later a scholarship allowed me to study weaving in Mexico City under Bertha and Pedro Preux at Taller Nacional de Tapiz. There, I embraced weaving as fine art and learned Gobelins, natural and aniline dyeing techniques. Using traditional looms and Oaxacan hand spun wool, I work to elevate basic materials and ancient processes. My own pattern-driven geometric designs investigate pattern and color beyond Zapotec tradition. When I work with my wife Sandra to translate her Symbolist paintings into weavings, we collaborate to enhance color and compositional detail. One of my greatest joys as a steward of my village’s legacy is mentoring the next generation of weavers in Teotitlán. Through the Legacy Project I am able to give back by collaborating with a team of weavers to expand the Martinez Studio line.
My process is meditative and explores automatic drawing and writing as a vehicle for spiritual focus. What begins as stream of consciousness content transitions into layers of ink, ash, dirt and acrylic washes that reveal human, plant, and shelter forms.
One of my earliest art memories is digging in the sandbox to discover hidden layers of clay which I then shaped into objects. My immediate, obsessive response to this material led to formal study in ceramics. Halfway through my bachelor’s degree at University of Wisconsin Green Bay, I discovered a love of meditative drawing that opened new paths for my life.
My wide range of influences included Haitian cut metal sculpture, Harold and the Purple Crayon, Keith Haring, and Surreal and Conceptual artists who broke free from traditional methods and materials. My mentor, David Damkoehler, affirmed my pursuits and encouraged me to develop my own symbolic language to give visual expression to my emotions and ideas.
At age twenty-eight, a friend suggested that my drawings would translate well into weavings. A weaver in Oaxaca named Wence Martinez jumped at the challenge. His woven translation of my drawing sparked a desire to meet this man. At our first meeting in person in 1988, I commissioned fourteen new works, initiating a cross-cultural relationship and artistic collaboration that now spans thirty years.