By Frederica Kolwey
The new exhibit at Turner Fine Art asks viewers to focus on similarities and common ground rather than on differences, both in the artwork and in the relationships it represents.
From 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Turner Fine Art will host an artists’ reception for “Both Sides of the Fence,” a new gallery show featuring work by Ray Brown and Kyle Paliotto. The exhibit juxtaposes Brown’s charcoal wildlife drawings and Paliotto’s oil paintings of agrarian landscapes and domesticated animals, exploring the two genres and mediums as well as symbolizing an unlikely friendship and collaboration.
Paliotto said that in the art world there is a figurative line — fence — between wildlife and landscape artists, making him and Brown unlikely collaborators. But displaying their work under the same roof offers people the chance to compare and contrast the genres.
“We shouldn’t really play together, but we do,” Paliotto said. “At the end of the day we want to say the same thing. We just find different ways to do it.”
Paliotto is a lifelong painter who paints landscapes simply because he likes to spend time outside. In landscape artwork, and particularly the agrarian scenes he paints, Paliotto is drawn to the balance between the natural world and humanity’s management of it.
“I think there’s a harmony there that the land needs to be worked, it needs to be taken care of, but it also produces for us, so it’s this huge resource,” he said.
Many of his paintings depict farm animals, including horses, chickens and cows. Paliotto owns ranch animals himself.
“As an artist I try to fill my life with things that inspire me,” Paliotto said. “I hope other people see the beauty in it when I paint it and that they enjoy it as much as I do.”
Paliotto uses oil paints for their bright color and malleability. They can be very thick, but with enough paint thinner they can also become very thin, almost like watercolor.
“I love the vibrancy of the paint,” he said.
One of the simplest ways Paliotto’s and Brown’s work differs is in color palette. While Paliotto uses vibrant colors, Brown draws in black and white. Also a lifelong artist, Brown enjoys his medium for the challenge and the simplicity of charcoal and pencil.
“There’s not a lot of magic,” Brown said. “It’s just scratching on a piece of paper with a stick.
“My favorite compliment is [when] people … say to me, “That’s just a pencil?’”
Brown and Paliotto first met in South Carolina at a wildlife art show, where they were placed next to each other as booth-mates.
Brown draws wildlife for much the same reason Paliotto paints farm landscapes. He likes being outside. One of his drawings of three bighorn sheep came from a trip to Jasper National Park in Canada. Brown and a friend spent almost four hours sitting on a bluff observing and photographing a herd of bighorn.
They stayed for so long that the sheep moved to surround them, just meandering around and being themselves. In his drawings Brown tries to communicate the same feelings he has when he’s in nature.
“That’s sort of the importance of art I guess: It gives people a window into something that may be right in front of them, but a window to a way they’ve never looked at it,” he said.
The trip to Canada inspired him to draw the piece “Hall of the Mountain Kings.”
“It was this uplifting, top of the mountain, stronger than you kind of feeling,” Brown said.
Placing these two artists and friends in the same exhibit not only compares their subjects and mediums but also asks bigger questions about finding friendship and beauty no matter what side of the fence one is on.
“Can’t both sides of the fence be just as important or beautiful or exciting?” Brown asked. ￼READ THE ARTICLE ON JH NEWS & GUIDE