My primary medium is watercolor. Traditionally, watercolor has been used only as a drawing medium. Very few artists have used watercolor as their primary medium. Those few, including John Marin, Paul Klee and Winslow Homer, have elevated the use of watercolor, creating artwork that rivals oil paintings. In painting with watercolor, I endeavor to join their past efforts to raise the awareness of watercolor's versatility by pushing its limits in scale, color, technique and subject matter.
I use photography in creating my paintings to capture angles, light, contrast and dimension. My photographs are taken from street level, where the public normally experiences cities and life in general, and where I can create views showing the monumentality of the buildings. With color and contrast, I convert those images onto the watercolor paper as bricks, steel, hard angles and implacable surfaces of the urban world built by advanced engineering and industrial labor. I try to work through all possible solutions, including highly representational pieces to highly abstract "zoomed-in" depictions.
I have recently painted buildings historically important in design. Two of those, the Monadnock Building in Chicago and the AT&T Switching Station in New York City, express themselves as a place for isolation, regeneration and quietude, but also power. As one critic has written of those paintings, "[as watercolor] they serve a hard-hat aesthetic, providing the means of erecting skeletal foundation and social infrastructure, [where the paintings] repeat and extend the architectural structure until it loses any connection to statuesque monument and shades more toward landscape, changing it into a decorative pattern, the social world become wallpaper."
Essay by Lane Relyea and Annika Marie.