Roger Sandes' Work Invites Contemplation
For 25 years Roger Sandes has produced figurative works rich with art history and natural history allusions. After studying comparative literature at the University of Wisconsin and theater at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theater in New York, he began the creation of his art with pen and ink. Two years of living, work and travel in England and France, as well as extensive travel and work in the major art centers of Italy, Portugal, Spain, Netherlands and Mexico, led to development of his distinctive use of vivid acrylic washes and glazes in complex, patterned work.
During an interview for a Reformer article a couple of years ago, Sandes shared, "I see my work as a rich banquet. I lay out the banquet and viewers can take from it what they will." As the article's author Arlene Distler explained, "Sandes asks us not to rest as Matisse (a favorite artist and clearly an influence) famously invited his viewers to do, thinking of his paintings as a big armchair, but to feast."
"The images that are incorporated into my paintings," writes Sandes in his online Artist's Statement, "are symbols of life, fertility and repose -- icons that have been an integral part of art in all cultures since primitive times. I assemble these images in ways that highlight their natural beauty and abstract form and integrate or synthesize elements of modern art and folk art, nature and artifact. By balancing the simple and complex, I hope to create objects of contemplation that will attract the eye immediately and also reward subsequent examination with layers of meaning, with delightful color, with examples of human creativity and with allusions to living well. Each painting is a synthesis of the varied cultural influences that have shaped my visual consciousness. When these influences converge in a painting, the ordered complexity that results is intended to convey a simple message: Joie de Vivre."
Roger Sandes' paintings have been featured in one-person and group exhibitions in galleries, museums and cultural centers throughout the United States and abroad, including in Mexico and England. His work is in numerous private as well as corporate collections, including those of the American Security Bank, Bechtel Corp., Green River Tools, IBM, National Distillers, and Xerox Corporation, among many others.
Sandes refers to his work as "painted drawings" and goes on to explain: "The colors are acrylic washes and glazes on gessoed mahogany or birch plywood panels; they look like silk and feel like eggshell. The luminosity of the colors is the result of their translucence. Each work is coated with acrylic varnish and is washable. I also paint the frames, which are custom-made for my designs and are integral to the work."
Distler revealed the artist's creative process in a little more detail: "Because of the thinness of the paint application and the importance of how objects are juxtaposed on the picture plane, Sandes makes many preliminary color sketches -- 'I can't hide mistakes, or scrape them away the way you can with impasto. My glazes and washes are highly translucent. Light can pass through the pigment and bounce off of the white ground. That way the colors can glow.'"
And glow they do. Stop by Windham Wines & The Wine Gallery at the lower end of Main Street in Brattleboro to see for yourself. Roger will be on hand at an artist's reception on March 7 to greet Gallery Walkers and answer questions about his work.
Copyright 2008, Gallery Walk, Brattleboro, Vermont