(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – More than 40 new oil paintings by Berkshire artist Michael Rousseau will be on display at yBar in downtown Pittsfield from Saturday, June 1, 2013 through Sunday, June 30 in an exhibition titled Salon Style. The collection of work reflects a four-year, self-guided exploration by the artist into the many facets of oil painting, including an in-depth study of materials and techniques employed by painters from the High Renaissance to modern masters. There will be two opening receptions for the show: Friday, June 7, 2013, from 5pm to midnight, and Thursday, June 20, from from 5-10pm.
“During my research, I found that I prefered the working methods of the Italian, French and Dutch Masters (Michelangelo, Sargent, Caravaggio, Klimt, Bouguereau, Rembrandt and more), many of whom utilized warm underpaintings, subtle glazes, and thick impasto to create complex jewel-like surfaces and deep shadows. I think these methods have largely been forgotten by today’s painters.” says Rousseau, a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design.
Using this method as a foundation or stage, a wide range of subjects from multi-figured compositions to landscapes to the still life are translated and explored in each painting. References from varied sources (classical paintings, sculptures, erotica, tattoos, etc.), inhabit shared spaces offering new meanings in their juxtapositions.
“I enjoy crafting my paintings with a limited palette of seductive earth tones, peppered with the strength of pure cadmiums,” says the 39-year-old artist. “Recently, I have started to incorporate the Christian ‘halo’ motif to give some of my subjects an added grace, stature, reverence, or ironic twist. The interplay of loose and tight brush work and finished and unfinished passages, imparts a sensuality, movement and focus to the work.”
The show derives its name from the way artwork was displayed in Parisian salons of the 19th and 20th centuries – in close proximity to each other – covering the walls, and will be presented in a similar fashion.