Research Point: Expressive Landscape

11/11/15

Research Point: Expressive Landscape

Look at the eerie, dream-like landscapes painted by the Surrealists…

Solitude by Salvador Dali:

Solitude by Savador Dali

Woman, Old Man and Flower by Max Ernst:

Woman, Old Man and Flower by Max Ernst

 

Surrealism was a movement that was very much in vogue when I was taking art in school. I found them fascinating, clever and strange – now I still see the skill but some I find too convoluted, probably down to the cynicism that enveloped me as I got older.

 

 

 

The Uncertainty of the Poet by Georgio De Chirico:

The Uncertainty of the Poet by Georgio De Chirico

Consider the work of some artists who have sought to express the more emotional and subjective aspects of landscape…

Road at Porthclais with Setting Sun (1975) by Graham Sutherland:

Road at Porthclais with Setting Sun (1975) by Graham Sutherland

 

Having poured over many of Graham Sutherland’s paintings on-screen, I am completely hooked. He encompasses everything I struggle yet aspire to achieve. His sense of colour evokes atmosphere and mood whereas mine is mud – his balance of composition leads you around his paintings and leaves you wondering. I am in awe as he combines his draughtsmanship and emotion into a coherent vision yet maintains the mystery of the image.

 

 

Western Hills 1938 by Graham Sutherland:

Western Hills 1938 by Graham Sutherland

We Are Making a New World (1918) by Paul Nash:

We Are Making a New World (1918) by Paul Nash

Summer Soltice by Paul Nash:

Summer Solstice by Paul Nash

Being a war artist in the First World War, Nash had obviously embedded his emotional reactions to what he witnessed within his work. His war paintings I find, are quite matter of fact in their handling, yet the colours and expressions on faces leave no doubt as to the suffering. He shows this suffering not only of the soldiers but the land itself. I feel that he was a positive thinking man, he liked to show hope by bringing in the sun’s rays of a new dawn – even rendering Spring in the Trenches, Ridge Wood as a new beginning.

 

Look at landscape paintings by the German Expressionists…. and by artists of the Symbolist movement…

The work of Emil Nolde is mostly new to me – I find it wonderfully colourful and evocative. The sense of wild abandon that has been tamed into a rectangular painting, a balance of letting paint do its thing yet in a way that he wants. Again, a skill to which I aspire but that is frustratingly elusive.

Dark Landscape North Friesland by Emil Nolde:

Dark Landscape North Friesland by Emil Nolde

Dark Sea with Brown Sky by Emil Nolde:

Dark Sea with Brown Sky by Emil Nolde

Italian Horticultural Landscape by Gustav Klimt:

Italian Horticultural Landscape by Gustav Klimt

Coloured sketch by Gustave Moreau:

Coloured sketch by Gustave Moreau

The work I’ve seen by Gustave Moreau is really interesting. His landscapes are so expressive and loose, dripping in atmosphere yet the figures he puts in them are classical and seem oddly out of place to me. It’s as if he is painting in two different eras.

Bakst, Léon: project design for Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune:

Project design for Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune

The Love-Embrace of the Universe 1949 by Frida Kahlo:

The Love-Embrace of the Universe 1949 by Frida Kahlo

 

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