Being ‘painterly’

MARSHALL – When visitors stop by the Southwest Minnesota Arts Council gallery until the end of August, they may recognize some of the places in the paintings, like Holy Redeemer Church and the Marshall Depot.

Works by Hutchinson artist Curtis Gander will be on display through Aug. 29 at the Southwest Minnesota Arts Council gallery.

Gander said he’s been creating art since childhood.

“I have always enjoyed representational drawing and learned oil painting from a book when I was 13 years old,” Gander said. “I enjoy the entire creation process from conceptualization to finished work. There is a unique idea or feeling that I attempt to capture from every work that I execute.”

Gander considers most of his paintings to be “painterly.”

“That means the brushwork is apparent and generally loose,” he said. “In many pieces, I strive for economy of brushwork; that is to say, the least amount of paint strokes for the maximum information that can be realized. My pieces vary in the degree this is done, but I strive to not paint too tight. I avoid overpainting so the view is often left to fill in the blanks.”

His reason for using this style, Gander said, is to hopefully create images that have life and energy.

“There are one or two more detailed paintings that I have included for variety,” he said. “I have recently done several twilight scenes because I find them evocative and more unified in tone and value; there is also the challenge they pose with capturing the correct colors and values.”

Gander said he enjoys how the brain reacts to this style of representational painting, it completes the paintings for him so that they are often perceived to be more detailed than they are in actuality.

“I like the challenge of creating believable representations by using proper geometry, color and value, as well as the creative process of changing or interpreting these same elements,” he said.

Gander recently completed some plein air paintings that are painted outside from like. This method was used by the Impressionists among others and is making a resurgence with contemporary painters, he said.

“It is a challenge to paint with changing lighting conditions, but it is the best way to match the actual local colors, and it lends itself to my style of painting,” he said.

Last year, Gander had a show titled “A Hutchinson Perspective,” where he wanted to do paintings of locally recognizable scenes that the local community could relate to.

“It was very well received for that reason,” he said. “Each painting also had a written description of the artistic process I went through to create the piece.” There were 40 pieces in the show, he said, and that has led to several commissioned pieces.

Gander had received a grant through the Southwest Minnesota Arts Council for the Hutchinson series and was asked to do a show in Marshall. Because the local scenes were so well received in his Hutchinson show, he wanted to do the same thing on a smaller scale in Marshall.

Gander has studied the works of both the past master painters and contemporary artists. Masters that he admires include Edward Hopper, John Singer Sargent and Anders Zorn. Gander said he likes works by such contemporary artists as Marc Hanson, Kim English and Richard Schmid.

“I am continually learning and refining and trying new techniques and subject matter,” he said. “I hope many from the Marshall area can stop by the SMAC studio and see my work.”