Contemporary Figure Paintings

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.

A1192871Phil Geiger, figure study, oil on panel, 14″ x 10.” Collection of Frank Hobbs
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Honoring Gabriel Laderman

March 25, 2011 § Leave a comment

A beautiful eulogy by Jed Perl on the painter and teacher, Gabriel Laderman, who died March 10, 2011, :

“…The tyranny of trends, vogues, and vanguards was something Gabriel refused to acknowledge. At a time when everybody wanted art to be fresh, Gabriel did not give a damn about the next new thing. He felt no need to grapple with what was happening simply because it was happening…  He did not believe in the Zeitgeist. He believed in the individual. His great idea was that what an artist makes is a matter of personal choice and inner necessity, not a response to historical forces. He himself was a representational painter in an era when many said that representational painting was already dead and buried. But unlike some postmodernists, who see their resurgent representational impulses as a reaction against modernism and therefore the next step in a historical progression, Gabriel rejected the very idea of progress in art. He refused to accept the historical inevitability of certain kinds of art. Cubism was not what history had made Braque and Picasso do, it was what Braque and Picasso had wanted to do—and somehow managed to do. His tradition-consciousness was not a form of academicism. Everything was about personal encounters, a person’s unique response to the challenges of the rectangle, of volume and void, of line and color, of style, of emotion.”

Read the essay in its entirety:

Against Inevitability: Honoring Gabriel Laderman, by Jed Perl, in the The New Republic.

Further essays on Gabriel Laderman.

More images of Laderman’s work at Midwest Painting Group.

Gabriel Laderman’s bio.

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