Ileen Kaplan and David Watkins.
Taking inspiration from specific pieces of each other’s work and pairing them in the gallery, Ileen Kaplan and David Watkins have created pieces that reflect each artist’s unique point of view. Both Kaplan and Watkins have used nature as a starting point to create work that is filled with light and color.
The show will run March 31, 2022–May 1, 2022.
Ileen: With A Yellow Wood, the challenge for me was to create an abstract painting without copying David’s beautiful photograph. I feel like I expressed the vibrancy, simplicity and mystery of his piece.
David: When Ileen found out that I was headed back to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park in October 2021, she asked me to think about creating some original work based on a few of her paintings. That was an interesting challenge and one that seemed at first, difficult to accomplish. That was until, while spending an early morning at one of my favorite Acadia locations, Eagle Lake, I noticed how the light had changed the color of the water and the reeds. I had several of Ileen’s paintings in my iPhone and the opportunity to take this photo, Reeds and Reflections in Shallow Green Water, worked in a way that was almost too perfect.
Ileen: I knew I wanted Pink Sky to be in our show, but I wasn’t sure how David would interpret it. His photograph delighted me!
David: Spring Poppies was based on a version of my photograph Advance and Nick Sr., that is slightly different than shown. The original was part of an In Camera Movement series that I had been developing. In this case, after I saw Ileen’s painting, I reworked my photo with some additional texture and background color. While some may see that as a deviation of the original challenge, I think it shows how one artist’s work can influence another’s in a positive and creative manner.
Ileen: I loved David’s Advance and Nick Sr. It was already so abstract that I decided to go in the opposite direction and make mine more realistic, while still keeping the wonderful energy of his piece.
David: Artistic collaboration takes many forms. My original photo, Two Green Benches, taken during a snowstorm at Stewart Park, was all white with only the benches adding any color to the image. After I saw Ileen’s painting Winter on the Lake, I, with permission, used her painting as a blended texture layer behind my original photograph.
Ileen: Both of these pieces are a tribute to the beauty of winter.
50% of proceeds from the sale of these two pictures will go to Global Giving: Ukraine Relief Fund.
I was inspired by a Matisse and Diebenkorn exhibition I saw several years ago where the curator paired work by each artist. I have always loved David’s use of light and color and thought it would be an exciting challenge to create some paintings that were inspired by his photographs.
I’ve always admired Ileen’s ability to create a light and color-filled canvas in the most interesting abstract way. This opportunity to exhibit with her led me to focus some of my own work on natural patterns of light and color in the landscape. Ultimately, the pairings in the show reflect how each of us “sees”.
David: Ileen’s painting titled Autumn Gold was the first of her paintings for our Double Vision show that she based on one of my unpublished photos. It was the perfect pairing and the beginning of a several month effort to either create or find additional images that complimented each other, or were based on the other’s work.
Having long admired Ileen’s abstract, colorful, and light filled paintings, the challenge for me was to begin to think more abstractly when out with a camera. A trip to Acadia National Park in October of last year gave me that opportunity.