Oct. 29, 2004 – Gallery St. Thomas on Government Hill features "Woman – Form, Color, Expression," an exhibit of new works by William L. Stoehr. The show opened Friday evening, Nov. 5, and will hang through Nov. 12.
Stoehr, the past president of National Geographic Maps, recently retired to pursue his dream of becoming an artist. "When I was 16, I thought I was going to be an artist but instead became an engineer and ultimately president of National Geographic's Map Division," he said.
In 2003 Stoehr resigned from National Geographic to, as he describes, "pursue that dream I abandoned almost 40 years ago," Stoehr has done just that with a flourish, passionately painting his way into shows in Denver and New York.
"Woman – Form, Color, Expression" is Stoehr's debut show for the Virgin Islands and opens in conjunction with a first-anniversary celebration of the inauguration of Gallery St. Thomas.
"I was taken by Bill's passion for painting, in part expressed by his confident, bold use of intense color," gallery owner Claire Ochoa said. Stoehr's show is a "dynamic presentation, which is subtly balanced by his sensitivity towards his subjects," she said.
Stoehr said his intentions were "to create a sensual or poignant visual experience, depicting women in their private moments, their distress, hopes, deliverance, endeavors and pleasures." His acrylic paintings do not always follow convention regarding the use of light and shadow as well as foreground and background definition. Rather he follows the necessities of the composition. He paints rapidly, "to maintain an uninhibited, expressive character to my work. I like to define a complex shape with a simple brush stroke, looking for that fundamental line or inner curve that reveals body language."
While primarily self-taught, Stoehr has been influenced by the works of Matisse, Degas, Kahn, and De Kooning. Traveling over the years with National Geographic allowed him to study original works of art in collections around the world.
He and his wife Mary Kay now make their home on St. John where they continue their involvement in a number of community and environmental advisory organizations around the globe.
Stoehr's exhibit along with new works from Gallery St. Thomas artists will "make for an exciting night for the thriving visual arts community here in the Virgin Islands," Ochoa said. To preview the exhibit go to www.GalleryStThomas.com. The exhibit will remain on view through Nov. 12 and is open to the public.
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