Originally created 04/28/00

Local artist displays fascination with light



A gable window, basking in the illumination of an eternal late afternoon. A lone figure at the beach, bisected by a shadow that draws attention away from the person and toward the luminescent pink bathing suit she wears. A country landscape, blurred by motion and filtering effect of cloud cover. Each painting, while different in theme and execution, carries their artist's thumbprint. Each painting displays Edward Rice's fascination with light.

Walking through the quiet of the Mary Pauline Gallery, where a retrospective of his work from the past five years opens today, Mr. Rice quietly explained his approach to art and why he has chosen to work in three separate styles -- architectural, landscapes and figure painting. He paused in front the gable window painting, explaining the theory behind his art.

"These paintings aren't so much about the buildings as they are the light on the buildings," he said, his fingers tracing the shadow cast by late afternoon sun. "It's the same with all the paintings. If you had to find a single unifying theme in my work, it's that they all deal with light."

Mr. Rice works on his figure and architectural paintings for extended periods of time. Some may take as long as five or six years before they are completed. This is, in part, due to the exacting nature of Mr. Rice's style.

"The architecture paintings are all about precision and geometry," he explained. "It's very, very, very controlled -- a very drafted drawing."

Measuring the subjects for his architectural paintings using rulers and calipers that allow him to measure to a hair's breadth allows Mr. Rice to re-create architecture exactly as it is seen, drawing attention to their shape and form.

"Although they are often of older buildings, these paintings are not meant to be nostalgic," he said. "I see these as very modern shapes. It's not so much the age of the building that interests me, but the style."

While some of the measuring and attention to proportion that Mr. Rice uses on his architectural paintings finds its way into his figure work, those works seem more marked by layered colors and entrancing, stylized features.

"Sometimes it's very difficult to know when a painting is finished," Mr. Rice said, standing in front of a large canvas of a reclining woman. "I worked on this one for five years, and had originally envisioned it with very rich color. Then I found myself looking at it about a month ago and deciding that it was finished now -- and I think it's very successful."

While he invests long periods of time and great attention to his architectural and figure painting, Mr. Rice's approach to landscape painting is completely different.

"The landscapes are done the way a lot of people think artists paint," he said. "I go out with a canvas and start painting and don't stop until it's finished. Then at the end of the day, if they are successful, I keep them."

Mr. Rice said that switching from style to style and approach to approach helps keep his interest in painting fresh.

"You always want to keep your interest in what your doing," he said. "I've been doing this as a livelihood for 25 years. It doesn't matter what you're doing, you have to keep yourself interested."

On display

What:Edward Rice -- Selected Paintings: 1995 - 2000

When: Today through June 17

Where: Mary Pauline Gallery, 982 Broad St.

Information: 724-9542

Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or suhles@hotmail.com.