Thursday, May 19, 2011

Landscape art dead or alive?

Is it live or dead?
To what am I referring?
The art of landscape painting, often the most prominent in many galleries, the prestigiously framed and positioned works that depict a coastal scene, a farm field, a forest. You know what I'm talking about.

Recently at a seminar over beers with friends one of Maine's most vibrant soldiers of color pronounced, those works depicting landscapes as "boring art".   I had to concur, not moments before our imbibe I was touring a gallery and almost out loud pronounced a death had occurred in the art gallery as all of the works viewed had no pulse.

Technically beautiful works, but they reminded me of a Californian 30-something at the beach bar, primped, proper, perfect but without soul! Without substance!

Racing Forms by Paul Stone
If it were not for the cold crisp Sauvignon  blanc I would have departed the gallery but save a higher power to intervene in some strange way and cause me to wandered downstairs into the basement of the gallery. It was there I discovered works with color and an impressionistic quality that was worthy of recommending a trip to see them. In a way I felt like the great French critic Emile Zola, it was in a review of the Paris Salon of 1868, the novelist and critic Zola pronounced classical landscape painting dead, “murdered by life and truth.” This, for Zola, was not a lament but rather a celebration. He had found a beat of life in the new works of the late 18th century artists Corot & Monet'.

I digress,  the Gallery located in Brunswick Maine is called the Bayview and it is proud, it's pretentious & for many prestigious, but for me in need of a jump start.  Fear not lovers of art there is hope in the works of Paul Stone,  Paul brings a beat of life with a fresh stroke of color and a dash of whimsy.

Is artistic expression murdered by life and truth in the name of making a buck?
I'm not sure, what I do know is artists have to eat, so a compromise for creation of what sells and generates income is inevitable. Is my opinion a reflection the age where nothing less that bold images bombarded at machine gun pace can hold a viewers attention?  Perhaps, but I suspect it may be my wayward mind searching for that spark of imagination, that flash of color, that beat of life in yet another landscape painting.

Why go see the work of Paul Stone in Brunswick , Maine's BAYVIEW GALLERY?

Because your good mind needs good art! 

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