The two-person show of the works of Alex Rane and Tomas Watson entitled "Filling in the Blanks" has a curatorial focus not just of two figurative artists but more distinctly two artists approaching figurative art with a unified philosophy. The works presented are indeed figurative but both artists are not merely interested in portraying the figure in its perfection. Rather they are equally interested in the sections of the figure, or in the case of the backgrounds of certain Watson paintings, left undefined or incomplete.
Although Rane and Watson are using completely diverse materials, they are both concentrating their work on parts of the body or sections of the painting. They leave the remainder, whether it is on canvas or in marble, in a sort of vaguely abstracted state. Certain areas are highly realistic and defined: shoulders and torsos accurately depicted, hands forming expressive gestures. Other sections of the same piece are left intentionally vague. Their unified philosophy is that they focus the viewer on the sections of their art they wish to highlight. They both believe that by leaving parts unfinished, the areas that are more clearly depicted are enhanced and therefore more powerful.
As Watson explains his oil paintings, “Parts of the paintings are intensely realistic and the rest could be labelled abstract. By keeping the ‘background’ vague or undefined, I am drawing attention to the things in which I am interested.” He refers to the other elements for which he has less interest as a sort of “framework” to hold the entire painting together.
Rane echoes a similar idea of his marble sculptures. He explains: “In a time when so much has to be either right or wrong, I believe art has to be about subtleties. These pieces are about the process.” He leaves the marble as natural as possible and uses its shapes and textures to enhance the parts of the figure in which he is most interested. He explains further, “I want to create points of interest and then also give space for the eye to rest.”
As Watson refers to the superfluous areas as a “framework” for the paintings and Rane imbues his sculptures with “subtleties”, both of these artists are forcing the viewer to examine the areas in their art in which the artist is most interested. It is then, after the observer has seen these focal points, the artists ask the observer of their art to complete the story…to fill in the blanks they have left for their viewer.