Nashville, Tennessee-based painter Ray Tigerman has always had a fond appreciation of the Southwest, and for the past 22 years as a painter he’s had an understanding of the color and light of the Southwest, too.
And then he went to Tubac, Arizona.
“I never thought Tubac could have influenced my painting as much as it has, but then I really spent some time here and it changed the way I paint,” Tigerman says. “Color in particular. I find myself using more purples, different kinds of blues…it’s given my work a different aesthetic. Of course I’ve spent time in the Southwest before, but Tubac is just different. It’s inspiring and atmospheric with the all the saguaros and the different wildlife. It has a raw and undiscovered feeling to it.”
Tigerman will be showing his new work at an exhibition titled Mystical Circles opening February 6 at Casa de Tesoro in Tubac. He became a fixture at the gallery a year and a half ago after showing in their “short but very robust season, and then doing all of the big art festivals.” He eventually became an artist in residence at the gallery, where he began showing his contemporary images rendered in large chunks of color layered over thick paint.
“Ray’s work is simultaneously expressive and mysterious, colorful, yet subtle,” says gallery director Sherry Reeve. “His figurative works, which straddle the edge between abstract and representational, tell a story. They imbue the viewer with a sense of something beyond the canvas.”
Among his new works are series of shaman paintings. “I’ve painted Native American riders, just single individuals, for a long time. But with these shaman paintings, you can see an arc as my work progresses. They embody these subtle tones, with the colors and the with the multiple figures. I paint with a palette knife so the colors are very bold, and they are put on in thick
Works include Mystical Circle, which shows five figures staggered amid a deep purple land and a muted golden-yellow sky, and On the Trail, which depicts a single rider wielding a long spear that creates a dramatic diagonal line in the painting’s design.
“Collectors are telling me they like the thickness and the layers, as well as my choice of colors. I want to continue to evolve as I work,” Tigerman says. “I also want my paintings to feel sculptural, as if the painting is going to reach out and grab the viewer and pull them into the story.”
The Gathering, acrylic on canvas, 48 x 30"
Clockwise from above: acrylic on canvas, 30 x 40”
Mystical Circle, Facing West, acrylic on canvas, 12 x 12” Spirit Warrior, acrylic on board, 12 x 12”