Sunday, November 27, 2011

I was thinkin' how they shot Mr. Lincoln...

The title line is from Brewer and Shipley's beautiful song Platte River. You can click on their names to visit their website- you'll land on the words to the song, and you can see the rest of their site here.

For another take on Mr. Lincoln (and meat, and Jimi Hendrix, and yaks) please check out the strange and disturbing paintings of Mark Ryden, whose Angelica Carnis appears third from the top of this page. I can't promise you'll come away happy, but I believe anyone who looks at his stuff will find something to like.

Are there things I don't care for in his work? Oh, yes. Not least is his fixation on pouty, corpse-like little girls. Very creepy, and not in a good way. I could also do with a bit less of the balloon-headed characters. Another thought, about which I may be mistaken- please take a look and draw your own conclusions: there seem to be occasional failures of perspective, as in The Grinder second from the top of this page. Note Mr. Lincoln's distorted face. Failure is too strong a word- I think there is a certain slippage in perspective, as though the artist's attention had wavered or wandered.

Oddly, I don't mind his kinky use of meat and fetuses one little bit. Yes, hmmm. That is odd. But that's me. I am also very impressed with the picture frames- it's almost impossible not to see them as part of the picture; actually in my first several viewings, it did not occur to me that the frames had not been painted within the pictures.

A word on color: his rich and varied yet restrained palette, which I think is usually well complemented by his sky tones, goes a long way toward explaining his technical appeal, at least in my view. The deep reds are used to good effect within a mainly pale range. An example of surprising color: the pinkish Nazi suit in Little Boy Blue, shown at the very top of this page.

These pieces are not tiny, nor are they huge- they range from under a foot by a foot to about four feet by six feet, roughly. It's fair to say I find the scale inviting, even intimate, both in the exterior sense (size of painting) and the interior sense (space within)- while there is often quite a lot going on within the picture, there is also plenty of room for the action, and the elements are never crowded.

Overall, I'm very glad to have seen these works (oil on canvas, if you're wondering) and I will be keeping an eye on this artist.

1 comment:

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