Vineland Gallery Hosts Reception for Artist Robert Way
On Friday, May 30, from 6 to 8 p.m., Vineland Fine Art Gallery will host a wine reception for artist Robert H. Way.
Vineland is a new art gallery at 290 S.W. Broad Street in downtown Southern Pines. Way is one of seven local artists displaying artwork at the gallery.
"I'm really very excited about this reception," says Kim Sobat, owner of the gallery. "Bob's work is so accessible and intelligent at the same time. Anyone who is not yet familiar with his artwork will be in for a treat."
On entering the door of Vineland Fine Art Gallery, one is greeted by a group of "watchful" cows standing in a pasture. Way's "Watching" is one of the first paintings to catch the eye of patrons.
"I feel very fortunate and honored to have Robert's paintings displayed in my art gallery," says Sobat. "I take great pleasure in presenting his art to customers, and I am pleased, yet not surprised, that his work appeals to a diverse audience."
Robert Way moved to Pinehurst from Fayetteville two years ago. He is a nationally recognized artist. His work has hung in many one-man shows and juried group exhibitions in New York City, Europe, New England, Florida, and North Carolina. These include the American Watercolor Society, Pastel Society of America, and the American Arts Club, all in New York City, the Freie Berliner Kunst Austellung (Free Berlin Art Exhibition) in Berlin, Germany, and the Copley Society of Boston.
"All of his landscapes are places you, the viewer, feel sure you have seen," Sobat says. "The softness of the grass and the shadows cast by leaves induce a feeling of instant familiarity and ease."
As a child growing up in New England, Way was immersed in the culture of that region. Art in its myriad forms: visual, theatrical, and musical, was an element of the air he breathed. He says it was his dream to work for Walt Disney. When he received his first art award in the seventh grade, his course was set and determined.
During his formative years, Way was privileged to learn the fundamentals of his craft from art teachers Raymond Descoteaux and Norma Safford. Additionally, he was fortunate to gather so much of the spirit of painting from venerable New England artists such as Arthur Herrick and Tom Curtain.
Way's mentors have included Rockport, Mass., watercolorist John Manship, son of the sculptor Paul Manship; New York artist Eve Dawson, and Flora Giffuni, founder of the Pastel Society of America. Much of what he has learned about the art of portrait painting was gleaned at the side of artists Michael Del Priore, Richard Whitney, Frank Tauriello, William F. Draper, Bert Silverman, Everett Raymond Kinstler, and Daniel Greene.
Though he never worked for Walt Disney, and the pursuit of his goal to work as an artist was delayed by a career as a U.S. Army Special Forces (Green Beret) soldier, Way's life experience has provided a wellspring of inspiration for paintings for years to come.
Before and after receiving a bachelor's degree in elementary education and working as a teacher and principal, most of his adult life has been spent teaching drawing and painting publicly and privately.
"Drawing is the foundation of every painting, and anyone can draw if they learn how to see," he says. "I teach people how to see, which is harder than it sounds."
Way has a distinct methodology in his instruction, and students following his technique are thrilled to notice great improvement in their artistic abilities in a relatively short period of time. He has a charming, well-equipped studio attached to his home in Pinehurst. This is where he paints and where his students come for their lessons.
A national resurgence of interest in realism has renewed an interest in Way's works. He developed much of his style and the painting craft while working with Tom Blackwell, one of the original photo realists.
Way defines his style as simply "realism" but adds, "Although it is important to me to capture a realistic likeness of my subject, I find I interpret, reveal and clarify the real likeness residing below the surface of the people, places, and things I paint." Way is comfortable working in several different mediums including watercolors, oil, charcoal, and pencil.
Way's subject matter spans everything from cows to tricycles.
"I have been asked many times, 'What do you paint?'" My answer is not portraits, landscapes, barns, or a child's toy, but rather, 'light.'"
Way's handling of light is extraordinary and radiates through the multiple layers of thin glazes he employs in his paintings," says Sobat. "This technique results in vibrant, rich colors and a range of values that give his paintings unusual depth."
Way was the winner of the United States and Worldwide All-Army Art Contest, and first-place winner in oil painting (2005) and drawing (2006) as well as winner of the People's Choice Award (2005) at the Arts Council of Moore County's fine arts competitions. He was also an artist-in-residence for a public school system.
Way is a member of the American Society of Portrait Artists, the New York Society of Portrait Artists, and the Portrait Society of America. His work is represented in many public and private collections worldwide.
Vineland Fine Art Gallery's other artists include Marie Travisano, Linda Bruening, Dedi McHam, Beth E. Roy, Kim Sobat, and Harry Neely. The gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
For information, call (910) 692-9994.
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