Posts Tagged ‘expressionism’

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One of my favorite paintings at the Columbus Museum of Art is Sunflowers in the Windstorm by Emile Nolde.  The painting reflects the times in which we live as we look back at days of the past and worry of the dark clouds on our horizon.  Expressionism at it’s finest.

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Arshile Gorky, Virginia Landscape, 1944

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Seated Woman, Alexei Jawlensky, 1911

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Andre Derain,  River Scene, 1906

Expressionistic works with wild wonderful color at the Cincinnati Art Museum.  A great way to refresh my soul on a rainy Ohio afternoon.

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Christ in profile, 1930 Georges Rouault.

I was wonderfully surprised on my first visit to the Cincinnati Art Museum to see a very large collection of paintings by my favorite painter Georges Rouault.

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Georges Rouault, Still life with flowers, 1939

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Georges Rouault,The injured clown, 1932

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Georges Rouault, The Clown, 1918-22

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Georges Rouault, Nocturne, 1939

Rouault’s early style was academic. But around 1898 he went through a psychological crisis, and, subsequently, partly under the influence of Post-Impressionist artists: Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, and Paul Cézanne, he evolved in a direction that placed him as, a fellow traveller of the Fauves (Wild Beasts), who favored the use of strong color like blues, dramatic lighting, emphatic forms, and an expressive scribble.

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Georges Rouault, Detail of Nocturne, 1939

Rouault’s artistic evolution was accompanied by a religious one, for he had become an ardent Roman Catholic.  He began to frequent, as had Daumier, the Paris law courts, where he had a close view of humanity apparently fallen from the grace of God. His artistic focus became prostitutes, tragic clowns, and pitiless judges.

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Georges Rouault, Detail#2 of Nocturne, 1939

Rouault is considered an isolated figure in art history for at least two reasons: he practiced Expressionism a style that has never found much favor in France, and he was chiefly a religious painter—one of the most convincing in recent centuries. Both statements, however, need qualification. Rouault was not as fiercely Expressionistic as some of his expressionistic contemporaries; and he was not an official church artist; his concern with sin and redemption was deeply personal.  Rouault has been an artist of personal interest and inspiration to me.  That’s one of the reasons I was so thrilled to see so many of his paintings in Cincinnati.

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I wanted to share a few of my favorite images from a recent trip to the Toledo Museum of Art.  The first image is Wheat Fields with Reaper, Auvers, by Vincent van Gogh, 1890.  I love the landscape, color and movement.  The landscape reminds me of the area I live in, north-Central Ohio, except the warmth and sun that we tend to lack.

 

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Athanor, by Anselm Kiefer, 1983-84.  …only by going into the past can you go into the future. Anselm Kiefer has used his art to confront the wounds left to his homeland, Germany, by Hitler’s regime. With his art, Kiefer uses the alchemists’ symbolic “secret fire” to purify and transform the terrible legacy of Nazi Germany into hope for the future of humanity. He becomes the alchemist himself, literally using fire (a blowtorch) to scorch parts of the painting—and to scorch the symbols of evil and tragedy in order to change them into something new. This image, in my opinion, demonstrates how art can help to transform the human condition and push us/inspire us to more…to hope.
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Portrait of a Freedom Fighter, Julian Schnabel, 1984.  Rather than painting on canvas or panel, Julian Schnabel builds up an uneven landscape of broken crockery, held together with bondo (an adhesive commonly used in body work on cars). He then uses this sculptural surface as the foundation for painting this anonymous portrait.  Stand across the room from Portrait of a Freedom Fighter. Notice how clear the face is from far away—how it is even possible to identify an emotional expression on this mottled surface.  Portrait of a Freedom Fighter depicts the Cuban émigré poet Reinaldo Arenas (1943-1990) against a barren landscape. The title refers to Arenas’s brave, anti-authoritarian stances, which led to his persecution and exile from his homeland.   I remember learning about Schnabel when I was in art school, and it was great to see his images again.  As Schnabel used to say, it’s important to see paintings in person, and this broken plate painting is well worth the trip to Toledo to see in person.
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Landscape, Andre Derain, 1906.  André Derain here transforms the traditional subject of the landscape view with thick black outlines, strong brushstrokes, and bold layers of color. The inspiration of nature remains important, but the work is just as much a world of the artist’s own creation as Derain takes liberties of creativity and self-expression.  I really like this landscape by Derain.  It seems that he takes up where van Gogh and Cezanne have left off  in their paintings as he explores the landscape from an expressionist view.  I desire and I am inspired to follow the path that Derain has made with his landscapes full of expression.  I hope my journey to the Toledo Museum of Art has inspired you to explore a local museum or art gallery near you to refresh your mind and soul!

 

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I visited the exhibit The Great War: Art on the Front Line at the Toledo Museum of Art this fall.

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July 28, 2014 marked the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I (1914–1918), a global conflict that resulted in more than 17-million deaths and another 20-million wounded. Its widespread deployment of mechanized and chemical warfare represented an application of science and technology that brought an end to what many had seen as the promise of industrialization to promote a peaceful and prosperous future.

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The art world reacted strongly to this unprecedented carnage. Many artists were involved in the fighting, their experiences profoundly affecting their worldview and their art. Whether they fought in the war or not, artists in Europe and America sought new styles and new philosophies to express their views of a society now forever changed.

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The Great War exhibit included paintings, sculpture and works on paper by Max Beckmann, Otto Dix, George Grosz, Childe Hassam, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Käthe Kollwitz and others. It was a great opportunity for me to view many pieces of art that I have studied, read about and viewed only from books.  It was a great opportunity to personally interact with art that has impacted my life academically, intellectually, artistically and spiritually.  Thank you Toledo Museum for putting on a great exhibit!

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Here are some examples of my favorite work from the 2014 May Show at the Mansfield Art Center.  The first image is my reentry piece into exhibiting after a long abscence from the studio.

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I really enjoyed the craftsmanship of this wonderful clock.

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The expression and mood of this landscape were very impressive.

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This exciting little painting has wonderful movement, color and expression in various layers of meaning.

 

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Stage 1

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Stage 2

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Stage 3

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Stage 4

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Stage 5

This is a small piece 12 x 20 that I have been working on over the winter.  I have realized that my studio lighting is not very good for photographing my paintings.  This image is based on the marshland around the area that I live in.  I have also been influenced by the landscapes of Van Gogh as well.  I hope you enjoy.  It has been a fun process.

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Head of Christ, 1937, Georges Rouault, The Cleveland Museum of Art.

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Reacting against an increasingly materialistic, secular society, Rouault dedicated himself to creating deeply spiritual art. To convey his emotional interpretation of the subject, he built up layers of rich color through thickly encrusted paint. Rouault’s early experience in a stained-glass workshop encouraged his preference for luminous color and strong black outlines. Both elements unite in this painting to produce a powerful, yet serene image of Christ.  It was not until 1937 that Rouault’s reputation took a great stride forward: forty two paintings, all in a style which was relatively ‘new’ for the critics and public but long established so far as the artist himself was concerned, were shown as part of the large ‘Exposition des Artistes Independents’, staged in connection with the Paris Exposition Universelle.

 

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One of my students who is a skateboarder came to school every day with a beat up board last fall.  So I asked him if he would let me experiment on it over the winter.  Here is the final result.  He seemed happy with the new art on his board.

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Here are 2 images that I am currently working on and hoping to complete soon. This first one is Winter and is the most recent painting in this series which I started about a year ago.

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This painting is titled Longing for Spring and was the first image begun about a year ago.  I also have Spring, Summer and Autumn in this series that I will post at a later date.