Stan Masters (1922-2005)
Signed lower right
Watercolor on paper
12" x 18"
Much of Stan Masters' work offers a nostalgic look at rural America. "Family Confectionery" depicts a small country store framed by an ice chest and a disused gas pump. The faded signs are intended to evoke happy memories of a bygone era- perhaps a cold Pepsi in a glass bottle or a favorite flavor of Chapman's Ice Cream. In his artist's statement, Masters writes,
"I want my pictures to do more than simply report facts or portray the likeness of the scene. I prefer to use the subject as a means of expressing feelings, emotion, an idea or a mood. .... At the same time, I am striving to provide you with pleasurable escape, perhaps remind you of something forgotten......"
The sunny path leads to the little store where we discover countless details, each a pictorial element chosen to evoke memories of our distant past. Indeed, Masters further explains in his artist's statement, "And while you may not be particularly interested in, say, the old building I've selected to paint, I believe that if I've done my work well, as to shapes, color, composition, etc., you'll probably be little concerned with the actual subject the picture was "built" around."
Thus, Masters leads the eye from the round Pepsi sign to the hanging scale and Bell Telephone sign beneath, down to the produce below and over to the Esso pump. The red tomatoes and Nehi sign answer the similarly colored Pepsi and Chapman Ice Cream signs, over to the chimney and down to the Esso pump. Each of these elements builds the complex composition while inviting us to insert our own narrative, all quietly taking place in the lengthening midafternoon shadows.
In 1978 a critic wrote, "A Stan Masters watercolor is realism at its best... What he sees is so direct and the way he sees it is so logical that his intent and his achievement are timeless and universal. We find in his paintings unsuspected technical brilliance, always purposely hidden so as not to intrude on the overall effect he wants to create."
Timeless, universal, and technically brilliant- "Family Confectionery" is indeed, realism at its best.