Honoring the painter for her talents as well as recognizing her years as a devoted art teacher all comes into play for Batavia artist Alyce Van Acker's upcoming solo show in the Kavanagh Gallery at Fine Line Creative Arts Center in St. Charles.
"Sharing Color" is all about this seasoned artist's mastery of color, technique and abstract style, which will enthrall visitors from the moment they step through the gallery doors.
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This gallery show runs April 17-May 23. A reception will take place in the gallery from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Friday, May 2, with Van Acker speaking at 6 p.m.
The body of work created over four decades by Van Acker reflects an impressive range of painting styles, chronicling an artistic journey that continues to evolve.
"It's difficult for me to determine exactly when I started painting," said Van Acker, who pursued other interests before focusing on art.
After high school, Van Acker joined the Dominican Sisters in Adrian, Mich., and studied education, math and science, earning a B.A. from Siena Heights University and an M.A. from the University of Detroit.
Once her graduate degree was completed, she finally had time to delve into art.
"My days were spent teaching but I searched out painting workshops on weekends whenever time allowed," she said. "I knew that I was drawn to this exciting adventure and wanted to pursue it."
While taking art classes at Northern Illinois University, where she received an additional master's degree in painting, Van Acker switched from using oils to working with acrylics, which she has continued to use since the late 1970s.
Included in this current solo show at Fine Line is "Bountiful Blue," Van Acker's first poured painting, measuring 65-inches-by-46½-inches. Poured painting is a technique where paint is poured directly onto the canvas and no brushes are used.
"Four other poured paintings will be in my exhibit, plus several others which begin in this manner but have other layers or additions," said Van Acker. "Using the margins or edges of cropped poured paintings also provides me with some of the materials for my collages.
"'Cademy Curve' is a painting from my map series. Maps have always held a fascination for me, and each of these large paintings had its beginning in map studies or thumb nail sketches no larger than one by two inches," she said. "To me, my paintings illustrate my feelings; feelings about places I have been or relationships or events."
Differing greatly from her realism paintings, these poured paintings have a richness of color along with a graceful movement created by the flow of the pour, manipulated by the artist's talents.
"Color is, for me, the most avidly enjoyed and magnetizing element to utilize in painting. Through it, I believe my paintings evoke a tranquil luminosity as they speak of land and atmosphere: air, space, sunlight, water and fog. At the same time, each painting is a metaphor of inner and outer experience," she said.
All paintings selected for "Sharing Color" were created in 1974 or later, and will include a variety of sizes, ranging from 26-inches-by-28-inches to 50-inches-by-73-inches.
In addition to applying a variety of techniques to her canvasses, Van Acker also deftly manipulates the surface onto which she paints.
"For most of these 40 years I've built my own stretchers, which gave me much freedom in determining size. This is especially true of the poured paintings, whose size is not known until the painting is cropped and then the stretcher can be built and the painting stretched," she explained.
Fine Line's first painting teacher, Van Acker has taught numerous painting classes since she started in 1980 when Fine Line was in a small house on Fifth Street in Geneva.
In 1986, Fine Line moved to its current location on Bolcum Road in St. Charles. The painting studio was first located in the barn, in what is now the director's office. Once the Kavanagh Gallery was completed 15 years ago, the painting studio made its final move into a spacious studio in that new building.
"Over the years, I have been experimenting with the constantly evolving properties of acrylics. There are endless possibilities of creative expression that this paint can provide," Van Acker said.
"In my teaching, I learn much from my students, and in viewing the work of other contemporary painters I eagerly hope to continue to explore and paint, paint, paint."
Fine Line Creative Arts Center is at 37W570 Bolcum Road, St. Charles. For information, visit www.fineline.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (630) 584-9443.