Tuesday, January 13, 2009

For starters...

A few very personal ideas about art and oil painting.

In this era of commoditized images, oil painting provides a medium for authentic individual self-expression that also fulfills core human needs for transcendence and relatedness.

Realistic paintings based on skillful observation of the human figure and the rest of the natural world allow the artist to employ a visual language that is implicit in the human mind, inspiring the viewer by accessing the same collective unconscious syntax that is found in music and mathematics.

The idea of Beauty is a most challenging, complex and rewarding area of artistic exploration. Encompassing philosophy, psychology, religion and history, classical notions of Beauty can imbue artwork with intrinsic value for its viewers independent of the marketing labels, critical discourse or political agenda associated with it. Traditional painting practices from the 17th and 19th centuries provide a rich heritage that can be applied to contemporary subject matter.

Many important ideas about the human condition contain paradoxes which do not lend themselves to abstract reduction without a loss in the richness of their meanings. These paradoxes, which permeate the spiritual and literary heritage of all cultures, naturally lend themselves to emblematic visual expression. In my opinion, it is the task of the artist to give form to these ideas by combining inspiration with thoughtful craftsmanship. This skillful pursuit of Beauty, inspired by careful observation, is central to humanity's collective drive to define a meaningful existence.

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