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Alan Fetterman – A Lifetime of Artistic Challenges

Dtown/Radius Magazine, November 2011
By April Solla and Oliver White

For years, Alan Fetterman traveled the world, landing everywhere from Europe to South America. But far from leisurely vacations, his jaunts were tuned to a specific agenda: to explore, observe and document. With sketchbook in hand, Fetterman tirelessly captured the array of cultures he encountered, translating them on paper in a language all could understand. "I'm an explorer," he says. "I went far and wide to discover my inner-self."

In 1988, during a stint in Paris, Fetterman – who previously worked in construction – realized his calling. Growing up in a military family, Fetterman knew all too well the principles of hard work and survival. But he also recognized his innately curious, creative nature with prolific volumes of poetry and music and a degree in philosophy to his credit. After spending 10 hours in the Louvre, awash in the rich visual landscape, Fetterman emerged with a new conviction. "That's it, I'm an artist," he recalls, on the motivation the world- renowned museum inspired. Upon his return home, he picked up a set of brushes and embarked on a different kind of journey.

Decades and nearly countless paintings later, Fetterman has completed the transformation into committed-life artist, exercising his creative spirit in oils on canvas. These may be strange economic times, but the collectible fine arts remain proven investment havens. "Although many [artists] have suffered in one way or another, especially those who survive solely on their work, I stay steadfast and have dug my boots deeper into the very ground I stand on to paint," Fetterman says. "I have continued to devote myself to the arts and now, through the Silverman Gallery, my work continues to be embraced on both a regional and national platform".

Fetterman's commitment to the local arts scene is evidenced both in the more than 25 solo shows to his credit to date and his creative philosophy. "As an American artist, I have painted in many parts of the country and abroad," Fetterman says. "But most importantly, I'm a Bucks County/ Pennsylvania artist. What drives me is the dynamic of our region. Art is at its best when it comes from an artist's deepest sensibilities."

And while many might fall victim to a sort of artistic malaise, Fetterman is careful to continually challenge himself. His latest works, dubbed Bucks County Life and Lore, will be revealed at his latest one-man show, opening Nov. 12. "The presentation has been kept a tightly held secret so far," says Joan Perkes, director of the Silverman Gallery, who is hosting the show and represents Fetterman. "Alan [Fetterman] is a regional icon, and this body of work is powerful, unique and matches his philosophical bent."

Fetterman's commitment to the local arts scene is evidenced both in the more than 25 solo shows to his credit to date and his creative philosophy. "As an American artist, I have painted in many parts of the country and abroad," Fetterman says. "But most importantly, I'm a Bucks County/ Pennsylvania artist. What drives me is the dynamic of our region. Art is at its best when it comes from an artist's deepest sensibilities." And while many might fall victim to a sort of artistic malaise, Fetterman is careful to continually challenge himself. His latest works, dubbed Bucks County Life and Lore, will be revealed at his latest one-man show, opening Nov. 12. "The presentation has been kept a tightly held secret so far," says Joan Perkes, director of the Silverman Gallery, who is hosting the show and represents Fetterman. "Alan [Fetterman] is a regional icon, and this body of work is powerful, unique and matches his philosophical bent."

Fetterman describes the venture as "a compilation of painting, prose and presentation." There is a contemporary story line that infuses the life, lore, and dynamics of our region into his latest output. "An artist must explore and continue to challenge himself," Fetterman says. "My penchant for our area's landscapes and community is ever present, but the approach is fresh, the visual language distinct." The exhibit will include five large 36″ by 40″ paintings of local landscapes, as well as an extensive array of other sizes. But it's what Fetterman has dubbed the "Grand Reveal" that will fill the exhibit with character and story. "Over the last three years, I have been creating a collection of art that speaks in multiple values. The paintgs reveal story lines via progression and presentation," he explains. "In addition, as one who has always taken pride in the hand-carved frames that hold my work, I've learned to make frames with the talents of Tom Stanley and Dave Madery. I can only hope others enjoy them as much as I have creating them."

While Fetterman's work has already left an indelible mark on the local arts scene, a new book, seven years in the making, is set for a February release. Illuminate, penned by regional art historian and critic Cathie Viksjo, provides a retrospective look at Fetterman's career. "His [Fetterman] spiral rise as an artist has been astounding," Viksjo says. "The time has come, I believe, to compile a monograph of his art and times. The Bucks-County art tradition begs for this discussion and critical assessment."

The Silverman Gallery will host a book signing in February with Fetterman to celebrate the release of Illuminate.


© Alan Fetterman Fine Arts