Insane: They’ve Never Seen Contemporary American Paintings Before!

Venus Awakes by Patricia Watwood, 2011, oil on canvas, 38 x 34.  karen-in-white-paul-mccormack David Leffel self-portrait
Venus Awakes by Patricia Watwood, 2011,
oil on canvas, 38 x 34.
Karen in White by Paul McCormack,
oil on canvas, 40 x 29.
Enigma (Self-Portrait) by David Leffel,
2009, oil on canvas, 52 x 34.

On Sunday, January 22nd, the ACOPAL group will celebrate it’s first museum show of American and Chinese realism at the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio. Many of my favorite artists and fellow oil painters have work in this show: Nelson Shanks, Jacob Collins, Max Ginsberg, Tony Ryder, and Burt Silverman, to name a few of my heroes. This is the second group ACOPAL exhibit, following the very successful introduction of ACOPAL at the National Arts Club in May 2011.

The next ACOPAL venture will be the presentation of American realism at the Beijing World Art Museum, opening toward the end of this year in September 2012.  The exhibit will feature over 100 paintings, and be the first survey of contemporary American realism in China. After the opening in Beijing, the exhibit—a contemporary oil painting gallery of sorts—will tour five major cities in China, including Shanghai and Guangzhou. The Chinese audience is enthusiastic about realism and traditional oil painting, and this exhibit will reach many thousands, many of whom have not seen contemporary American paintings in person ever before.

That’s thrilling, isn’t it? My painting, Venus Awakes, which I just completed will be included in the Butler exhibit. The painting is an allegory about the rediscovery of the classical nude. Venus and the apple are meta-symbols representing the classical western tradition in art. They are surrounded by the broken remnants of technology and culture, but remain undamaged. The bird wakes Venus from her slumber, and represents my rejection of “trash as conceptual social commentary as art.” Flecks of gold in the mire indicate that the labor of gleaning value from the wreckage is not in vain.

Contemporary American realism continues to grow, define itself, and find new audiences all over the world. If you are in the Ohio area, please spread the word about the wonderful show at the Butler. If you are not, but still want to experience what is sure to be an amazing show, you can purchase a catalog of the show at the ACOPAL website.


For more painting instruction from Patricia, check out her latest DVD, Figure Painting: Realistic Skin Tone.

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Oil Painting Blog
Patricia Watwood

About Patricia Watwood

Patricia Watwood has studied painting with Jacob Collins at the Water Street Atelier, and also with Ted Seth Jacobs at Ecole Albert Defois. She earned her MFA with honors from New York Academy of Art.

Watwood paints nudes, figures, portraits and still lifes in the classical tradition. Her paintings draw on allegorical, mythological, and narrative themes. She continues the classical pursuits of representational painting, with an eye on the contemporary world. The recurring theme in her paintings is the spiritual human presence. Watwood states, “Formal training is the indispensable underpinning of my practice. I seek to follow and build upon the artistic intelligence and traditions of the past, and bring them anew to my own generation.”

Watwood has exhibited in group and solo shows in New York, Paris, Houston, San Francisco and Long Island.  Her work is represented by John Pence Gallery in San Francisco. Her figurative paintings have been included in several museum shows, including “Enchantment” at the Hartford Art School, “Slow Painting,” at the Oglethorpe Museum; “The Great American Nude,” at the Bruce Museum of Arts and Sciences; and in “Representing Representation VI,” at the Arnot Museum. Her work has been featured in numerous art publications including International Artist, and a recent cover article in American Artist magazine.
Watwood also does portrait commissions, and is represented by Portraits, Inc.  Her recent projects include a portraits for Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government, and the former Mayor of St. Louis, for St. Louis City Hall.  Watwood is currently teaching at the New York Academy of Art, and at the Teaching Studios of Art in Brooklyn. 

Watwood and her husband and two daughters live in Brooklyn, New York.

3 thoughts on “Insane: They’ve Never Seen Contemporary American Paintings Before!

  1. Hello Patricia,
    During your visit to China you will be just as impressed if and when you are able to meet other Chinese artists with an interest in painting similar to your colleagues and you.
    China has a long history with painting and just recently The China National Academy of Painting had its 30th Anniversary exhibition at the National Museum in Beijing.
    The paintings were quite impressive! It is equally interesting that many Americans have not been able to see such works of amazing contemporary Chinese painters.
    With the ACOPAL exhibit, I hope you have a great introduction to China and a wonderful beginning of sharing between East & West painters, as well as bring back to the US insightful memories of your experience.
    Looking forward to seeing the exhibit of fellow American painters when it arrives in Beijing in the fall. In the meantime I will post the photos of The China National Academy of Painting had its 30th Anniversary exhibition at the National Museum in Beijing for you to see.
    -Sketching Beijing & Beyond, Alicia

  2. Hi Alicia! It’s so nice to see your post here. thanks for all the great information and I’m really looking forward to learning so much more about Chinese realism, the community of painters there, and about Beijing! I am totally excited about this venture.

    And, yes, I want to see more of these amazingly talented Chinese artist’s work here in the US. ACOPAL will be planning a US museum tour of Chinese Realism, probably by 2013-14.

    I hope I get to see you in Beijing!

  3. Dear Patricia,
    Yes, it will be great to catch up in Beijing!

    I just saw the “Andrew Wyeth in China” exhibit in the YUAN Space here in Beijing.

    Just lovely! He was a genius with light and truly one of my favorites.

    Safe travels,
    Sketching Beijing & Beyond, Alicia