Evening after a Passing Storm, 2015
Materials: Acrylic on canvas 48" x 60”.
Location at Summa Health: Dr. Gary B. and Pamela S. Williams Tower on the Akron Campus (141 N. Forge St.), blue neighborhood, second floor, hallway outside Staff Lockers H2-211.
This large acrylic painting appears deceptively simple, a landscape reduced to minimal forms and broad areas of color. Yet Jim Rehmus modulates those areas of color to capture our perceptual experience of light and depth, using unblended brushstrokes. Notice the hues in the shadows cast by the trees and the way that the attenuated tree trunks shift into purples and even reds, especially on the left. The grouping of vertical forms across the horizontal composition creates some “action," and deeper green brushstrokes very faintly suggest plants and grasses in the mid-distance. The modulation of the band of sky blue, below the unexpected band of rose color at the top, which itself shifts into a violet at left, is accomplished by the same means, small cumulative strokes of the brush, a form of the pointillist technique used first by post-Impressionist painters of the 19th century.
In his title, the artist gives us more information by which to interpret what we are seeing, indicating time of day and the fact that a storm has passed, which suddenly “explains” the gorgeous colors of the sky in the uppermost reaches. But the sense of deep tranquility that this canvas conveys comes above all from Rehmus’ formal choices of the restful, unbroken horizontals; the simple march of the vertical tree trunks is restful in its repetition; and the all-over homogeneity of the fractured brushstroke across its surface.
Rehmus is a self-taught artist living and working in Peninsula, Ohio; he had been a pediatrician but gradually was able to step away from his medical practice at the Akron Children’s Hospital to make art full-time. His work explores his feeling for the landscape, particularly the weather and seasonal changing colors of the sky and the seasonality of trees, as well as the relationships among these. Both painting and pastel media afford him the vehicle to work in the pointillist technique we find in this painting in the Summa Collection.
Where you can see more of this artist’s work:
Rehmus’ paintings and pastels are on view in the Summit County Courthouse and the Cuyahoga County Administrative Building and are held in a number of private collections in Ohio and the U.S. He has exhibited work in solo and group shows in galleries in Cleveland and Akron since the early 2000s and has self-published a book of his paintings of Cuyahoga Valley landscapes, The Valley in Pastel.