Green Lion Gallery, Bath

John Carnes: A watercolor odyssey

Posted:  Thursday, March 7, 2019 - 8:45am

Story Location:
104 Front Street
Bath  Maine  04538
United States

The watercolorist John Carnes exhibition at the Green Lion Gallery, 104 Front St.  in Bath, opens with a reception on Friday, March 22 from 5-7 p.m.  His show at the Green Lion will include a variety of the remarkable work he’s produced over his career, culminating in his current grid-pattern transformations.

Carnes began taking a paint kit with him on fishing trips to western Maine more than 25 years ago, spurred originally by a love of 19th century British watercolors.  He painted the visual rhythms of cascading streams and the colors of light in the woods, with beautiful results.  

His imagination soon expanded, however, moving on from describing the natural world realistically to exploring the characteristics of the watercolor medium itself, delighting in what it could do on a sheet of paper.  Carnes’ work reflects a remarkable range of inspiration and visual curiosity, including the New England landscape, the human figure, historical masterworks, and abstraction – all rendered with delight in his Gardiner studio, in the Artdogs building.

For the past three or four years he’s been experimenting with applying a reductionist grid system to images, including historical paintings and Baroque tapestries, translating them through his own unique visual process for a contemporary sensibility.  His paintings arrange color within the grid in a way that suggests movement and depth, evoking but also transforming the original.  He invites us, in these works, to consider how a painting or a tapestry can be an object of contemplation as much as a mountain, a bowl of fruit, or a human figure, and how art can be made from it again and again.

Carnes is an award-winning artist who has shown widely throughout Maine, including at the Thomas Moser Gallery in Freeport, the Harlow Gallery in Hallowell, and the Maine House of Representatives.  

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