Thursday, April 21, 2016

Mary Page Evans at VCCA Studying the Way Nature Draws

“I learned by going where I have to go,” says Mary Page Evans quoting Theodore Roethke. “I’ve done this my whole life, and this place [VCCA] fits right into that.”

Primarily a landscape painter, Mary Page works directly from nature--en plein air. She clearly revels in capturing those fleeting sensations of what it looks like and feels like to be outside in the natural world, but her work is also a paean to the act of painting. Mary Page paints with great brio imbuing her work with particular visual animation. This is evident in her line that vibrates with energy and the lushly painted passages of pure, animated gesture. She likes to study “the way nature draws. "

Mary Page has been coming to VCCA each spring since 1991. She ‘s been coming long enough to notice that the boxwoods have grown so tall they’re beginning to obstruct the view. She used to love painting the mustard fields behind VCCA, but then “the daggone expressway came through and took them all out. When you paint from nature,” she says. “You never know when you go back if it’s going to be there or not. Developers keep coming in and taking away your landscape.”

Mary Page likes being at VCCA before the leaves come out because the tree trunks and branches are exposed. “They’re so figurative,” she says. “They’re like dancers.”

Largely self-taught Mary Page has taken classes here and there, most notably the Delaware Art Museum and the Corcoran School of Art. She has been very fortunate in a series of stellar and exacting mentors Grace Hartigan, Gene Davis, William Christenberry and Joan Mitchell whose influence is most apparent in Mary Page’s dynamic brush work.

While at VCCA, Mary Page was working on some figurative pieces in addition to the landscapes. There were long views with the Blue Ridge in the distance and a number of studies of the crabapple in front of the office. She also was reworking a large oil painted previously. Much of the work done during this residency was in preparation for her November show in Wilmington “Trees for All Seasons”.


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