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Yessy Home > Stone Riley > Mindscapes > Portrait Of Gauguin •  Your Account  •  Help
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Portrait Of Gauguin

Portrait Of Gauguin
Stone Riley

Acrylic on canvas, 36 x 48 inches.
View close up: www.stoneriley.com/ClupGauguinOpens in new window
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Gauguin? Here's what I mainly tried to show: A wandering Pagan sailor searching for reality inside the ceaseless play of nature’s elemental powers. Not only playing with his art but also with his life. So it's a bold design of symbolic dynamic interlocking shapes and you may judge how well the concept works.

But for a moment also please behold all those random gray brushstrokes which perhaps look like a layer of smoke between us and the symbolistic selfscape/worldscape. This is a common choice for painters nowadays: dirtying up the picture plane, that imaginary membrane of window glass which a viewer's eyes create across a picture. This is a common impulse nowadays, to make it look as if the picture plane is strewn with obscuring smears or stains or even sometimes as though it has been deeply scarred with rough gouges. This did seem useful for a portrait of this man.

Indeed, his great culminating epic "Where Do We Come From ..." and all the smaller canvases done with it are executed on the coarsest burlap he could find. The texture puts before their glowing pigments a thick obscuring haze the viewer's eye must consciously ignore.

The intelligent and eloquent New York critic Peter Schejeldahl -- in a town where painting functions as a public sport -- sometimes voiced a wish that artists could perfectly express the public's shared vision of the world at a present moment, or at least express the present atmosphere of the general world view. I think dirtying the window glass is a worthy way to seek that goal. Our vision of the world right now is certainly made vague by shadows. That is how it looks to all of us, or at least to anyone with open eyes.

And so it was in Gauguin’s day, at least for some. Van Gogh -- then the only other Western painter with equal powers of imagination -- was certainly much concerned with this pall of fearsome doubt. Indeed: "Potato Eaters", perhaps the only second choice to "Guernica" for finest painting of the Modern movement, wherein the whole illumination for the scene is this pall of doubt, was Van Gogh's very first big effort and the whole rest of his career can be understood as a reply.

In Gauguin's art and life, of course, the shadow presence in their world and ours was embraced much more than shunned. Even when a sleepless figure on a bed is cowering defenseless from the dark which stands all round outside the room's frail walls, even then the artist does not share the model's apprehension. Soft colors and peculiar things are out there in the night to lure our curiosity. And in daylight scenes it often seems some all-pervasive forest shade glows with gentle color. And most of all, there are his weird and mighty carven idols.

In fact, I must say that to me Gauguin's best work all has a fascinating psychically glittering look as though my darkness is revealed to be a universal stuff in which light plays. He must have felt the shadow in every breath.

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Item Price 
Acrylic on canvas, not in frame $1,200.00  Add to CartMake Offer

 
 
• Seller location: Worcester, MA, United States
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   Paintings & Prints > Science & Technology > Psychology
 
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