EARLY “CONSTRUCTED PAINTINGS”

 
From 1977 through 1986 Douglas Fenn Wilson pioneered and perfected his “constructed paintings,” a fusion of realism, geometric abstraction, and bas-relief. The years spawned almost 300 paintings of this style, mostly works on paper, either watercolors or pastels, and were exhibited in galleries and museums across America. In 1981 New York’s Fishbach Gallery exhibited a collection of thirty, mostly inspired by Wilson’s six-month sojourn to Polynesia in 1980. The image below, though executed a little later, numbers among the best of his Tahitian inspired “constructed paintings.”
 
1) The artist’s first step is to execute the two-dimensional painting. (watercolor on 300lb cold pressed paper). While he is careful to render the upper third as fluidly and naturalistically as possible, he simultaneously begins reducing the painting’s lower half into hard-edged geometric shapes (based on an under-drawing.)
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2) Here the two-dimensional painting, its edges trimmed to draw out the geometry of the lower portion, is nearly complete.
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3) The artist now tackles the process of making the painting’s lower portion three-dimensional. He traces the painting’s geometric plan onto acetate, assigns a numerical level to the squares of color he wants raised or lowered, and based on the numbered plan, creates a foamcore foundation.
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4) Next, the artist, begins cutting the watercolor into various components.
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5) Here, he has mounted the watercolor and some of its cut-out shapes onto the foamcore foundation. Piece by piece, he mounts the components onto various levels until the painting is entirely re-assembled. (Note: at this stage the artist gives special attention to integrating the painting’s realism and geometry and bas-relief into a seamless whole.)
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6) Here, after several weeks, “Fallen Palms” stands completed.

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Learn more about: Layered Watercolors | Portraits | Color Cell Paintings | Sculptural Paintings
 
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