Tuesday, January 1, 2013

EDWARD RICE Fortress Series Essay: Ed Rice Uses Cinnabar Green

            By Wim Roefs

            Early 1960s
            Patrick W. Rice and Jane Barnes Rice take son Edward to see 18th-century Fort Frederica on St. Simons Island, Ga., which strikes the young King Arthur/pirates aficionado as a real, authentic place.

            Early 1990s
            Edward Rice, well into a career defined strongly by painting vernacular Southern architecture, returns to Fort Frederica, taking pictures.

            Edward Rice wonders what to paint next, finds a slide of Fort Frederica on his studio floor, declares “I’ll do that!” and – having painted a fig tree 20-plus times in the late 1980s and a barn almost as often in 2007–2008 – takes serial painting to a new level with 50 paintings along with drawings and monotypes. “I didn’t mean to paint that many,” he would comment later.

            Edward Rice, prior to exhibiting 47 paintings, four monotypes and three sepia drawings of Fort Frederica at if ART Gallery, Columbia, S.C., says:
            “I wanted to do something more symbolic, not so site specific as I usually do, even though it is a specific site. I wanted an ambiguous surrounding. Therefore, the background is dark in many paintings. Dramatic. Like theatrical lighting. I painted it more like a model on stage rather than a real place. No bricks. It looks like a chess piece. All that’s left of the actual building is the façade, and I was intrigued by that as well – just a façade, like a stage set.”
            “Usually when I depict a particular building or architectural detail, I decide on format and scale. This time, I had a couple of square canvases, and that seemed the wrong shape. So I stretched the building, wider. In other paintings, I stretched it taller. To give them distinct personalities. In the end I was using that motif to riff off of, so to speak. Big, small, acrylic, oil, cheap paint, square, vertical, different ways of painting, canvas, panel. Just to see what effects I could get.”
            “Maybe I am just making this up, but perhaps I am trying to assume different personas, breaking out of the way I usually paint and do things differently here and there. It showed me that I can do some things that I haven’t been doing. My goal is to be a better painter.”
            “I was experimenting with what was laying around. Lots of the small paintings are all about the color of the paint, to see what it would do. I am not so sharp on the qualities of color, how color works. I usually approach things more tonally and by dealing with the effects of light. But these paintings are less observation-based. These are more in my mind’s eye.”
            “I even used colors I had never used, like cinnabar green. Someone had given me that, and I thought I would never use it. Then I did a whole painting with it. A small one.”
                                                                              Wim Roefs is the owner of if ART Gallery

           Edward Rice: Bio

            North Augusta, S.C., native Edward Rice (b. 1953) is one of the Southeast’s most prominent contemporary painters. The Augusta, Ga., resident has had solo museum exhibitions at the Morris Museum of Art in Augusta, twice; the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, S.C.; the Greenville County Museum of Art in Greenville, S.C.; the Chattahoochee Valley Art Museum in La Grange, Ga.; and the McKissick Museum at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, S.C. Rice also was represented in The Story of the South: Art and Culture, 1890 – 2003, the inaugural exhibition at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans. Rice’s paintings are included in museums, corporate and private collections throughout the Southeast and beyond. Solo exhibition catalogues about his work include Preservation of Place: The Art of Edward Rice (2011) and Edward Rice: Recent Monotypes (2003), published by the Morris Museum; Edward Rice: Architectural Works, 1978-1998 (1998) and Edward Rice: Tree Paintings (1990), by the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art in Augusta; Edward Rice: Paintings and Drawings (1987), by the McKissick Museum; Edifice Complex: New Paintings by Edward Rice (2013), by The Fire House Gallery, Louisville, Ga.; and Edward Rice: Paintings 1996 – 2008 (2008), by if ART Gallery in Columbia, S.C.


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