Tomas Watson: Transitions

Anita Rogers Gallery

Mar. 6, 2024 - Apr. 13, 2024

494 Greenwich Street, GFL
New York, 10013
PHONE 347.604.2346

Anita Rogers Gallery is pleased to present Transitions, an exhibition of paintings and works on paper by Tomas Watson. The work spans a period from 2017 to the present; a period which for Watson was characterized by radical upheaval, both emotionally and physically.

On the new work in the exhibition, Watson states:

These paintings are about my life, not in a descriptive or specific sense, but rather in the form of observations that open up the possibility of a deeper, universal meaning.

Figurative art may seem an outdated form to pursue in our times, a form already perfected long ago. There are a few contemporary artists, however, who practice this at the caliber of the Renaissance masters in terms of drawing, composition, and technique but who are also firmly grounded in a modern approach.

British artist Tomas Watson (b. 1971) is one of these. Throughout his 35-year career, he has consistently searched, experimented, and found new ways to refresh the existing forms and infuse them with the vigor of the ever-changing modern world. His work combines age-old mastery with an abstract aesthetic.

Watson, a figurative artist not restricted by realism, studied at the Slade School of Art in London and won the BP Portrait Award in 1998. He has lived and worked in Greece for most of his career. When asked why, Watson answers, “The Greek light.”

His interest is in form, as defined by shadow and light, which makes drawing the backbone of everything he does. “I am fundamentally interested in drawing and mark-making and how the observed form can work both as a two-dimensional, compositional construct and as a descriptive, illusionistic device.”

In his earlier works, mostly interiors with a solitary figure, the shadow dominated with a single light source illuminating the immediate surroundings. Recently, the focus of his paintings has moved to the exterior, with a strong light penetrating even the shadows, which are themselves full of saturated colour, adding an extra level of complexity. Whatever method or technique the painting requires, he will employ. There have been many influences throughout his career; a few remain beacons, namely Degas, Turner, and Rauschenberg.

In this most recent period, his work is generally concerned with communicating the essential in as direct and simple a way as possible. The play of the shapes and motifs formed through rigorous observations create a tangible tension of opposites (unfinished/finished, tight/loose drawing, flat form/illusionistic representation, outside/inside, abstract/realistic), which makes every part of the canvas vibrate with an inevitability.

He regularly participates in international art fairs and solo exhibitions abroad, and he has recently founded, together with his partner, an arts-based educational program on the island of Lesvos, Sigri Arts Retreat ( He is the recent father of twin girls.

The exhibition will be on view March 6 through April 13 at 494 Greenwich Street, GFL in New York City. The gallery will host an opening reception with the artist on Wednesday, March 6, 6-8pm. Please RSVP to [email protected] to attend.

Special thanks to Cindy Camatsos for her assistance in the writing of the exhibition text.

For further information and photographs, please contact Elizabeth Thompson at [email protected], or call 347.604.2346. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday 10am – 6pm.

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