Water Air Earth on display

The works of Connecticut artists John Harris, of Norwalk, and Will McCarthy, of Hamden, are on display in a Wilton Library exhibition called John Harris & Will McCarthy: Water Air Earth.

Although the exhibition opened Oct. 10, an opening reception will held Friday, Oct. 26, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The exhibition is sponsored by The Wilton Bulletin and runs through Thursday, Nov. 8.

Harris creates realist paintings of water and its physical properties, while McCarthy paints atmospheric landscapes.

McCarthy, a painter of 25 years, said he uses memory and imagination to create his paintings, which are always of “landscape marshes and Italy scenes.”

McCarthy doesn’t work outside — nor does he use photographs. “All of my work is … from thumbnail sketches,” he said. From these sketches or “first thoughts” as he refers to them, he starts laying out marks of charcoal, then the painting begins.  

Remarking about his technique, McCarthy said, “My desire at this point is to create a sense of place by creating atmosphere. The suggestion of clouds, motion in the sky, a glimpse of distant hills, the water cutting through a marsh, the relationship between the sky and the land, all blended together forming a spiritual inner space — reality, an atmospheric landscape.”

From the Water Air Earth exhibition, McCarthy said he hopes people take away “a sense of calm in these troubled times.”

For his large-scale paintings, Harris isolates and exaggerates forms, colors, and sequences found in nature, and recreates environmental complexities from photographs, memory, and artistic expression.

According to his artist statement, Harris is most interested in exploring the turbidity, rhythm, pattern, and other physical properties of water, and he paints them from a bird’s eye view, resulting in “a series of peaceful and hypnotic” works of art.

He begins the process by mapping out large shapes of color on canvas then details are added. When the paint dries, more paint and glazes are added. The repetition of this careful glazing technique results in the dramatization of translucent layers — a visual effect that is conceptually harmonious with the subject of water.

A majority of the works on display will be available for purchase, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the library.

Information: wiltonlibrary.org