Light is the quintessential component in Steven Gordon's powerfully luminous landscapes of California. They derive their strength from the artist's intimate dialogue with land and light: "At times I feel as if I'm painting with light. It's exciting to take something so completely ephemeral and control and create with it." Since the late 1970's Gordon has been focusing on the visual impact of changing light effects in the Napa Valley wine growing region of California. Continuously exploring and formulating new visions, he has been producing pastels of rare immediacy.
Steven Gordon grew up in his native town of Waukegan, Illinois. After having been self-taught in his early years, he decided on formal training in the arts. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a bachelor's degree in art in 1973. For his master's program, he chose Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. In 1976, he received his Master of Fine Arts degree in painting.
The following year, Steven Gordon came west to settle in the Napa Valley. He secured a job with a local winery which turned out to be a fruitful relationship since Gordon was given an annual showing of his works at the winery. It also enabled the artist and his wife, Sally Gordon, owner of Yountville's popular Gordon's Cafe & Wine Bar, to travel annually to Europe for a month to study various museum and gallery collections.
Certain insights might have been gained during these travels, but it was the unique character of California's landscapes and Gordon's predilection for pastels that made him find his own imagery. He painted exclusively in oils during his earlier years, doing his preliminary works in pastels: "They became more and more exciting to me. I discovered the immediate sensory qualities of pastel. ... My paintings are translations of the lyrical, real and abstract qualities which I observe in the unending variety of shapes, colors and textures found in the landscape. They are recreations of a specific moment in time in which light, atmosphere, earth and sky come together in celebration of the simple and profound beauty in nature. I want the viewer to literally feel the experience: the bright dryness of a summer afternoon ... the private intimacy of driving alone on a rain-slicked road or of standing in the hills above a valley vista on a foggy winter morning.? His visions of California never fail to do just that: they totally engage the viewer.
Steven Gordon's works have been shown in galleries from the Napa Valley and San Francisco to New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. The artist's work has also been shown at the Members' Galleries of the Philadelphia and Delaware Art Museums, and of the Albright-Knox Museum in Buffalo, New York and is represented in numerous collections worldwide.
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