Balancing between abstraction and figurative, the works of Chris Gwaltney are evocative, luminous, and lush. He balances color with unexpected washes and scribbles; scraping physically from the surface as he generously slaps paint onto the canvas. Having studied Bay Area figurative painters - such as Richard Diebenkorn, Nathan Oliviera, and David Park - and influenced by the works of Joan Mitchell and Robert Motherwell, Gwaltney begins each work with a conversation in mind. He often starts with a vertical gesture, builds with foundations of layers, and allows the composition to reveal itself as he works.
Gwaltney lives in Laguna Beach and holds a BA and MA from the University of California State Fullerton. He has exhibited throughout the US, including Peter Blake Gallery (Laguna Beach, CA), Seager Gray Gallery and Robert Green Fine Arts (Mill Valley, CA), Cadogan Contemporary (London, England), Anne Loucks Gallery (Glencoe, IL), Julie Nester (Park City, UT), and Tria Gallery (New York, NY). His work has garnered an international following and resides in numerous public and private collections.
"Because his abstractions in progress bristle with visual interest—including an icing of drips and tangles of wild line—as each work moves toward its conclusion, Gwaltney plays the role of an editor, eliminating anything that he feels stands in the way of expressive clarity. “I think that what great poets do is distill feeling,” he comments. “I want to do the same thing in painting and present the absolute essence of an emotional state.” Because of his rigorous quest for pure feeling, viewers of Gwaltney’s work should understand that the essence of his art is this: what is left is what is needed." John Seed, Art Writer