Forbidden City of Peking

Forbidden City of Peking
Alan Fenton

Artist Biography
Acquisition Number: 2022.9
Medium: Watercolor
Size: 24 x 18 in.
Date: 1975
Credit: Cris & Lori Drugan, Akron, OH

Part of Fenton’s mature work, this is one piece from his 1970s series, "the transition series." These were Asian-inspired abstract "landscapes" of split two-color works with one color transition descending from above, and a corresponding color transition ascending from below. The pressure of opposing colors energizes along the center horizon and creates a light. This light creates a third color, or “glow,” that the eyes automatically mix. Although the paintings may look simplistic, the colors must be matched to precision or no glow. So elaborate was this process that Fenton made blueprints out of pencil, termed "studies," and watercolors on paper called "washes" to indicate where the horizon would appear.