Bev Myers
"I have a reckless disregard with lines, shapes, and  color."

   Beverly Myers is an artist whose inspiration comes directly from the environment and the delightful, expansive gardens she has created that surround her home in South Florida. Throughout history, in fact up until the last century, artists like Myers have discovered that flora and fauna provide all the necessary ingredients channeled through individual creativity and personal motivation to discover one’s inner artistic ingenuity. From Monet’s water lilies to Van Gogh’s fields of sunflowers, plant life fills an artist’s ingenious appetite with an ongoing theatre of blossoming color, shapes and organic texture. Like most serious artists, Myers followed her creative instincts and began her life-long appreciation and interest in painting with studies at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. 

     From there, she continued painting and decorating professionally for many years at her husband’s company, exploring a wide variety of subjects and styles until she arrived at a comfortable juncture in her career that offered a balance of idiosyncratic images and free-flowing ideas. An influential and serendipitous connection with the talented painter and gifted instructor, Miroslav Antic, at the Armory Art Center in West Palm Beach, allowed her the additional technical advancement that seems to have been the perfect fit for the continuing success and innovation that her work deserves. 

     It also was a fortuitous event that she had the opportunity to study with the renowned painter, Wolf Kahn, whose complete absorbency in nature’s aesthetics proved to be a turning point for building confidence and a personal perspective on the direction her work would take. Kahn is one of the finest abstract landscape painters of our generation, who meticulously investigates the rural countryside to find the perfect composition that allows a personal interpretation of his natural surroundings. His art is highly refined, almost to the point where it becomes a color field painting without the narrative or a handsome study that is a mix between de Kooning’s iconic style and early works by James Brooks or Philip Guston. In Myers’ latest series, it is clear that she has benefited greatly from skillful instruction and practical influences in art history coupled with intuitive talent and, not surprisingly, hard work.

     Bev Myers is a superb colorist in the grand tradition of artists who maintained that inventive and romantic use of color was the soul of their inspiration and the foundation for making disparate marks on canvas that ultimately would come together. With her new group of paintings, Myers generates a visual theatre in the round chock full of brilliant tints, and includes still-lifes, environmental architecture, distinctive portraits, and most recently, completely non-narrative works still full of color, but with a distant DNA that goes back to her early descriptive works as a young artist. A closer examination into specific examples from her most recent exhibition at DeBilzan Gallery reveals a brilliant foundation of confident brushstrokes that are laid down quickly and intuitively. In South Shore, Massachusetts, Myers presents a strong visual marriage of seemingly random marks that are divided evenly between the exact halves of the canvas. 

     The upper area above sea level is full of courageous swirls and smudges that form cloud shapes that are realistic and convincing. The bottom half of the composition is set off by a centered, gloomy gray band of paint, representing the ocean on stormy day and is oddly reminiscent of a classic Rothko, where sections of his canvas were divided into roughly edged squares of color that seemed to perpetually move. With just the right amount of streaks and dabs, Myers magically produces a very convincing rocky seashore that adds to the wonderful aesthetic balancing act that she purposefully arranges for the viewer. The result is a handsome and energized painting that is intelligent and eccentric.

     Another favorite is White Birches, a group of trees devoid of leaves in midwinter. The work is particularly exciting to observe, as it is full of unexpected gestures both vertical and horizontal. Think of an orchestra conductor, whose swirling aerial baton movements are captured in a freeze frame or a composite elapsed time photograph that allows you to appreciate all the dramatic nuances that produce an enjoyable visual concert. When I compare this stimulating twist on a natural setting with other artworks in the show, it seems to win the race for invention and simplicity and also is very beautiful. Another highlight is Yellow is For Mellow, which is a hybrid color field painting with a rich background of sensuous blues and a center of three-dimensional green splotches supported by a harmonious strip of yellow foreground. In this picture, the artist also allows deliberate drips from the sky above to meander down through the overall design and accentuate the painterly style that is celebrated here.

     Now, the painter that divides her studio time between Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts and Manalapan, Florida, is free to explore whatever creative interests she wishes, particularly the challenging and difficult pursuit of pure expressionist compositions. Myers has come to a place in her colorful career as an artist where she is free and perfectly comfortable to pursue themes that she can envision on canvas before she lays down the first mark. Now, regardless of subject matter, Myers continues to create intriguing images that are deliberately layered with bits and pieces of an expansive puzzle, which are a delight to view and a pleasant challenge to solve.

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