Daniel F. Ger­hartz

Western Art Collector - - CONTENTS - DANIEL F. GER­HARTZ

Flut­ter­ing light

Weather, sea­son, time of day, time of year, air qual­ity, lo­ca­tion, al­ti­tude…when you start re­ally look­ing at all the vari­ables that af­fect light it be­comes more and more clear, abun­dantly so, that ev­ery beam of light is one of a kind, never to be re­peated or seen again. In

The Pur­suit of Light, a new solo show fea­tur­ing the work of Daniel F. Ger­hartz, the Wis­con­sin painter knows cap­tur­ing ev­ery kind of light would be a fu­tile en­deavor, but he cer­tainly gives it a go with more than a dozen new works, each one an ex­plo­ration in the qual­ity of light, from beach sun­sets to farm noc­turnes to high-noon land­scapes.

“I love just cap­tur­ing light, es­pe­cially when I can cap­ture so many dif­fer­ent types of light. There’s such a story in just the light it­self. It speaks to our souls in a way that no other nar­ra­tive can,” Ger­hartz says from his stu­dio in Ke­waskum, Wis­con­sin. “So if I can be a stu­dent of light and cap­ture it as ac­cu­rately as I can, that will speak vol­umes to my view­ers.”

The painter, who also teaches art, tells his stu­dents to al­ways push them­selves into dif­fer­ent kinds of light, and to ex­plore and have fun. “I tell them not to be for­mu­laic in your color mix­ing,” he says. “There is so much va­ri­ety in the types of light we live un­der. Force your­self to be as hon­est with your­self as you can and al­ways strive to cap­ture it, to cre­ate a har­mony in your paint mix­ture.”

That va­ri­ety can be seen in his new works, in­clud­ing in Remembrance, a brightly lit af­ter­noon land­scape of a ceme­tery amid a clear­ing of trees against a small hill, or in A Quiet Win­ter’s

Night, that uses a dif­fer­ent kind of light—sun­light bounced off the sur­face of the moon—which cre­ates a beau­ti­ful, even haunt­ing, noc­turne scene on a farm.

In Wait­ing, Ger­hartz turns his at­ten­tion to his youngest of five chil­dren as his 9-year-old daugh­ter sits in a growth of tall grass and wild­flow­ers as a but­ter­fly flut­ters past. In the piece, the but­ter­fly, which has un­der­gone a great trans­for­ma­tion to

be­come what it is, sym­bol­izes the great change that will come to the girl. “We as hu­mans go through so much change, and I was re­ally think­ing about what that looks like for her. As I de­vel­oped the piece I just kept think­ing of what lies ahead of her,” he says, adding that the piece al­lowed him to show a lot of move­ment in the grass and flow­ers, yet also ren­der finer de­tail in his daugh­ter’s face, hands and dress. “It’s all move­ment and de­sign. I’m try­ing to move the eye through the piece. I ask my­self where I need more de­tail and where to let it go or dial it back. For these paint­ings I love to use the palette knife be­cause there’s an un­pre­dictabil­ity to it. It leaves room for things to hap­pen that nor­mally wouldn’t hap­pen with a brush. It’s an al­most in­tu­itive feel from that point, push­ing and pulling paint, scrap­ing it off and then putting it back on. It has to read as form, and the forms have to re­cede and move through the paint­ing. It can’t look like paint. It has to work like air and light.”

Savoir faire, oil, 48 x 30”

I Will Love You For­ever, oil, 34 x 60”

Wait­ing, oil, 32 x 32”

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