Edward Obermeyer calls himself a Post-Aboriginal Modernist. Working with acrylic paint, he merges realism with a graphic style drawn from Aboriginal artists in Australia.
“I use dot patterns, cross hatched lines, and my pin striping skills to create my own visual language with riggers, pinstripe brushes, liners, and a variety of other specialized brushes and tools to make dots and lines,” Obermeyer explains in the artist statement for his exhibition currently on display at the Dare County Arts Council in Manteo. “…the technique combines identifiable images with Aboriginal dot painting techniques and symbols used in their culture.”
The arts council exhibit, titled Ocean and Earth, features ocean and garden paintings inspired by visits to the Outer Banks, the beaches of Playa Venao, Santa Cataline, Panama, and the Norfolk Botanical Gardens in Norfolk, Virginia.
Armed with an adept understanding of color, Obermeyer uses a variety of linear patterns to form ocean-scapes and landscapes featuring giant stylized waves overpowering bits of shore, brilliantly colored orchids and other florals popping from dense greenery, and garden architecture surrounded by lush, highly patterned vegetation. His patterns add an energetic pulse and emotional content to his work that is enhanced with color to create a spectrum of moods and sense of depth.
“Crater Valley, El Valle, Panama” features a wooden bridge surrounded by levels of verdant foliage and water. Each section contains patterns that describe either standing water with floating plants, or layers of plant life inhabiting what feels like a moist, hidden jungle. Cool neutral colors — greens and blues — add to the atmosphere and help differentiate the cacophony of forms and their position in the depth-filled picture plane.
His exhibit also features wave paintings describing the many moods presented by the sea. One work shows a brilliantly colored wave that begins with a shouting yellow that ends in a gentle, almost whispery foam of pale blue. Add in myriad, linear strokes that form the single wave, and you have a pulsing form that conveys the ocean’s power, motion and dynamic parts. The work is so powerful, one can almost hear its motion moving from a percussive blast to a whisper of sound.
Generally working from his own photographs taken while traveling, Obermeyer also enjoys collaborating with professional artists to create his work. He is a multi-award-winning artist who has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and Masters in Interdisciplinary Studies from Virginia Commonwealth University. He also has an associate of arts degree from Brevard Community College, Cocoa, Florida. The accomplished painter has been an art teacher in Virginia Beach City public schools for 34 years. He’s spent years gardening and surfing to illustrate in his work the correlation between these activities. Expect to view a garden of earthly and watery delights in this exhibit.
Mary Ellen Riddle has been writing the Coast’s art column for more than 20 years and brings to her work a BFA in painting from East Carolina University and a profound passion for the role the arts play in society.