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Venus Awakes, by Patricia Watwood, Oil on Linen, 34X38
Solo Exhibition
June 5 to July 6, 2013
Opening Reception
Thursday, June 6, 6:00 - 10:00pm
Meet Patricia @ Opening Reception
Artist Talk and Intro @ 7:30pm

Dacia Gallery is pleased to present Venus Apocalypse, a solo exhibition presenting the new works of Patricia Watwood. In a dozen paintings and drawings the artist places female nudes within dystopian urban landscapes. By juxtaposing classical figuration, particularly the archetype of Venus, with environmental decay, Watwood suggests the necessity of cultural and ecological transformation, and the enduring primacy of feminine power and aesthetic beauty.


Patricia Watwood has exhibited at galleries and institutions worldwide such as Hirschl & Adler and The Forbes Galleries in NYC, Galerie Albert Benamou in Paris, and John Pence in San Francisco. Her work is currently on tour in China in an historic presentation of American Realism, Contemporary American Realism, which opened in September 2012 at the Beijing World Art Museum.  The tour travels to Dalien, Tianjin, Hangzhou, Wuhan, and Shanghai throughout 2012 and 2013. Watwood’s solo museum exhibit, Patricia Watwood: Myths & Individuals was on view in two venues in 2011-2012: St. Louis University Museum of Art, and The Forbes Galleries, NYC.  In 2013, her work was included in the “Nocturnes” exhibit at the National Arts Club, and will be featured in a solo show at Dacia Gallery NYC, in June.

Watwood earned her MFA with Honors from New York Academy of Art, and studied with Jacob Collins at the Water Street Atelier, and Ted Seth Jacobs at the Ecole Albert Defois in France.

Watwood is a contemporary figurative artist working in the classical tradition of oil painting. This style is Contemporary Classicism, which combines classical painting techniques within the language of representation. Her work prioritizes aesthetic principles, technical rigor, detailed draftsmanship, and balances experienced perception with design.  Watwood employs narrative structures like allegory and myth to illuminate meaning in our common experience.  Her figures convey our spiritual human presence and elicit an emotional connection with the viewer. Philosophically, the paintings reflect the artist’s search for meaning and her desire for spiritual connection with both subjects and viewers.

Her paintings have featured her in numerous art publications, including twice landing the cover of American Artist magazine.  Her portrait commissions include the astronomer Cecelia Payne-Gaposchkin for Harvard University; the journalist and anti-lynching campaigner Ida B Wells for the Kennedy School of Government; and Mayor Clarence Harmon, for the St. Louis City Hall.

Watwood has been an adjunct professor of drawing at New York Academy of Art and has given lectures and workshops across the country.  She is a writer and blog contributor for American Artist and Artist Daily publications.  In 2012 she produced an instructional DVD Figure Painting: Realistic Skin Tone with Patricia Watwood with Interweave Press. Watwood lives with her husband and two daughters in Brooklyn, New York.

Venus Apocalypse, by Patricia Watwood, Oil on Canvas, 40x64

I am a contemporary figurative artist working in the classical tradition of oil painting. I use narrative structures like allegory and myth to explore meaning in our common experience, and create images to evoke our spiritual human presence and emotional connection through art.  My work prioritizes aesthetic principles, technical rigor and craft, classical training, and balances perception with design.  My paintings travel through worlds of mythology, allegory, and contemporary human life. They reflect my search for meaning, and fulfill my desire for spiritual connection with my subjects and viewers.

Like other artistic forms, the art world has great diversity in genres, each rich in their own traditions and language.  The style of my work is called Contemporary Classicism, and is connected to a current international flowering of realism. In New York, and across the US, in Florence, France, Spain, and Sweden there are strong realist schools in which artists receive traditional training in private ateliers and larger academies. Our paintings are grounded in the mastery of historic methodologies, including academic draftsmanship and oil painting techniques. Like classical music, the discipline has a long and rich pedagogy.  Practitioners expect to train rigorously for a decade in order to prepare for our careers. This is the study I have embraced with others who champion figurative painting and the tradition of western oil painting.

Tradition has nothing to do with the past. To follow a tradition is to embrace a manner of working in which the values and aspirations of the past are continuous with those of the future. I do not chase the past. I chase what artists in the past have also chased—a celebration of the human form, a passion for and humility before nature, a belief that metaphor and narrative can help us puzzle out the mysteries of our time here on earth, and a belief in the emotional power of the common visual language of representation.

Patricia in the Studio
In the Garden Study, Patricia Watwood Venus Awakes, Patricia Watwood Sleeping Venus, Patricia Watwood Fallen Angel, Patricia Watwood Bacchus, Patricia Watwood Blue Sibyl, Patricia Watwood Danae, Patricia Watwood Imago, Patricia Watwood Red Sibyl, Patricia Watwood