For the past year, Wes Sherman has been painting the same landscape.
The landscape has a horizon line high on the picture’s plane, a dark plant with several branches shooting upwards in the foreground and a red leafy plant to the right. Through his work, Sherman is attempting to determine how many different ways he can show this same landscape, but change the way he paints it.
Wes Sherman: Variations on a Theme opens Sunday, Jan. 15 at the Hunterdon Art Museum. A reception, featuring a talk by the artist and refreshments, will be open to everyone from 2 to 4 p.m.
“This exhibition is exploring the difference between a picture and painting,” Sherman said. “Variations on a Theme is looking at how I can re-present – or represent – an image in different ways through the painting process.”
Sherman considers himself an en plein air painter, whose interest lies not in the landscape itself, but how to use it to explore the discipline of painting. He begins his work with an under drawing, and pulls various elements from the environment before painting.
“I think of painting as a covering, maybe even as a ‘cover up’ to the raw and truthful aspect of the drawing,” he said. “I see paint as an abrasive for editing, polishing and cleaning up after the drawing through different painting applications.”
Sherman tends to paint in what he calls controlled environments – perhaps in a park or someone’s private property. “I try to remind myself that I am not discovering (these environments), but they have been discovered for me,” he said. “Composed, planned out – much like a painting. I am there to re-present them through my experience.”
Sherman will teach a three-session workshop on Drawing & Painting the Contemporary Landscape beginning Jan. 28 at the Museum. For more information, visit HAM’s website at www.hunterdonartmuseum.org.
Sherman has been painting for 25 years and his work has been featured in more than 30 solo exhibitions. He is the exhibitions chairperson at The Center for Contemporary Art in Bedminster and has been a visiting artist at several universities. In 2011, Sherman received a fellowship for painting from the New Jersey Council on the Arts.
Image credit: Wes Sherman, Bird Sanctuary 14, 2016, oil on canvas, Courtesy of J. Cacciola Gallery W.