Alexander Creswell "AquaTerra"

Hirschl & Adler

poster for Alexander Creswell "AquaTerra"

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Hirschl & Adler Modern announces the opening of Alexander Creswell: Aqua Terra on Thursday, March 25, 2010. The artist’s fourth solo exhibition with the gallery will feature more than 30 new watercolors, which bring to life familiar architectural subjects, as well as a new group of paintings celebrating the sport of yacht racing.

Masterfully executed, these new works reinforce Creswell’s reputation as one of the preeminent watercolorists of his time. Returning to favorite locales including New York and Venice, he studies the relationship between the land, its architectural treasures, and the bodies of water that surround them. The majestic Manhattan Bridge appears to preside over the vast East River like a conquering hero, bathed in the rising sun’s golden rays. Creswell portrays the water-born Italian city of Venice in its quintessential form—water-lapped buildings, soaring causeways, and splendid golden-toned light shimmering across the water.

As a yachting enthusiast, Creswell’s mastery of watercolor combined with his intimate knowledge of the sport lend themselves to this inspired nautical series. He has captured the very essence of sailing vessels in motion—the billowing sails, the staggered lineup, the tacking boats, the bows cresting the waves. Indeed, his paintings seem to move with the wind. Creswell is quoted in the magazine, SuperYacht World, as saying, “Speeding along in a RIB at 12 knots beside them, I realized that much of what had driven me in architecture was here manifested in mahogany, canvas, and brass rather than in stone—supreme beauty animated by the fleeting effects of light.”

In addition to portraying the action, Creswell is equally dedicated to capturing the luminosity of his scenes. By layering his pigments and then literally scratching away down to the paper, Creswell daringly “sculpts” his compositions. These irregular scratch lines only seem to enhance the magical quality of light and color evident in the rest of the composition’s multilayered surface.

In order to paint the spontaneity of boats in motion, Creswell devised a unique apparatus to allow him to paint in watercolor while on the water. He uses a machine of his own design, which dispenses watercolor paper by the yard, allowing hasty sketches in charcoal to be kept dry at the turn of a handle. Made of carbon fiber by one of England’s top boat-building engineers, the waterproof device allows Creswell to be a part of the very action that he seeks, rather than reflecting back on his experiences at sea or relying solely on photographs and memory.

Aqua Terra is a true celebration of the connection between land and sea. Creswell innovatively uses watercolor—its demanding immediacy, unforgiving technical challenges, and alluring transparency—to capture and illuminate the spirit and vitality of his studied milieus. Taken all together, the end result is this breathtaking ensemble of yachts moving with the wind and of architectural gems and the waterways that surround them.



from March 25, 2010 to April 24, 2010

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