Opening reception - Friday, Feb. 20 at 5:30pm
The "wild beasts" were a group of French painters nicknamed the Fauves by an unsympathetic art critic in 1905 because of their bold use of color and wild brushstrokes. Despite the fact that Vincent Van Gogh had died over a decade earlier, in 1890, his use of color inspired the Fauves to explore the expressive possibilities of color over the realism of earlier Impressionists. Also influential was the influx of African artwork such as carved masks which artists admired as honest expressions of truth without the constraints of modern society.
One color tool of the Fauves was the use of complementary colors, pairs of colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel and together appear brighter: pairs such as red and green, orange and blue, yellow and purple. Christensen's paintings make fabulous use of complementary colors for heightened visual impact.
|Arroyo Seco, Oil on canvas, 24 x 30 inches|
|Spring Flowers on Carrizo Plain, Oil on canvas, 24 x 30 inches|
In Spring Flowers on the Carrizo Plain, the field is predominately yellow punctuated by its complementary color, soft purple in the foreground bushes and a distant field. The purplish bushes are accented with pale blue brushstrokes, which are contrasted with areas of orange.