Sam Scott: New and Timeless Paintings
New and Timeless Paintings
Scent VII, Watercolor on paper
Sam Scott: New and Timeless Paintings is a curated exhibition that highlights Scott’s mastery as a painter and the emotive and lyrical range of his work. Pie Projects is honored to present this work by one of Santa Fe’s great living painters, a world renown artist who has made Santa Fe his home for over 50 years.
Scott’s art transcends labels. At heart, he is a nature painter and colorist, but his style is highly personal and poetic, and can be best described as lyrical abstraction. His teachers Grace Hartigan, Clifford Still, Philip Guston, Salvatore Scarpitta, and David Hare deeply influence his work, while great European masters such as Velasquez inspire his every brush stroke. He is and has always been a painter in pursuit of beauty.
His new work is incredibly powerful. Each painting has a presence difficult to describe and is an invitation to peel back the layers, a journey into the very essence of abstraction. The work is lyrical, deliberately geometric at times, with dynamic defined lines and realms of color. There is structure in the brush strokes that are deliberately physical and passionate and at times rough-hewn. Then there is stillness within the compositions that is calm with mysterious volumes that are radiant and hold trapped light, almost defining an ineffable presence where opposites embrace within the essentially paradoxical nature of art.
Of his new body of work, Scott says “I wanted to create a luminous doorway in a rich field of energized, sumptuous, almost operatic color. A great painting must tremble. If you sit with it, it starts to acquire its own life. I want my paintings to become beautiful slowly, and then stay beautiful.”
ABOUT SAM SCOTT
Sam Scott was born in Chicago, IL in 1940. He started attending classes at the Chicago Art Institute at the age of ten. He committed to painting in Florence, Italy in 1963. He had his first one person show in Rome at the age of 23.
In 1965, after a brief period as a commercial fisherman in Kodiak, Alaska, Scott was offered a job teaching at Morgan State College in Baltimore, Md. Here his work was seen by Eugene Leak, the President of the Maryland Institute College of Art, and Scott was offered a full scholarship and teaching job there. Some of Scott’s teachers during this time include: Clyfford Still, Philip Guston, David Hare, Grace Hartigan, and Savatore Scarpitta. During this period, Scott also served his country on a classified mission to the Amazon jungle working for the DOE and the State Department. As a result of this mission and others, all atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons by the United States was stopped. Scott graduated Summa Cum Laude at the head of his class and was awarded the Walters Art Museum Traveling Scholarship award to the outstanding graduate student.
In 1969, Scott settled down in Santa Fe. In 1974 he was awarded the first one person show ever given to a living artist by the New Mexico Fine Arts Museum. In 1975, Scott was among the first artists to represent New Mexico at the Whitney Museum Biennial of Contemporary Art in New York City. In 1977, he was one of three artists elected to represent 110 artists at the City Council of Santa Fe, and was elected at that time also to direct and hang the first Santa Fe Amory Show. In 1978, Scott accepted a teaching position at the University of Arizona and was subsequently invited to become a tenure track Professor of Painting and Drawing. Scott returned to Santa Fe in 1983 and has been based there and in Pilar, New Mexico since that time.
In 1994, Scott received the Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Visual Arts from the City of Santa Fe, New Mexico. In 1995, he was invited to address the United Nations, where he was awarded the Peace Rose by Sri Chinmoy, of the United Nations Peace Meditation Group. In 1997, Scott was given a 30-year retrospective at the New Mexico Fine Arts Museum, entitled Sam Scott: An American Voice Paintings 1967-1997. In 1999, Scott was one of three artists chosen by the State Department to represent the United States in person at its first post war cultural exchange with the republic of Vietnam, through the Meridian Foundation and the Kimsey Foundation. In 2002, Scott was among the first American painters to be invited to show at La Maison Francaise Museum of Contemporary Art at the Embassy of France in Washington, D.C.
In 2007, Scott wrote Encounters with Beauty: Excerpts from an Artists Journal 1963-2006, which was edited and with an introduction by William Peterson. This book was one of three finalists for the New Mexico Book Awards Foundation: Best Book: Other/Non-Fiction.
Scott lives with his wife, Leslie McNamara, and cat, Cooter, in Santa Fe, where he enjoys walking to work at his studio every day. Sam Scott is one of five artists in various media who were chosen to represent the Capital Art Collection as a “State Treasure”, in the Capital Building of Santa Fe.
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