The Peacock Kimono by Evan Wilson
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Evan Wilson's love affair with exotic textiles started as a young art student studying the "Old Masters" such as Peter Paul Rubens, Rembrandt, and van Dyck, as well as many of the great Italian masters like Michelangelo and Leonardo. While emulating these artists, Wilson became fascinated with their ability to capture the metallic glint of a button, or the intricate detail in the clothes worn by royalty in their portraits. "From the very beginning of my career, I have tried to incorporate beautiful textiles of this sort whenever the opportunity arises," states the artist. In this striking portrait, a young girl is wearing a traditional Japanese wedding kimono. This kimono shows a repeating pattern of colorful peacocks with very intricate embroidery, and even gold threads on the feathers. The bright tangerine sash complements the colors of the kimono. The concept for this image celebrates the Orientalist movement of Western painters such as Whistler and Sargent, who were infatuated with kimonos and featured them in their paintings.
About The Artist
Evan Wilson exhibited an interest in and a talent for art at an early age. The young, budding artist was provided with painting materials by a family friend, inspiring a creative journey that would be the lifelong pursuit of his calling.
Wilson has a well-rounded education in art, enabling him to hone his outstanding skills. In 1971, the artist enrolled at the prestigious North Carolina School of the Arts, where he experimented with various styles and also completed high school. He then attended the Maryland Institute’s College of Art in Baltimore, which brought him under the tutelage of Joseph Sheppard, an internationally-known realist painter. Sheppard became Wilson’s lifelong mentor; under his training, the artist began his evolution as a realist painter. After college, Wilson studied at the Schuler School of Fine Arts in Baltimore. In 1978, an exciting opportunity enhanced Wilson’s education when he was awarded the Greenshields Foundation grant to study painting in Florence, Italy. Since the early days of Wilson’s education and throughout his stellar career, he has refined his technique, using broad brushstrokes to create paintings that are immediate and of the moment.
A master of painting light and its effects on objects, Wilson often incorporates swatches of sunlight in his interiors. The artist has a command of extraordinary skills that allow him to take everyday objects and scenes and make them elegant. Wilson says, "….the fun comes when playing with traditional concepts to create something entirely new.” The artist will take casual as sunflowers and place them in silver and porcelain vases for a fresh interpretation.
Wilson’s strong traditional training to paint what he sees enabled him to paint a wide array of subjects. The artist continually seeks new subjects and vibrant ways to depict them; his favorite canvases capture interiors, florals, figures, landscapes, and portraits. He extended the realism tradition into a new realm by painting a series of scenes depicting baptisms in the famous Gees Bend area of his home state of Alabama. These works have a timeless, spiritual quality that viewers respond to with emotion. In 2001, one of these paintings was featured in a solo exhibition at the Huntsville Museum of Art, becoming part of the museum’s permanent collection.
The artist remains true to his mission to bring realist painting back to the forefront of American art. He recently participated in organizing an exhibition titled "Legacy: A Tradition Lives On,” which is on a three-year, nationwide tour of museums. Wilson’s works are exhibited with eleven other artists.
Wilson has had numerous solo showings across the country and participated in many group exhibits from north to south and east to west in America. The artist’s many honors and awards commenced in 1978 and have continued; in 2006, he received the William Bouguereau Award for Emotion, Theme and The Figure at the Art Renewal Center’s Annual Salon. His works are represented in galleries in Nantucket, Charleston, and New Orleans. Wilson’s paintings are in the collections of several public institutions.
The artist and his family reside in upstate New York in an early 19th-century home, which is often the subject of his paintings. He also returns to Alabama for inspiration for many of his images.
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