Richard J. Watson
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STATEMENT . BIO . PRESS RELEASE .

EDUCATION .
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RW_1. Balancing Act II
RW_10. Day Scape 2
RW_11. Family Ties
RW_12. Flower Man
RW_13. Refuge
RW_14. Relaxed Movement
RW_15. Young Believer
RW_16. Moving Forward
RW_2. In Another Life
RW_3. Inner Thoughts
RW_4. Peaceful Flow
RW_5. The Way Home
RW_6. Thinking Things Through
RW_7. Tranquil Bloom
RW_8. Visitor At The Stream
RW_9. Day Scape 1

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“I approach subjects that are embraced universally by all people that have lived the quality of life that leaves them something to hold onto. “I want you to see that every story I attempt to tell in my paintings is connected somehow to our story which is part of the American fabric. I paint from the essence of my memories compounded by my experience and I believe that as an American Painter I do have a story to tell”.

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"AMERICAN PAINTER" 2009

Artist Richard J. Watson is one of many artists that had the opportunity to study at the prestigious Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. Tradition and technical expertise are some of the benchmark skills that the select few that study at PAFA receive and are always embedded somewhere somehow in their work. Speak with any PAFA alumnus and you will have a true sense that their training provided the ability for them to become academically proficient in their approach to making art. Richard Watson took his PAFA training and academician skills and throughout the course of over 35 years has applied them slightly differently on mediums and subject matter such as watercolor, collage, oils, representational and landscape oriented work. He has acquired many different artistic voices as well that pass through the prisms of powerful messages, storytelling and a constant longing tied to his North Carolina beginnings. Looking at these inspirations for his work, Watson’s landscapes particularly and consistently set him apart from the stark reality of traditionalism.

In his latest solo exhibition, “American Painter”, Richard Watson continues to provide his personal vision and view of how he sees the world and himself as a painter. Predominantly an exhibition of wondrous landscapes, Watson seals the deal with his unique signature; that unmistakable richness of the sky. As a colorist, Watson’s palette and pension for skies in his paintings provide the emotional attachment that makes you acknowledge his presence as an American Painter while simultaneously tearing a little piece of his essence and life experience as African American born in the tradition of the South and taught in the tradition of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. For example, “Refuge” oil on canvas gives the feeling of refuge, hope and possibility in the distance infused in an orange dream quality sky and giving the viewer a juxtaposition reminding you that there are still dreams unfulfilled and a longing to resolve our internal conflict.

Watson also uses his exhibition “American Painter” to continue to differentiate his landscapes. He does so effortlessly with his painting, “Family Ties” which becomes portrait like. He mutes the sky, bringing forth just enough detail to establish an interest in the distance and out pops a true Southern gentleman figure. Watson makes full use of him as his muse. “I want you to see that every story I attempt to tell in my paintings is connected somehow to our story which is part of the American fabric”, Watson says. I paint from the essence of my memories compounded by my experience and I believe that as an American Painter I do have a story to tell.” What do three African American painters in the fall of 2009 in Philadelphia have in common? The talented PAFA alumnus trio led by internationally known painter Barkley Hendricks and accompanied by artist Richard J. Watson and James Brantley are exhibiting from October through December 2009. Each artist has taken their prestigious training and done something slightly different and perhaps unexpected; creating work that deserves acknowledgement. Richard J. Watson fits in the trio just perfectly.

"BLACK & WHITE DREAMS IN COLOR" 2007

Artist, Richard J. Watson shares in the rich art history of Philadelphia. Philadelphia’s art history known to be both main stream yet politically oriented and the racially charged climate of the 1960’s throughout the nation shaped Watson’s footprints as a Fine Art Artist.

Academically trained at the most prestigious art institution, The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, (the nation’s oldest Art Museum and School of Fine Arts) Richard Watson’s artistic footprint began it’s earliest form as a young boy in North Carolina. His memories of his time in North Carolina with his family flood his lavish oil landscapes. Watson’s southern roots and beginnings fuel each brushstroke. Watson’s artistic spirit and reference is inspired from master artists such as Henry Tanner and particularly Palmer Hayden. Both Hayden and Watson’s landscapes are ensconced in the environmental feel of the South and its impact on African Americans. Richard Watson further enhances a surrealistic component in many of his landscapes that intimately share feelings of warmth, yearning, disappointment and kindred joy.

Making his way through politics and the racial divide that existed in Philadelphia and throughout the nation, Richard joined Recherché in 1983, the Philadelphia African American artists group that just like AfriCobra, fostered the elevation and recognition of African American artistic talents such as Charles Searles, Andrew Turner and Moe Brooker and many more Philadelphia based artists. Always influenced by his environment, Watson began working in different mediums and particularly was fond of collage and mixed media as an outlet to express the social commentary that surrounded him. This includes historical references and content of African American history and culture in the Philadelphia community.

Richard Watson’s most recent body of work, “Black And White Dreams in Color” primarily focused on landscapes, gives clues to where and when Watson obtains his inspiration. “The night has always brought about a world of mystery — of places never visited. Yet it is there that the gift of vision allows me to mold and shape the dreamlike states into visions of my past. Most of my works are supported by memories and suggested realities. Issues of social politics are presented with fragmented elements of “real life” collaged and collapsed, as dreams are prone to do. If connections are made, all the better. Life should remind us of our dreams”.

Richard Watson works can be found in both public and private collections throughout the United States such as Sprint Corporation, Independence Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Pennsylvania, The Sorgenti Collection of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and many others. Watson is currently the Exhibitions Curator at The African American Museum in Philadelphia.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CONTACT: Pamela Brown ArtJaz Gallery 53 N. 2nd Street Philadelphia, PA 19106 215-922-4800 Email: info@artjaz.com www.artjaz.com

Philadelphia, PA., October 26, 2009, ArtJaz Gallery is pleased to announce Richard J. Watson in his solo exhibition, entitled “American Painter”. New paintings will be on exhibit, November 5- through December 12th. A preview reception will be held on Thursday, November 5th from 6-8pm and a First Friday reception held on Friday, November 6th 5pm- 8pm.

In his latest solo exhibition, “American Painter”, Richard Watson continues to provide his personal vision and view of how he sees the world and himself as a painter. Predominantly an exhibition of wondrous landscapes, Watson seals the deal with his unique signature; that unmistakable richness of the sky. As a colorist, Watson’s palette and pension for skies in his paintings provide the emotional attachment that makes you acknowledge his presence as an American Painter while simultaneously tearing a little piece of his essence and life experience as African American born in the tradition of the South and taught in the tradition of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. For example, “Refuge” oil on canvas gives the feeling of refuge, hope and possibility in the distance infused in an orange dream quality sky and giving the viewer a juxtaposition reminding you that there are still dreams unfulfilled and a longing to resolve our internal conflict.

Watson also uses his exhibition “American Painter” to continue to differentiate his landscapes. He does so effortlessly with his painting, “Family Ties” which becomes portrait like. He mutes the sky, bringing forth just enough detail to establish an interest in the distance and out pops a true Southern gentleman figure. Watson makes full use of him as his muse. “I want you to see that every story I attempt to tell in my paintings is connected somehow to our story which is part of the American fabric”, Watson says. I paint from the essence of my memories compounded by my experience and I believe that as an American Painter I do have a story to tell.”

ArtJaz Gallery is a premier contemporary fine art gallery, specializing in works by Artists of African Descent. “American Painter” exhibition will be on exhibit November 5- December 12, 2009. For more information please call 215-922-4800

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Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Philadelphia, PA

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