March 1, 2014 § 3 Comments
Johannes Grutzke (Gruetzke), born in 1937, is a contemporary German painter, draftsman, and printmaker whose charged color, turbulent surfaces and brushwork bring to mind the work and sensibilities of two earlier German expressionists, Lovis Corinth and Oskar Kokoschka. A student of Kokoschka in 1962, Grutzke joined forces in the 70s with fellow Berlin artists Manfred Bluth, Matthias Koeppel, and Karlheinz Ziegler to form the “School of New Splendor,” a movement driven by rebellion against the prevailing drift of the German art world and frustration with the lack of exhibition opportunities for artists working with the figure. Satire, irony and a brutal realism carry on this peculiar genius of German painting in the work of a new generation.
March 22, 2013 § Leave a comment
Every decade or so an article appears in the press proclaiming the return of the figure in art, implying that it somehow “went away.” In fact, the figure as a subject for painting never went away, and never will until the human race itself disappears. In a symposium on drawing several years ago at Randolph-Macon Womans College (now Randolph College) in Lynchburg, Virginia, I heard Janet Fish say, “Isms come and isms go, and the realists just keep painting.” (Or something to that effect.) Her statement could, I think, be applied accurately to the state of figure painting. Whatever the current obsession of the so-called art world, artists just keep painting the figure. Below is an album of some of the most compelling figure artists working today.
September 22, 2012 § Leave a comment
Two recent articles from Notes on Looking, a blog that focuses on the contemporary art scene of Los Angeles.
“There is a freemasonry of painting among figurative painters – and I mean the term in the metaphoric sense of a secret club as well as the sense of a guild of highly developed craftsmen, for great skill is required to observe and render the body. And it is both, observation as well as drafting. Over a lifetime of close watching one learns how muscles move and pull and place our bones into postures, and the ways that our bodies and faces can reveal our thoughts; the long, slow, laborious practice of making marks to represent what one sees isn’t as direct as the same thing might be if one takes a photograph, the mark-making also conveys what one senses and feels. The hand is an interpreter, not a copyist…” -Geoff Tuck
“A mirror lets me become an anthropologist of my own body. It is an almost transparent barrier between my faculties of perception and the thing I’m looking at. It is also a lie, a flattened out and distorted image of a live, fleshy, thinking and perceiving body. But it is a useful lie in that it allows me to look from a distance at something intimately familiar. I think that realism, both in art and in literature, works in a similar way. It pictures an alternate reality so life-like that we can’t help but see in it a reflection of our own condition…” -Ariane Vielmetter
November 5, 2011 § Leave a comment
“Putting together two or more parts into an order is a narrative. Often when starting a painting I have a specific sequence in mind, a self-righteous one with clearly identifiable assignations to the parts. Presuming that the baseline purpose of all critical activity is to unmake and/or complexify a preexisting order, mine is to both answer the urge to express my particular narrative, and to hope for its undoing.” –Hanneline Rogeberg
Contemporary Norwegian painter Hanneline Rogeberg grew up in the neighborhood of the Edvard Munch museum. In this lecture given at Boston University she discusses his impact on her work, and that of others, such as Temple Grandin, the autistic woman whose work with animals has led to greater understanding of the importance of physical touch in human development.