Artists can use observed space, walls, the geometry of a room to define and organize their compositions. Tim Conte and Terry Powers create smaller arrangements within the larger composed scene using the architecture in the space. A view out the window, a slice out a door - these scenes within scenes serve to create a hierarchy of views to move through. The chosen vantage point and cropping - through doorways or from a concealed perspective, gives the viewer the sense we are glimpsing a private moment.
Artists can also manipulate observed space to tilt a scene wide open. In Gideon Bok’s studio paintings, the perspective is fish eyed and time lapsed, showing the viewer more than the eye normally sees. In Gail Spaien’s interiors, she upends tables and angles the floor to expose more of the story. Her geometric arrangement of space creates a rhythm that moves the viewer in.
THE LIGHT INSIDE
Electric or natural, the light inside is different. Natural light filters in through windows, curtains, and doors. Inside light is softer and more controlled, often warmed by incandescent bulbs. Ken DeWaard's Old Boatshop shows us how dramatic an interior can be. A fascinating arrangement of intensely lit shapes scatter across the room. Interior colors are made subtle and subdued, while blasts of exterior sun are painted blown out bright yellow, dissolving the edges of the windows into a penumbra of warmth. Similarly, in Colin Page's watercolor, the shapes of light beaming from outside are the only defined edges in the painting. While Ken’s interior is in shadow, in Colin’s, light floods the entirety of the space. The lines of architecture and furnishings are lost as the room is enveloped in a wash of sun.
To be in a room with another person changes how we feel the space. A home shared with family or friends is charged with their energy and warmed by their companionship. David Graeme Baker’s Saturday Morning can remind us of lazy days of sleeping in, or of the quiet comfort of being a parent who knows their child is resting in another room. Even from afar, we can be consoled by another presence. Susan Lichtman paints her home, yard, and studio, often with family filling the composition. Her husband and daughters are in the kitchen, at the dining table, walking through a room. Her work is about these spaces because the rooms are a portrait of those relationships.