Here's a secret. The thing that separates good artists from great artists is not talent. It's courage. And today I'm featuring an artist who proves my theory, Chuck Rigg. Take a little journey with me through 5 of his dog paintings and I'll show you what I mean.
The first and only painting I knew of Chuck's was Black, Tan & Brown All Over (above). OK, I get it. He does highly textural dogs in a 70's color palette, paintings that would pair nicely with some Jonathan Adler accessories. End of story.
Chuck is one of the artists of Cape Cod's Truro Fine Art Studio where my sister, Kathleen, works and she mentioned he was having a show this week. Great, I said, I'll feature him, thinking I'd do a simple post abut the painting of the two textural Spaniels.
Then came the other dogs, the ones that prove my theory. These are not re-workings of a lovely successful painting style he had achieved. Each one is something new, something more. Like he threw out all his old paints and decided to crack open his new blues and pinks. To paint on a ladder looking down. To throw the dogs up in the air (metaphorically speaking, of course).
Actually, he says his most recent paintings have been inspired by a visit to the Middle Eastern and Asian collections at the Freer and Sackler Galleries in Washington, DC. "I was struck by the beauty of design, the gracefulness of calligraphy, by paintings which use space as a compositional element and by surface decoration for its own sake." He also recently visited Morocco and Moorish cities in southern Spain, and I think he must have brought back the light with him to his Provincetown studio.
So, now, you may think you get the evolution of Chuck and his dogs series, but brace yourself for one more…
Here is Chuck painting anew again and it's absolutely stunning. As a wine, I would describe the painting as a bold, yet mellow with hints of Freud (fleshy men in a formal setting), Matisse (the window and the curtain), and Picasso (blues and squares).
But it is, make no mistake, quintessentially a Rigg with all his influences clicking into one masterful work. A dusky Cape Cod sun sets outside while the floor is bathed in light reflecting off the Mediterranean. There are the Adler browns juxtaposed with a rug with a detail from a Moroccan parapet. And there's the dog. And this is what makes Chuck a great artist, he has the courage to let the dog exit his painting stage right. Spectacular!
(Note: Chuck is not solely a dog artist, take a moment to see his other works in the show.)
See all of Chuck Rigg's work at the Truro Fine Art Studio's show, Menagerie, which opens tomorrow, June 27, 5pm-7pm.
Truro Fine Art Studio
#5 Depot Road
Visit their website for more information.
And also check out their new blog featuring their Jobi Pottery, handmade on the Cape from the original mid-century modern molds. Very cool!