Tag Archives: artist

Storm, Philip Govedare

9.December – Philip Govedare

Today, I want to dedicate a post to a contemporary artist, whose work – which I stumbled upon by accident – has the power to pull you right into it: Philip Govedare.

Not much is known about this artist, except that he has an extensive exhibition catalogue and teaches at University of Washington in Seattle. So I’ll let his work speak for itself. I have chosen 4 works to show you.

Dusk, Philip Govedare

The first piece ‘Dusk’ I picked, because I think it is a great way to connect my previous post about William Turner to this one about Philip Govedare. Can you see Turner’s inspiration here? I can. Whether actually true or not. The next piece, I chose because the use of red and red hues and light blue lines is really magnificent. This is a painting I would simply love to have on my wall, because I’m sure I would feel differently about it every day. It’s got a depth and lushness, I simply find irresistible.

Anthropocene #2, Philip Govedare
Anthropocene #2

Yet, Govedare’s work is about the natural world and warns of it’s destruction (much like my own work) as you can see very clearly in this next piece, entitled ‘Excavation #5’.

Excavation #5, Philip Govedare
Excavation #5
Laguna, Philip Govedare
Laguna, Philip Govedare

And finally, the last work I want to share today is entitled ‘Laguna’ and it really takes my breath away. The use of blurring and sharp lines reminds me of Gerhard Richter’s treatment, but it’s used in a very different manner with a very different result here. Again, I am also really in love with the use of color and hues and values. Unforeseeable combinations, with subtle changes. It makes for an image that is very natural and realistic, yet entirely abstract and surreal.

Do visit Philip Govedare’s website, as there is more to discover there (such as his drawings and monoprints and a video about his work).

Gerhard Richter - Kölner Dom

7.December – Gerhard Richter

Gerhard Richter’s opus encompasses a number of distinctly different series. The first paintings I saw in Hamburg (or was it Bremen?) in the 80ies, were his snowscapes. If I had seen these paintings as reproductions in a book or poster, they would likely not have had the impact they did when I stood in front of the large canvas in the museum.

Gerhard Richter - Davos S., 
1981, 70 cm x 100 cm, Oil on canvas

You have to see Gerhard Richter’s work in the flesh! You have to be able to walk up close and then move away from the pieces. And allow the size change the as your perspective changes.

He uses wide brushstrokes to smudge the wet paint and makes it appear blurry. When up close to it, all you can see is vaguely changing colors, but you can’t make out an image at all. When you walk away though, suddenly out of the blur emerges a landscape. So real, you can’t believe you couldn’t see it before. So you walk up close again, and it disappears. The brain can’t keep the image of the landscape when it focuses on the detail.

Gerhard Richter - Italienische Landschaft
Gerhard Richter – Italienische Landschaft, 1967, 105 cm x 100 cm, Oil on canvas

Richter also famously created the glass art for the Cologne Cathedral, connecting the play between color and light to something divine or other-wordly. But to me, Richters use of contrast has had the greatest impact on my own visual language: blurring and sharp edges, color and monochrome, light and dark, city and sea, busy and calm.

On several occasions has a connection between Richter’s work and that of William Turner been made.

But more about that tomorrow….

5.December – Mark Rothko

If I had to name ONE artist who influenced me the most, it would probably be Mark Rothko. Born in Latvia in 1903 he immigrate to the USA with his family when he was around 10 years old. Rothko’s early work was influenced himself by German expressionists such as Kirchner and Nolde and he dabbled with expressionism and cubism himself. However, it is his later work, often referred to as ‘color-field’ style, that took a hold of me.

White Center, oil on canvas by Mark Rothko, 1950; sold at auction by Sotheby's for $73 million on May 15, 2007.
Nils Jorgensen— REX/Shutterstock.com
White Center, oil on canvas by Mark Rothko, 1950 (Nils Jorgensen)

In 1995 I travelled to New York on my first ‘Art-Flight‘ to find new and emerging art and inspiration. I visited countless museums and galleries. But I found the art-scene disappointing. Sure, there were the masters in the museums, but I found little inspiring emerging art. Much of the work – to my by then mostly Irish sensibility – seemed to plagiarize one another. As if, forced by the harsh reality of life in NYC, where rent alone could consume a moderate income, artists all jumped on the ONE style that seemed to sell. These works appeared all over the city in many of the small galleries and open studios, was poorly executed (warped canvasses, dirty paper, haphazard framing, etc…) but sold like ‘hot buns’ leaving little room for anything else.

After NYC I travelled to Houston, Texas, with little to no expectation to find great art much less a thriving emerging art scene. How completely naive this assumption, for Houston, I soon learned, was the hot-spot for all things art. Fuelled by a booming economy (mostly around healthcare and medicine), most of the city’s artists had found wealthy sponsors and patrons. Even bartering art for other services (dental or medical treatment, housing, cars, etc…) was common. Allowing artists here, to focus on their work, without the need to commercialize their work in order to survive. Houston was the place, where I found incredible variety and innovation pouring out of the many studios I visited.

My extended stay culminated in a visit to the Rothko Chapel. It was the icing on the cake and simply blew me away.

In this space, which was probably the closest I ever came to finding religion, I could spend hours. Thinking. Seeing. Sitting. Doing nothing. And in my head, I heard the music of another great artist, whose works I frequently listened to while painting: Philip Glass.

But more about that tomorrow.

Anslem Kiefer

1.December – Anslem Kiefer

I grew up in Germany, where Anslem Kiefer‘s art is cherished and widely exhibited. So it’s hardly surprising, that he should be the first artist in my December art list. But Kiefer’s work to me, is much more than something I grew up with. His work represents in essence one of the main pillars of art: having something to say. Something important. Something that cannot be easily said in a conversation and something that should be remembered beyond one’s own personal time. So artists turn to the tools at their hands: music, paintings, prose, film, theatre, etc… to get the essence across.

Anslem Kiefer in his studio
In his studio, the sheer physical nature of Anslem Kiefer‘s work, is evident. Image credit: CBS News

Kiefer’s work is impressive. Massive. Dark. It can be materially and physically experienced. It makes an impact upon its viewers. You don’t need to like it or think it beautiful, but you will be touched when in the presence of his work!

Most of Kiefer’s paintings involve sculptural 3D elements and go beyond what is normally considered ‘painting’. And it was this fact, that first drew me to the work of this artist from the Black Forest. His visual language is unique and quite overwhelming. There is emotion. Pain. Brutality. War. Suffering. Hopelessness. But there is also Love. And Beauty. And there is hope. The hope that something new must – and will – evolve, no matter how massive and devastating the destruction. The phoenix will rise from the ashes.

But more about that tomorrow… 2.December (stay tuned!)