Benjamin Shamback and Nathan Fischer both use metal as a central part of their art, yet the way they put it to use is drastically different.
Shamback creates beautiful floral still life paintings with oil on copper. His work beams with color, as he considers himself a colorist, first and foremost. His dynamic coloration of a simple bouquet of orchids or day lilies with richly toned backdrops result in stunning pieces that embrace the elegance of the style of old masters in a way that is refreshingly contemporary and unique for our current day.
During a recent visit to the Art Institute of Chicago, Shamback was able to see the work of three artists who have directly inspired his latest show; Fantin Latour, Chaim Soutine and Simon Chardin. “All three achieve what I’m looking for in my paintings in completely different ways and I find their solutions to the problem of painting very inspiring.”
This year Shamback’s work is in a larger scale, setting him apart from others who paint on copper, as works on copper are traditionally done on a very small scale. However, Shamback states that his desire to go larger has to do with their “physicality” and the physical presence that can be achieved by a bigger painting, reminding the viewer that a painting is not just about imagery, and “these paintings are not about flowers.”
Nathan Fischer utilizes a very different approach to creating his work. He uses minerals and chemicals which react with the metal to change the surface color of the metal, creating a patina color, allowing for an intriguing creative process. However, this process can prove to be equally challenging, as the minerals can have a mind of their own, often reacting in unexpected ways. Yet this challenge is a part of the creative process Fischer has come to embrace as he continually experiments with ways of applying his solutions to achieve new and exciting results.
Fischer is drawn to the “interplay of elements,” which in inspires the work he creates, alluding to where water meets land or land meets air, then elaborating on the colors and patterns found there. By implementing natural colors and textures he finds something we can all relate to, then adds an element of intrigue. His focus is on capturing “experiences and natural elements that will not expire.”
The result are stunning works of art that seem to dance in the light. Full of depth, texture and intrigue, they make a statement with a bold presence that fills the space they occupy.
“Copper & Bronze” will open on Thursday, October 3, with a special artist reception from 6-9 pm. The show will hang in the gallery through October 21st, and then will be moved to Bonner David North | Baker, for an encore show beginning October 24th.