New works by Rob Browning, Josh George, Christopher Peter and Steven Walker
For husband and wife team Jennifer Glave and BJ Kocen, 2017 marks ten years of owning and operating their gallery in Richmond Virginia.
From day one it has been a dream to participate in The Miami Art Fair but that goal had always seemed out of reach until now. Two factors came together that glave kocen mustered the courage to apply; the first being a founding partner of Richmond’s Annual Art Fair, “Current.” The other
factor was a visit to Aqua last December. “We instantly got the Aqua vibe” began BJ Kocen. “We felt right at home and couldn’t wait to apply. When we got the word we got in, we were so proud! We’re thrilled to be bringing some of our favorite artists to Miami and to represent the
Richmond Art Scene.”
The exhibition” Configuration” is all about figurative works constructed in four very distinct processes. Take Josh George for example, an alum of
The Aqua Art Fair, as he literally constructs his figures out of various bits of paper like maps and wine labels before any paint even hits the surface.
His works becomes textural and disarmingly visceral flipping the script on everyday mundane moments. George’s paintings offer narrative “snapshots”
conveyed with both a sly wit and sensitivity, juxtaposing humor and pathos to present the complexities of the modern American experience. Josh George at once celebrates and critiques our culture, expresses both disillusionment and exuberance, and discovers beauty and disappointment in unexpected places.
His artwork has been featured such publications as Stile Magazine, Step By Step Magazine, American Art Collector, and Society of Illustrators, among others. George's work is part of Warner Music, Nissan, Capital One, Sheraton Hotels, Hilton Hotels, Dominion Power, Landmark Bank, and Limno Tech corporate art collections. Where Josh George’s work has a rough surface, Rob Browning’s work is smooth maintaining a powerful vibrancy. His compositions combine portraiture and architecture in sometimes fantastical ways coupled with narratives that are sometimes autobiographical. Flying figures not unlike Wendy Darling float out of second story window or a mother figure is rooted in the shadows and comfort of trees. There is no question where Rob got his touch of bold colors and playfulness. Browning was a Disney Illustrator before hand tools were replaced by computers which he had
zero interest in so he quit working for the mouse to become a fine artist painter. Thanks goodness he did because his singular work has always
been well received in Richmond and across the nation. Browning received his formal art education at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia (1974-1979). His artwork is included in a number of public and private collections and has been used commercially by clients, including: General Electric, ITT, Federal Pacific, American Airlines and yes Disney Enterprises.
Steven Walker is presenting a whole new body of work for the first time as a portrait artist whereas he is traditionally known as a landscape and cityscape artist. It was such a daunting premise for him that he almost wanted to present these works under a pen name and did for his first work in this series as George A Mallory. glave kocen persuaded him to immediately drop the pen name and to not shy away from his new direction even though it’s a 180 from where he has been most of his career. These new works combine a montage of dramatic imagery layered into a female figure almost like illustrated movie posters from the late 60’s and early 70’s.These large scale oils on panel are the most conceptual and boundary pushing Walker has ever created and Aqua will be the first true indicator of how patrons will respond. Born in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and raised in Richmond, Virginia he discovered his love for art at a very early age. With little interest in anything else, Steven took the next big step towards his pursuit of a career in art when he earned his bachelor’s degree in fine arts at Virginia Commonwealth University. He would later earn his masters in fine arts from Marywood University, where he also met his wife/fellow artist Evelyn.
Since going full time as an artist in 2008, Steven has been included in several local and national juried competitions including the Richeson 75 Landscape Competition, Plein Air Salon, the International Salon Competition, the Oil Painters of America Salon and the Art Renewal Center. Steven also had the privilege of being a part of a statewide traveling exhibition with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. He has participated in several artist in residency programs in Michigan, Indiana, Iowa and Colorado. In 2014, he was selected to create the Ohio Governor’s Art Awards by the Ohio Arts Council and in 2015 he received honorable mention in the Southwest Art Magazine’s Artistic Excellence Competition. His work has been patronized in part by Airstream Inc., Hilton Hotels, the Boy Scouts of America, Dominion Resources, Virginia State Department, the National Parks Service, the Columbus Convention
Center and the United States Air Force. To sum up Steven relays, “I should have quit years ago but that would have proven so many people right.”
Rounding out “Configuration” is Christopher Peter with his stunning mixed media silhouette pieces.The inspiration for these pieces is taken
from his Lithuanian grandmother who used to shine a light on him and his siblings’ faces in profile, and trace the shadow on paper attached to the
wall. She would then label and date it so she could compare as the children got older. She did this every year that they visited, so as a child
Christopher has distinct memories of her house and all these little paper cutouts of their faces framed up everywhere on the walls. As an adult Peter is channeling all these influences from his past and using that same craft but through the lens of painting. He starts every piece with a model, a photograph, or a pre-existing found image, and sets his composition from there. The surface prep, priming, underpainting, collage, painting, varnish, stretching and wiring is all done by Christopher even making his own paint, so each piece is completely a unique handmade work. The underpainting or collage elements (this can be acrylic paint, handmade papers, vintage book pages, road maps, etc.) that are visible within the silhouette, cover the entire canvas at one stage, and the silhouette is painted on top of this surface. It is a painting within a painting, story within a story, or a frame within a frame. Once the underpainting is complete, Peter starts layering white over it and covering things up...so the finished piece is just as much about what is shown as is
what is concealed. Born in 1987, Christopher Peter grew up in Phoenix and spent his childhood endlessly doodling in his sketchbooks. As a
teenager, his dedication to his craft earned him scholarships to pursue two degrees in drawing and painting. This is where he developed a love
for figurative painting and abstraction.