Monday, March 16, 2009

DC in March

Washington DC is a happening place. Whether it is government issues, or visiting as a tourist DC is a great place to explore. I've been there 5 or 6 times. Because art is my thing I can obsess on the masterpieces that there are to appreciate.
This trip there was an exhibit at the National Gallery, of the newly un-earthed villa or the 'Gold Bracelet', Pompei. Incredibly intact frescoes, mosaicssculpture and archetecture, displayed intact. I hadn't realized how accomplished the Roman artisans were. I thought chiarascuro was a discovery by artists such as Caravagio but these artisans were quite accomplished at the practice of highlight and shadow, modeling, whether it was a fresco or mosaic.
At the newly remodeled Phillips gallery I was delighted with many new pieces of artists I thought I new well. I discovered the russian abstract artist Nicholas de Stael. A dedicated abstractionist, de stael had to leave Russia as abstract art was not supported. His wife died of malnutrition and he latered marred had 3 children and committed suicide after a critic trashed his work. A troubled individual he showed up on the doorstep of Phillips home with a car load of paintings that Phillips purchased. de Stael was well regarded internationally and was supporting his family with his work when he leapt to his death from his 11th floor studio.

What resonated with me is the texture of his canvas. Like most paintings you can't tell from a photo the texture and presence of a painting. I saw Monets that were extraordinarily thick paint, as if he had painted on them for years. Thick paint, up to 1/4 " thick, simplified subject, emotional color and compostion. Much of what I saw in painting this visit were things I hadn't noticed before that validate my explorations leading me to write, "give yourself permission to use color, thick paint and most of all paint, paint, paint. All the answers are in the doing!

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