Unser reveals ‘A Celebration of Paint & Motion’

Published 5:49 pm Wednesday, November 2, 2022

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Rawls Museum Arts and Bronco Federal Credit Union presents an art exhibit by Eric Unser called “A Celebration of Paint & Motion.”

Eric Unser

An RMA news release noted that the exhibition is free and open to the public and will be on display from Oct. 13-Nov. 19 at the museum, which is located at 22376 Linden St. in Courtland. Gallery hours are Tuesday-Friday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Unser grew up on a farm in Southampton County, graduating from Southampton High School in 1972. He attended and completed his degree in fine art at Virginia Tech in 1977. After marrying and starting a family, he worked in commercial art and sign painting, finally landing in the Scenic Design Department at the Christian Broadcasting Network in Virginia Beach in 1983, and he still works there today. Becoming proficient in painting murals and faux finishes, Unser has been highly sought after by local design firms.

In 2002, he decided to resume painting landscapes and seascapes, selling in Richmond, Norfolk and Virginia Beach galleries. 

Recently however, he has felt the need to free himself from the constraints of representational subject matter.

“Every artist uses a tool to apply paint, and usually that’s a paintbrush — basically a stick with bristles attached,” he said.

Jackson Pollock started with brushes, then progressed to flinging the paint, then discarding the brush in favor of a wooden spoon, a stick or a can. 

Unser builds his own tools and machines to manipulate the paint, using physics — pendulums, drywall trowels, tilting turntables and a powerful electronic spin table, enabling him to spin canvases up to 6 feet or more. He puts all of the parameters in place, then sets it in motion, calling it controlled chaos. Sometimes the results are stunning, sometimes not up to his standards. 

“I have to decide quickly if I should keep it, or do I need to paint over it or sometimes scrape off the wet paint, revealing something quite wonderful,” he said. “To me, each new painting is an adventure!”

Museum officials stated, “With abstract painting, the viewer can stay engaged with the art, bringing in their own experience. Memories can be triggered. Are we looking through a microscope, are we underwater, are we far above Earth, or are we in outer space? It could be all of that on different days. Where art and motion collide.”

There was an opening exhibition reception on Thursday, Oct. 13. 

Join RMA and Unser on Sunday, Nov. 6, from 2-4 p.m. for the Artist’s Gallery Talk. Unser will demonstrate his techniques for creating his visions during the talk.

For more information, contact RMA at 757-653-0754.