Sunday, August 27, 2006

Richter & Bonnard & Arsty Musings

What a weird combo, but this week I have been re-looking at the paintings of Bonnard and Gerhard Richter...
(sorry for the semi-offensive links!)
Bonnard's paintings have always intrigued me. I find them to be very sweet and intimate, but there is also something "off" about them... It has to do with the combination of such quiet domestic scenes with such severe and unexpected perspectives. I find that this seed of tension keeps me interested in the paintings, unlike - say - Renoir, whose work is just a bit too sweet for me. I also find that the unexpected perspective angles are a bit startling and that the slight distortion helps me to look at the image with fresher eyes. I like the combination of painting from life and distorting life (with color and perspective) for emotional effect. All of this leaves unaddressed Bonnard's amazing use of color.
And then Gerhard Richter... pretty darn different! His paintings have percolated back up into my consciousness because of his beautiful use of "blur". I have been reading some interviews with him and starting to learn more about the ideas behind his work. On a purely visual level though, I have been thinking so much about his candle paintings. I saw a retrospective of his work at the SF MOMA a couple years ago, and the candle painting they had really blew me away. It was so luminous and waxy and soft and light... I found it very moving. So I am looking at his paintings, which have such quietude and stillness, and intellect.

And lately, candles have been recurring to me as something I want to come back to over and over. Candles, mirrors and hummingbirds. Delicacy. Softness. Blur. Melting. Dissolving.

It's an interesting shift to go back and forth between these two artists, and observe the different ways in which I respond to their work: use of color, of brush stroke, balance of emotion and intellect, public vs private...

ps. sorry for the lack of pics... Blogger is not cooperating with me!


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