Information of Leonard Gerwick’s Fine Art Paintings

Paintings are listed by genre:  Abstracts, Assemblages, Drawings, Figures, and Nudes.

ABSTRACTS

Rhythm#60- Raw Umber

I was very happy when I completed this paining.  At last I had taken objects and spaces I could see and simplified them into 
shapes that related to each other across the canvas and maintained three-dimensional depth.  The whole thing at once seem to move.
The approach was free and spontaneous.
Construction of the Deck 3

This is the third painting of an actual construction of a deck along the back of an old 1810 house in Guildhall Vermont. Each time I painted the scene I flattened the shapes more but still tried to keep a sense of 3D depth.

Foreground, Background and In-between

It is an abstraction of my backyard on a clear sunny day. The foreground is the grass in the sunlight with dips and irregularities of my yard in the sunlight. Beyond, in the shady brown area, are lawn chairs and a table amid rocks and straggly vines.

Like a Quilt

Four separate canvases placed together like a quilt show a landscape from four different points of view. The upper left and lower right are from opposite vantage points. The upper right is from the side or perpendicular to the upper left. The lower left is a view from above. I can’t explain the two figures, I just put them in.

Rhythm #4- Curved Shape with Verticals

It’s a contrast of vertical shapes (some as skinny as lines, others quite wide) with an arabesque curving shape above. The painting is in a hand carved black walnut frame made by Clive Hamilton in his Worcester, MA workshop.

Rhythm #17- Watermelon

The subject is color advancement or recession. The two pink shapes on the left are collage and actually are on top of two on the right. To the beholder it’s a question whether the green leaf-like shapes float on top of the large pink shapes or are cutouts in the pink exposing the green behind. The green shape on the far left is obviously cut out because of the shadows. The name Watermelon was made up by the framer in Worcester, MA.

Rhythm #27- Black and White

This is a collage of black and white papers framed in white wood with museum glass.

Rhythm #28- Translucent Monochrome

It is all paper collage with shapes often repeated three times. The translucent papers are raised up from others behind to achieve spacial depth and create a filmy blur. Shadows are part of the design. It is in a white wood frame with museum glass.

Rhythm #54- Drips n’ Drabs

I wanted vertical lines to contrast with the large horizontal forms but I wanted the lines to be only partially controlled. I held the painting vertically and maneuvered the drips here and there. The acrylic horizontal forms are filled over with fine ink lines.

Rhythm #55- Order, Rhythm and Unknown

The brown boxes float across the painting in a regular line, actually in step with the very fine blue line done with a ruling pen. The thicker lines were created by letting acrylic drip from one end of the paper to the other. Smaller boxes weave or dance in arabesques around the larger brown boxes. The large color form behind is just there. I don’t know why. It had to be.

Rhythm # 58- Stalactites

Between the dripping whitish and brown forms, overlapping rectangles make patterns in the icy blue world.

Rhythm # 59- Yellow Stripes

Four wide verticals of brownish color and six white verticals create a pattern. In between narrow bright verticals bounce. Two curving shapes make accents.

ASSEMBLAGES

Assemblages are similar to my 2D abstracts in that the goal of both is to create a beautiful visual order of repeating and related forms. It is a fine art akin to music and architecture.  Paper collage is between 2D and 3D. The assemblage is completely 3D and composed of found objects. Various kinds of paper, cloth, metal and wood are used.  Planed wood, old stressed and painted wood, natural tree limbs and bark are employed.

Rhythm #1- Wood, Collage and Dance

The overture to Handel’s Rodelinda inspired this painting. On the left is an arrangement of wood and fabric. Two vertical pieces of wood and two diagonal pieces make the dominant statement. The middle section of the painting is done in acrylic paint on a canvas that curves forward. It is a series of repeating verticals and rectangles. The transition to the third section is carried by a curvilinear piece of wood that trails along the edge of the curved canvas. The third section is two figures whose positions are vertical and diagonal recalling the shapes of the previous two sections of the painting.

Rhythm #7- Indian Wood

Old planed boards are contrasted with split wood which still has bark and fungus on it.  The painting on the two canvases repeat the natural colors of the wood.

Rhythm #8- The Embrace

Two profiles seem to appear in the upper part of the work. The curving shape of the canvas repeats the curves of the wood and in the lower part wood verticals become paint and gradually fade in the distance.

Rhythm #9 and 16- Five pieces of Wood

Originally I thought of these as two separate assemblages but they seem to compliment one another and I put them together.  As in all the assemblages, light and shadows are part of the design and in this one it’s particularly true.

Rhythm #11- Shapes and Canvases

I always read this from left to right as if it were a book. Canvases, wood, everything is in groups of three.

Rhythm #18- Curved Gray and White

This is a paper collage yet the 3D is the main subject. One piece of painted cardboard is lain upon another.  Some of the black shapes are holes through which one sees a lower layer of cardboard beneath; others are just painted black ovals.

Rhythm #25- Objects, Wood and Nails

This was inspired by Fleetwoood Max’s Go Your Own Way. It has little to do with the exciting song except like the song it repeats and rises to a culmination. I think of looking at it from the bottom up. The bottom layer of rough bark and raw wood is studded with heavy nails. As one looks at each of the layers as they go up they become lighter in texture and color though the materials are similar, always some kind of wood and shiny metal. All kinds of materials are used, bark, plywood, nails, string, different types of paper bolted to raw linen canvas.

Rhythm #30- Five Red Canvases

Three, five and eight are the numbers that run through this assemblage. The canvases, the wood structure, the numbers of of black shapes, the areas of shades of red are in these numbers.

Rhythm #31- Firewood

Everyone who sees this mentions fire and yet the inspiration was Bessie Smith’s rendition of Gershwin’s Summertime from Porgy and Bess.  The connection was her straight on interpretation of the lyrics which to me is the progression of black wood verticals along the thin black shelf.  In back of her was an inventive jazzy accompaniment which I imagined as the colorful wood shapes that wriggle and flutter.

Rhythm #34- Green Rhythm

This is heavy paper collage on top of a faded colorful tissue paper form. Except for the tissue paper everything is in green.  The thick dark green verticals are repeated four times.  The next set is repeated eight, the next sixteen, then thirty-two and the smallest sixty-four.  A green iridescent foil paper highlights some of the verticals.  It’s in a white wood frame under museum glass.

Rhythm # 39- Let Us All Rejoice

The inspiration was a Morovian hymn.  The shapes are in four sets on each level and repeat on the three horizontal levels. The arrangement becomes more complicated or elaborate as the levels go down.  It is in a black wood shadow box with a thin silver liner and under glass.

Rhythm #41- Fire and Snow

It is all kinds of paper, some of which are painted with acrylic.  Packing and metallic paper are used as well as some white silk in the center of the assemblage.  It consists of five sets of verticals that are repeated five times from left to right.  In counterpoint, eight sets of little colorful shapes (some with feathers) dance along the lower part.  It is in a gold painted shadow box with museum glass.

FIGURES

Ariadne and Bacchus

Ariadne, the daughter of King Minos of Crete fell in love with Theseus after he had killed the Minotaur and they fled to the island of Naxos. There he abandoned her. She remained marooned on the island until she was espied by Bacchus, who falling in love with her, proposed. Friends of mine posed for the painting.

Billy Holiday

A model posed for the painting and I combined the drawing with photo likenesses of the great jazz singer. I wasn’t looking for an exact portrait of Billy but wanted to paint her in the blaze of live performing and immersed in the rhythms of jazz

Chelsea Manning

Originally the painting read “Bradley” but when he trans gendered I just went over the first name. The small black line portrait of him in military uniform shows him in the juggernaut of massive military and government force personified by George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Dick Cheney

The portrait was inspired by Gilbert Stuart’s portraits in painted oval frames.  I painted the then most powerful man in America with a mouth smeared with gold.

Dido and Aeneas

Dido was the Queen of Carthage in North Africa. I saw the painting in the style of ancient Egyptian representation. The greater the person’s status the larger they were.

Queen Dido is grand and dominating. Her hand maiden, Belinda, to the right of Dido, is much smaller. Smaller still is Dido’s lover, Aeneas. Though he is a Prince of Troy he is of small stature in Carthage. He is about to desert Dido and travel to Italy where he fathers the Roman people.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

This is one of many sketches I did from photographs of Elizabeth Cady Stanton in preparation for the final painting. This is the latest where I’m working out the final composition of the painting.

Emily Dickinson

I saw the poet not in the white dress she wore in later years but as a well bred upper class New England woman of the 1860’s and ‘70’s. She holds her letter to the world and around her hang in the air six of her poems. Marcia Estabrook, a friend of mine and descendant of the poet, posed for the painting.

Le Pavillon d’Armide

The pose is from a 1911 photograph of Baron Adolphe de Meyer from Lincoln Kirstein’s book, Nijinsky Dancing. I changed the costume and added color. I wedged the large canvas between my easel and house and painted my back yard into the scene.

Lifeguard

The quiet scene by the swimming pool in the early morning at my fitness club struck me. Except for the creeping light of dawn coming through the windows, the only light was the lifeguard’s laptop.

Nijinsky Carneval

This is the first of seven paintings created from the photographs in Lincoln Kirstein’s book, Nijinsky Dancing. I combined six photos from the 1911 dance Le Carneval. In this first of the seven paintings I used tentative color.

Susan B. Anthony

After many color sketches and three preliminary acrylic paintings on canvas, I did this final one. I worked from photographs of Susan B. Deborah Costine posed for the folded hands.

The Bush Administration

This is the central painting of a triptych.  The total dimensions of the three paintings are 72X180″.  The  painting on the left is Man who symbolizes the worker, the ordinary man.  The painting on the right is Woman who as the female figure of Liberty, departs in a growing fascist state.  Please see these two paintings in Nudes

In the central painting sitting left to right are Richard Myers, Joint Chief of Staff, Donald Rumsford, Secretary of War, behind him is Paul Wolfowitz,  sitting in shadow in the center is Dick Cheney, Vice President, standing is George W. Bush, President, and on the right with the gun is John Ashcroft, Secretary of the Department of Justice.

The Creation

I see creation as the interplay of titanic force and extraordinary refinement. John Clinkscale posed for this.

Vice President and President

It’s a question whether the Vice President and President are vomiting or inhaling money. The two separate canvases are placed into a gold painted wood frame.

NUDES

Death of Adonis

Venus was in love with the mortal, Adonis and pleaded with him not to go off hunting. He nevertheless went and was killed by a boar. Here Venus mourns her loss, In this case Adonis is not a man but the environment. Venus’ son, Cupid, looks on perplexed.

Man

This is the left side of the triptych, The Bush Administration. He symbolizes the average person, a worker, who is forced to scramble under a government bent on militarism and profit.

Mars, God of War

He leans against a wall with the names of the wars, greatest battles and persecutions of the twentieth century. On the ground are the flags of warring nations.

The Deluge

Two despondent figures await the oncoming cataclysm. I painted this in late 2007 as the housing market collaped and worse seem to be approaching.

Woman

This is the right side of the triptych, The Bush Administration. She symbolizes Liberty leaving. She puts down the symbols she held as The Statue of Liberty.

Xerxes

He was the King of Kings of ancient Persia. In invading Greece he looked upon his enormous army and contemplated how many would survive the oncoming battle. This is a Greek story and it may well have been a Greek commander who surmised this. An inspiration for me was Xerxes’ aria Ombra mai fu from Handel’s opera, Xerxes.

4 Men

I did the painting twice the second time being freer with color and creating rhythmic shapes around the four figures. One model posed and he took the same poses nude, in dress clothes and in everyday clothing.

DRAWINGS & SKETCHES

Church on the Strand

This drawing is in a sketch book of about a hundred drawings made in London in early 1964. Probably the book would have to be sold complete.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

The drawing was the last of many for two preliminary paintings plus the final one shown in of the website.