My last days working in Sporting Club Russafa will wind up at the end of next month culminating in RussafArt which happens the last weekend in May. The biannual event attracts hundreds of people who will descend on the neighborhood of Russafa in Valencia to visit the open studios of artists, designers, and architects. I’m excited by the new light I’m capturing with the underlay of tinted gesso. It is giving my work a whole new look and a completely different glow. Here is one of the last paintings I’m finishing and will exhibit in my final group show with the collective:
This month I was lucky enough to take in a Paul Cézanne exhibit at the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisz in Madrid and the Vincent Van Gogh exhibit at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. While I thought the Cezanne paintings were beautiful, they seemed to fall flat next to the luminosity of the Van Gogh work. I haven’t been to the d’Orsay since 1986 but I remember being as blown away by the handful of Van Gogh paintings they displayed from their permanent collection as I was on this recent trip. This current show brought work in from museums all over the world and really offered a more meaty experience.
What surprised me the most was that even if the subject matter or the way the paint was laid on the canvas were not understood while he was alive (and I believe was way ahead of his time), how could art patrons of the day have ignored his light? The canvases did seem to have some light source from behind, a trick of modern technology, or perhaps the dim lighting of the gallery itself fooled the eye. But it was no trick. It was merely that Van Gogh was a master of color and rendering light. I asked my daughter if she could tell what time of day the painting depicted was and pointed out the difference between the natural and artificial light. There were many paintings from the last year of his life which seemed to be glowing with a happiness that belied his imminent suicide. My girls were quick to be reassured that I was not planning the same fate for myself!
Another painting from my exhibition here in Valencia has found its new home in Singapore. Here are a couple of installation shots of Distortion 4, 2013:
I can’t wait to see the work installed in person when I visit Singapore this June-my first ever visit to Asia.
Last month after I delivered my “person” to participate in Pinceladas Collectiva, Miguel posted some great images of the side of my piece which shows the many layers:
I spent many months (yes months) trying to figure out how to paint on a 10 inch figure cut out of wood and it caused a creative block to be sure. So I decided to trace the wood on painted canvases and started cutting out dozens of persons each with a unique painted surface. My studio mate walked in one day and announced that today was the day he was going to paint on his figure. So I took out my large stack and showed it to him explaining I had NO idea how to complete this project. He looked at my pile and laughed at the sheer number of cut-outs on the table. He then suggested that the stack of canvas was the piece and he offered to help me attach them to the wooden figure. José is a great problem solver and I really owe this idea to him even though he refuses to take any credit.
This month’s music: RÜFÜS