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Rouault

Georges Rouault -Christ in the Suburbs 1920-24I am a believer and a conformist. Anyone can revolt; it is much more difficult to obey our inner promptings.

Georges Rouault

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I’ve been a big fan of French painter/printmaker Georges Rouault  (1871-1958) from the moment many years ago when I stumbled across Miserere, a book of of his deeply expressionistic etchings.  The title translates as Mercy and it contained raw and expressive work that dealt with deeply  personal and religious themes along with those inner promptingsas he calls them in the quote above. It was  a work that was very influential on my early Exiles series.

His entrance into the world of art was serving, at the age of fourteen, as an apprentice glass painter and restorer which shows itself in his mature work which resembles leaded glass windows with its dark dividing lines and glowing colors that feel sometimes as though they are lit from behind with the light shining through. Both are qualities that excited me and made me want to emulate in my own work. Not to mention the purity a of the emotional feeling throughout.

Now, if only I can obey my own inner promptings…

This is kind of a replay of a blog entry from a couple of years back. I changed some of the wording and added a video that better shows the work of Rouault. Here is that video with more of his work:

Georges Rouault Sunset 1937georges-rouault-christ-and-the-fishermen-1939-Georges Rouault The Old King

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You have most likely seen the work of Piet Mondrian, the Dutch painter who lived from 1872 until 1944.

Like the painting shown here. Seems so simple. Mainly black lines creating squares and rectangles that are mainly white but periodically filled with bright primary colors. Critics claim it is too simple, that it is something a grade-schooler with a ruler and some paints could replicate easily.

Maybe. Maybe not. Who cares?

But putting that side aside, his work has always remained refresh and modern through most of the last century up to this very minute. Outside of time, like it represents a future moment that exists just beyond this very moment at all times. And that factor in itself makes his work appealing to me.

I will never list Mondrian as a true influence or even a real favorite of mine, there is much to be gained as an artist from studying his work. The elegance of his structures and the space created within, for example. Or how he transformed his work through the years from a style of impressionistic realism into cubism and then into the style of his that we know so well, stripping away all detail and content down to the bare essence of being.

The video below shows that evolution beautifully, with musical accompaniment from Phillip Glass. I hope you’ll find it interesting to see how the work makes that transformation. Take a look below.

Let us note that art – even on an abstract level – has never been confined to ‘idea’; art has always been the ‘realized’ expression of equilibrium.
-Piet Mondrian

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Sweet Seclusion

Well, the work is all in place for my show, Self Determination, at the West End Gallery. I know that I put in the needed work for this show and feel that it comes through in the paintings, individually and as a group. It’s a selection of work of which I am proud. Hope you’ll agree.

The opening reception is set for this Friday beginning at 5 PM so if you’re in the Corning area, please stop in for a look. Maybe a glass of wine, a bite to eat, a little conversation and some great guitar music provided by my friend, William Groome, as well.

Hope to see you there.

Here’s a video preview I threw together just this morning. Take a look.

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There just doesn’t seem to be enough time in any day, with what seems like a thousand tasks gnawing at me to get done. A little anxious,  I am eager to get going but it is Sunday morning and my routine dictates that I dig out a song to play here on the blog.

This weeks features two versions of Bob Dylan‘s Everything Is Broken, a definite favorite of mine and a song that oddly fits almost any time and place. I chose the  first, which contains the song done by Dylan himself, because the video cracked me up. It’s done by someone from Italy, I think, who makes some interesting videos. I believe he just does it for himself and friends because none of them has a huge number of views. But his one caught my eye and makes me chuckle.

The second video is from longtime soul diva Bettye LaVette. I like to hear different takes on the same song, seeing how many artists take different approaches to the same material. Bettye’s version is pretty satisfying.

But you be the judge. Have a great day.


 

 

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My Buddy Chase in front of the work

Back in the studio after Friday’s opening of Truth and Belief at the Principle Gallery. Without hyperbole, I am saying it was a good show and a good trip. As smooth and easy and satisfying as any of the previous 17 shows there. Just plain good. Good crowd. Good conversations with good people. Good feelings about the work.

So when we left yesterday, I can honestly say I felt pretty good about the whole thing. Still do, which is new territory for me. Usually by this morning I am filled with second thoughts about things I could have done differently, words I could have said differently and so on. But for now, I am standing pat with the whole of what happened.

It was good.

I have to send out heartfelt thank yous to everyone at the Principle Gallery. They are a very special group of people. Affectionate thanks to Michele, Clint, Pam, Pierre and Haley for their friendship and encouragement. There’s so much I could say but I think they know how we feel about them.

Plus super thanks to my canine friends, Ash and Chase, who always brighten my visits with their high energy.

I think this show was as honest and transparent an expression of what I hope to be as an artist and a person as I could have mustered. I don’t feel like I am masked behind the work, that I am presenting a facade that misrepresents me. I am hoping that means I am closing in on some elusive and unconscious goal. Can’t say I will ever truly reach it. Might not even know if I do. But for now, the mask feels like its off.

For this week’s music, I have chose a song that sort of fits with that last sentiment.  It’s This Masquerade written and performed by the late great Leon Russell. It is probably best known for the George Benson version that was a huge hit across all of the charts. But I like this version from Leon alone with his piano.

Enjoy. Have a good day.

 

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“As I Wander”- 12″ x 6″ on canvas

Getting ready for Friday’s opening of “Truth and Belief,” my solo show at the Principle Gallery. As I wrote the other day, I was a little anxious in the first day or so after delivering the show. My confidence lagged a bit.

Thankfully, that has passed and I am actually feeling very good about this show.  From a superstitious standpoint, I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing but I am truly convinced that this is a good and strong body of work. And from a few images the gallery shared with me yesterday as they were hanging the show that feeling is reinforced.

It has that feeling of rightness that I try to describe so often. And that’s a good thing.

Truth and Belief opens Friday, June 2, at the Principle Gallery in Old Town Alexandria, VA. The opening reception begins at 6:30 and runs until 9 PM. I hope you can make it. If you do, please feel free to introduce yourself or ask questions. It’s my pleasure to be there at your service.

I put together a short video/slideshow of the paintings in the show. It’s a simple and short glimpse of each piece that I hope gives an idea of how the show fits together. Take a look…

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There are colors that really trigger reactions within me. Most people would no doubt think that the color red would be the main one and perhaps they are right. The Red Tree is certainly the thing that would come to mind for those who know my work. And Red Roofs and Red Chairs.

Or maybe one might think that it’s the Indian yellow, a warm color that was the basis for much of my early work. It creates a most satisfying peaceful feeling in me still, after all these years. It would n’t be a bad guess.

But for me, I always come back to the blues along with the purples that spin off of them. They excite, mesmerize, tranquilize, intoxicate and pacify me. They take the melancholy and anxiety of existence and mix it with the sheer joy of living and feeling to create an aura that surrounds our life. I don’t even know if that sentence makes any sense but it sure feels like the color blue to me.

An example of this might be found in this new painting that is part of my show at the Principle Gallery that opens a week from today, June 2. This 12″ by 12″ painting on canvas is titled Passing the Blues.

It’s a piece that I have been coming back to in the past few weeks, just hovering over it as I take it in.  There’s a feeling in it for me that I would describe as sweet sorrow. Kind of like the appreciation you might have for the melancholy that sometimes comes with this life. It’s not joy but it lets you know that you are are a living and feeling person.

And that, in itself, is a wonderful thing.

And that is how I see the blue colors.

Here’s a song that has that same feeling of sweet sorrow for me.  It’s a great song originally written and performed by Dolly Parton. It’s Don’t Let It Trouble Your Mind and is performed here by a favorite of mine, Rhiannon Giddens.

 

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