Louis Shields' inspiration for this painting came from time spent in Arles, in Provence. From the time the Romans seized it in 123 B.C., the city has been ripe with history, architecture, and cultural production (Van Gogh produced some 300 paintings there between 1888 and 1889). Taking his cue from the buildings and sites of the city, Shields states, "the incredible stone architecture has such visual impact! I wanted to paint the illusion of dimensionality; to convey the patina, texture and enduring strength of the stone." In this painting, the surface of the shapes recalls marble with its' elegantly mottled surface and sinuous veins, and the weighty volumes mirror the dense heft of stone. The painting's palette of warm grey, copper, cream and black is visually striking. The piece is unframed, and the edges are thoughtfully painted and finished for a sleek, contemporary look.
Louis Shields is an abstract painter who works out of his Middleburg, Virginia studio. His work exemplifies line interpretation, conceptualization and indirect expression. Although abstract, his paintings do reference principles that govern architectural structures from antiquity. They exude balance and incorporate subtle elements of pure color combined with line and texture, creating depth and illusion of multiple dimensions.