ARTisSpectrum Vol. 31, May 2014 - page 106

ARTisSpectrum | Volume 31 |
try to jolt people when they first see my paintings,”
says, and in his images he uses his sharp
eye for color, texture and composition to seize and hold the
viewer’s attention. Working in a variety of media that includes
acrylics, oils, watercolor andChinese pen, the artist has created
a body of work in which dynamic color combinations and a
strong sense of line and movement join to create a world that
brims with both energy and harmony. Whether he is painting
a realistic landscape or a starkly abstract pattern, Masterman
gives each image a vitality and a powerful physical presence
that, together, make it come thoroughly alive.
Citing Van Gogh as a pivotal influence on his work, Masterman
says that early in his career he would recreate Van Gogh’s
works in his own style, but he soon moved well past that,
taking what he had learned and incorporating it into his own
original ideas and forms. One of the most striking ways in
which Van Gogh’s influence makes itself felt in Masterman’s
paintings is in his approach to colors. The artist notes his
reliance on “bold colors” in his works, but there is also a
distinctive blend of lightness and solidity in those colors. A
dark sky will seem to glow from within, or an abstract grid of
solid tones will gain dimension and movement through the
lightness of touch with which the bold tones are applied. The
resulting works have a constantly shifting energy, a feeling of
openness and space that increases their appeal.
That mixture of lightness and solidity is also seen
in the way Masterman applies his paints to the
canvas. Using a mixture of styles — ranging from
neatly delineated shapes to blurred brushstrokes,
to drips that run across the image — the artist
creates an array of vividly rendered textures. As
much at home depicting the sheen of a pair of
bright red lips as he is at showing us the splash
of ocean waves against rocks, he brings his
extensive artistic vocabulary to bear on subjects
that he chooses for their dramatic impact. “The
main thought in my mind all the time,” he says,
“is to make the painting dramatic,” and it is clear
that Masterman’s broad range of skills ensures
his success in meeting that goal.
Neil Masterman
You Guess Acrylic on Board 23” x 19”
5 Minutes Acrylic on Canvas Board 18” x 22”
“The main thought in my mind
all the time,” he says, “is to
make the painting dramatic,”
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