Tuesday, July 30, 2013

modern master: paul lancaster

One day, while visiting Grey Carter's gallery to purchase a piece of art by JJ Cromer, I learned about the work of Tennessee artist Paul Lancaster. I've seen some of Paul's art at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, but it wasn't until getting a closer look at Grey's, and learning more about the artist and his history, that I truly began to gain an appreciation for what he does. At 83 years old, Paul is a self-taught artist who has been working on his fantastic landscapes since he first began some fifty years ago. Paul has explored a number of media, even teaching himself how to make etchings, which are some of my personal favorites from his portfolio. His paintings are something to be seen in person to fully appreciate. Born into poverty, Paul's interest in art and art-making began to take off during his visits to art museums while serving in the military. What is amazing is that nothing about Paul's work is pre-sketched or planned out - it is all straight from his imagination, from the moment he starts (which is usually from the upper left-hand side of a canvas or paper) to the time he finishes.  His art, while bursting with detail and color, is a peaceful and contemplative reflection of nature, the way things ought to be, and the way Paul himself would have it, expressing his love for the natural world and reflecting his Cherokee roots. Paul's work is in many personal collections, as well as in the Smithsonian and AVAM, and just recently he had a big exhibit in Nashville, Tennessee called "A World of His Own". While it is known that Mr. Lancaster himself is a very quiet and humble soul who rarely, if ever talks about himself, you can learn more about this fascinating individual and his amazing work in a book about the artist titled "Immersed in Nature" published by Grey Carter, that can be found HERE, or through Mr. Carter himself, while supplies last. It's a beautifully written book with even more beautiful, full-color images of Paul's work that I cannot recommend enough. The images you see here at this post are just a tiny tip of the iceberg, as this artist is as prolific as they come. If you aren't yet familiar with the work of Paul Lancaster, what are you waiting for?